Friday, March 02, 2007

Can a Christian Mom Write Naughty Romance?

Guest Blog: A Christian Mom Writes Dialogue (and Characters) That Scares Off Sailors

I asked friend and fellow author C.S. Engeron how she addresses the issue of writing a secular romance/paranormal mystery while attending the local Bible Study in a traditional Christian setting. Here's her take on the subject:

The next time I receive one of those e-mail questionnaires that ask everything from, "What is your favorite restaurant?" to, "Where is the most exotic place you've been on vacation?" I'll have to think long and hard about my answers.

You see, these quizzes that instruct readers to copy, fill in the personal answers and then shotgun your responses out to your e-mail list so your friends can get to know you better inevitably contain the question: "What is the one thing you MUST do before you die?" Up until now, I have always answered with the same reply: "Get My Novel Published."

Now this poses a problem...Considering the fact that my new novel "In Her Dreams" was officially published on February 22, 2007, I'm fearing for my life. Should I start planning my funeral now?

The concept of my (potential) impending doom kicks up a whole other batch of questions. For instance, as a Christian, is the content of my book going to get me barred from Heaven? Seriously -- I'm concerned here.

The characters (both men and women) of "In Her Dreams" use language that would make a truck driver cringe. They also have no issues about having sex out of wedlock. One character seeks advice from a fortune teller, another practices Native American faith healing, one woman briefly considers having an abortion and one of the men is a womanizing alcoholic who sleeps in the local jail more often than his own bed.

So imagine my recent hesitation to share the great news of my book being published with my Bible study group! I attend a huge church and I can assure you that you won't see me running around telling the pastors to check out to purchase a copy of my new book. (Shameless plug, I know).

On one hand, I am over the moon with joy. On the other hand, I find myself warning people about the "spicy" and "racy" content of my book. Will people think I am hypocritical, or think of it as a study in duality of conscience, morals and literary tastes? I could, of course, blame it on the muse who visits me regularly at the keyboard. I could protest that, "It wasn't my fault! It is the characters talking...not me!"

At this point, it makes no difference. "In Her Dreams" is complete, published and out there for all the world to see, criticize or adore. (Preferably the latter, thank you). And the next time someone asks me what must I accomplish before I die? I'll have to adjust my standard answer to: "When I publish my 100th book."

I'll start the countdown on my personal website
(Yes that is my real website and yes that is another shameless plug.)

Happy writing and reading,

Thanks, Charlene. So, what about you folks? Comments? Thoughts on your "Must Do" list before you hit the far beyond?