Author Topic: Christian authors as fantasy authors?  (Read 2526 times)  

Online Abalone

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2017, 12:54:08 PM »
I'm not sure how to say this without being wrong or offending, but I believe Brandon Sanderson is Mormon and writes popular fantasy, and is said to sometimes weave teachings without making it apparent.

Online Mari Oliver

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2017, 02:25:06 PM »
I'm not sure how to say this without being wrong or offending, but I believe Brandon Sanderson is Mormon and writes popular fantasy, and is said to sometimes weave teachings without making it apparent.
I've never noticed that in his work, so it says something, huh? :) I'm also not sure where the myth of Christians not enjoying fantasy came from. I love fantasy like anyone else. One thing, though, is I won't read anything (in any genre) that seems too dark or glorifies violence. There's a specific popular fantasy author I won't read but that's because I don't think his work is for me, but I know other Christians who read it and love it. So, like anyone else, we Christians are a reasonable people with brains, common sense, and varying tastes. When I first decided to take my writing to the professional level, I struggled with making sure I was creating work that glorified God. But that's with anything I do in my life for the most part and I often don't get it right because I'm a human being.

Everyone has their lines drawn in the sand as to what's right/comfortable for them, whether they are Christian or not. Fantasy is not wrong. It isn't unethical or un-Biblical. My husband and I joke all the time how the Bible has some fantastical moments in it, too (like, the parting of the red sea, or Leviathan). Just write what is within your moral/ethical scope. 

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2017, 02:32:30 PM »
I've never noticed that in his work, so it says something, huh? :) I'm also not sure where the myth of Christians not enjoying fantasy came from. I love fantasy like anyone else. One thing, though, is I won't read anything (in any genre) that seems too dark or glorifies violence. There's a specific popular fantasy author I won't read but that's because I don't think his work is for me, but I know other Christians who read it and love it. So, like anyone else, we Christians are a reasonable people with brains, common sense, and varying tastes. When I first decided to take my writing to the professional level, I struggled with making sure I was creating work that glorified God. But that's with anything I do in my life for the most part and I often don't get it right because I'm a human being.

Everyone has their lines drawn in the sand as to what's right/comfortable for them, whether they are Christian or not. Fantasy is not wrong. It isn't unethical or un-Biblical. My husband and I joke all the time how the Bible has some fantastical moments in it, too (like, the parting of the red sea, or Leviathan). Just write what is within your moral/ethical scope.

I agree with this (bolded part).  In fact, if you replace the word 'Christians' with 'most people,' it's still true.  Whether Christian, or of some other faith, or no specific faith, or no faith at all, most are "reasonable people with brains, common sense, and varying tastes."  In fact, I think someone would have to purposely, intentionally, and deliberately go out of his/her way to actually offend the majority of Christians.  The varying tastes of people (even of the same faith) means that what offends one won't offend two or three others, and what doesn't offend this one could be questionable for that one.
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Offline Nicole@CSC

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2017, 02:34:19 PM »
Your idea to have some other major authority overthrown is a good one. I suppose then my question would be does naming my "creator" something other than God or creator also cause it's own conflict?

The only theme I noticed when browsing best selling author names in fantasy is about half of them use a middle initial, many of them are somewhat plain names while others seem way out there in made up land to me! (No offense I'm just not that talented wth names)

I can't promise you a right answer on this, but I can give you my answer.  :)

I, personally, am comfortable with books that give God another name IF He still functions as the God I know and acts the same. My reasoning for this is I'm viewing Him from the book's character's point of view. Just as another language might have another name for something. BUT if He doesn't function the same or acts in ways that are not in accordance to the Bible, I will assume this being is clearly not my Creator and probably skip a read that I feel shows God in a poor light.

TL;DR - I don't think using a different name for God would be an issue with a large percentage of Christian readers as long as you keep Him true to character.

This might be more helpful if I let you know I find myself a bit on the stricter side of what the "average" Christian permits.

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2017, 02:46:35 PM »
I can't promise you a right answer on this, but I can give you my answer.  :)

I, personally, am comfortable with books that give God another name IF He still functions as the God I know and acts the same. My reasoning for this is I'm viewing Him from the book's character's point of view. Just as another language might have another name for something. BUT if He doesn't function the same or acts in ways that are not in accordance to the Bible, I will assume this being is clearly not my Creator and probably skip a read that I feel shows God in a poor light.

TL;DR - I don't think using a different name for God would be an issue with a large percentage of Christian readers as long as you keep Him true to character.

This might be more helpful if I let you know I find myself a bit on the stricter side of what the "average" Christian permits.
Agreed! This is why my fantasy worlds (one elven, the other human) have one God who is mainly worshiped. But this is also historically accurate with the time periods those worlds are taken from (real world cultures). Using a video game example because I think it's the best one for my purposes (lol), the world of Tamriel has nine gods. Roleplaying in that game my character(s) worship only one: Akatosh. But this isn't the biggest thing for me when reading fantasy or any other genre. If there's needless violence or child abuse or rape, I'm out of there. (GOT *cough* )
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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2017, 02:49:33 PM »
Honestly, I don't see why there would be any conflict.  As long as you don't write about satanic creatures stalking people of faith, or evil demonic warlords taking over Earth.  (Although even those things could be done, theoretically.)

Authors write in different genres all the time without any negative repercussions.   Plus, as others have noted, some very well-received fantasy authors have been strongly Christian as well.
This would be okay, too, though, so long as evil isn't glorified. Lords of the Rings is a prime example of this.
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Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2017, 03:48:58 PM »
Thank you all. I think for now I will continue writing and keep all of this in mind. I do especially appreciate the "stricter" point of view, as that was most particularly the ones I was concerned about, with some of the more liberal believers I already thought I would probably be ok.

Offline skylarker1

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2017, 03:57:30 PM »
C.S. Lewis, J. R.R.Tolkien. You would be walking in some pretty large Fantasy/Christian footsteps if you go this route. No reason you can't or shouldn't.

CS Lewis especially! As a child, I didn't pick up on it, but the Chronicles of Narnia are full of Christian themes, and his Screwtape Letters are undisguised theological speculation.



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Offline skylarker1

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2017, 04:05:49 PM »
I'm not sure how to say this without being wrong or offending, but I believe Brandon Sanderson is Mormon and writes popular fantasy, and is said to sometimes weave teachings without making it apparent.

Orson Scott Card is also Mormon, and has offended a lot of people in fantasy fandom by speaking out against rights for gays - although I never saw any of that in reading his books.


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Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2017, 06:51:27 PM »
Well my daughter is ten (and painfully nosy) and reading on at a ninth grade level. As my husband typically works second shift I juggle my time to write with making sure both of my children get their homework done, bathe and eat something more than cereal for dinner. Later in the evening I make dinner for my husband.

Now my nosy Nora of a daughter decided to read over my shoulder tonight while I was working. It drives me nuts when she does this so I try to do most of my writing after my kids 8:30 bedtime. Well my kids don't have school tomorrow so I thought I'd try to squeeze some time in anyways. She wouldn't leave me alone, so after the fourth or fifth time I told her to just go read it on my phone since pages syncs automatically so that if I have a moment during the day or a note to make I can do it on the fly.

The good/bad news is that it worked. Until she was done reading what I've written so far. Then she spent 15 minutes closing and reopening pages to update my progress. Besides driving me nuts she actually loved it and wanted to know what happens next.

 Am I destined to be a young adult writer then? This certainly wasn't my plan.

It is worth noting she is a very picky reader and won't read but one out of 15 books I offer her.

Online Abalone

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2017, 08:19:08 PM »
I've never noticed that in his work, so it says something, huh? :) I'm also not sure where the myth of Christians not enjoying fantasy came from. I love fantasy like anyone else. One thing, though, is I won't read anything (in any genre) that seems too dark or glorifies violence. There's a specific popular fantasy author I won't read but that's because I don't think his work is for me, but I know other Christians who read it and love it. So, like anyone else, we Christians are a reasonable people with brains, common sense, and varying tastes. When I first decided to take my writing to the professional level, I struggled with making sure I was creating work that glorified God. But that's with anything I do in my life for the most part and I often don't get it right because I'm a human being.

Everyone has their lines drawn in the sand as to what's right/comfortable for them, whether they are Christian or not. Fantasy is not wrong. It isn't unethical or un-Biblical. My husband and I joke all the time how the Bible has some fantastical moments in it, too (like, the parting of the red sea, or Leviathan). Just write what is within your moral/ethical scope. 



I think the myth stems from the very early Christian outrage at Harry Potter when the first novel went to print in the 90s.

Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2017, 09:04:16 PM »
I think the myth stems from the very early Christian outrage at Harry Potter when the first novel went to print in the 90s.

I actually know a group in real life that I get along well with as we share most of the same beliefs but even today are the are fanatics about fantasy opening the door to Satan.

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2017, 01:36:35 AM »
Orson Scott Card is also Mormon

And Larry Correia and Tracy Hickman.  Plenty of Mormons have been very successful writing SF/F.

Madeline L'Engle and Robert Jordan were/are major figures in fantasy, and they were both Episcopalians.

One of the early big-hitters in fantasy was George MacDonald, and he was a theologian in addition to being a fantasy writer.  From his Wikipedia page, it sounds like he had an interesting childhood:

Quote
MacDonald grew up in the Congregational Church, with an atmosphere of Calvinism. However, MacDonald's family was atypical, with his paternal grandfather a Catholic-born, fiddle-playing, Presbyterian elder; his paternal grandmother an Independent church rebel; his mother was a sister to the Gallic-speaking radical who became Moderator of the disrupting Free Church, while his step-mother, to whom he was also very close, was the daughter of a Celtic Episcopalian minister.

The point of all this is that one's religious beliefs are no bar to writing stories that readers enjoy.  So concentrate on spinning a good yarn, first and foremost, and everything else will sort itself out.  :)
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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2017, 05:47:19 AM »
The point of all this is that one's religious beliefs are no bar to writing stories that readers enjoy.  So concentrate on spinning a good yarn, first and foremost, and everything else will sort itself out.  :)
[/quote]

The OP can correct me, but I believe the question was regarding a writer of Christian fiction can also write fantasy under the same pen name, not whether or not a person who happens to be Christian can write fantasy.  People seem to be answering the second question, not the first.

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2017, 06:12:18 AM »

The OP can correct me, but I believe the question was regarding a writer of Christian fiction can also write fantasy under the same pen name, not whether or not a person who happens to be Christian can write fantasy.  People seem to be answering the second question, not the first.

That's what I understood as well, Julie. It was a bit hard to parse with the autocorrect inclusions, but my read of the OP was that her concern was using the same 'pen name' on both "Christian Fiction" and "Fantasy". Would it confuse -- or offend -- readers of one or the other genre.

FWIW, I don't read either genre so I can't speak directly to this situation. I have found mystery writers I quite liked and I do check out books by them even if they're not "Mystery" or "Suspense". Sometimes I try 'em and like 'em; sometimes not. Sometimes I don't bother to try if they're too far afield from my usual preferences.

I don't personally see why "Christian Fiction" and "Fantasy" should have mutually exclusive reader sets but, again, I'm not really in either one. I almost never enjoy Christian Fiction; there are various reasons. I have enjoyed some Fantasy, but it's not a regular thing for me.

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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2017, 07:39:41 AM »
Am I destined to be a young adult writer then? This certainly wasn't my plan.

Don't worry, lots of kids read adult novels (I know I was reading Lord of the Rings at ten) and lots of adults read Young Adult novels. It's not about who reads it, it's about the characters, particularly the protagonist, and to some extent the tone and themes. If your MC is a young adult, then you may well be writing Young Adult, if not, then you aren't.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with writing Young Adult if you do end up down that path, and fantasy seems to be the easiest YA subgenre for indies to find success in  :)

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Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2017, 07:51:24 AM »
Plus, many christian bible stories from the old testament make for great fantasy. My recent short story, Warmache, is loosely based on Isaiah 10:15, and 2 Kings 6.

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2017, 08:00:24 AM »

I think your second question almost bears as much merit as mine does.

As far as offending people, my current work possibly could but probably no more so than Hsrry potter or something written by Morgan Rice. I built my world around five (some magically inclined) races created by a superior being. They have different powers and abilities and elemental usage to prevent them from becoming as powerful as their creator.

It's possible to rework it without getting into how the world and races were created, but I would need to rework one my major plot ideas of having the races band together to ultimately remove the creators power.

And perhaps I'm reading too much into it. I did post a poll on my twitter just to see, and it seems my followers are split on the subject.

I'm a lay reader at my church. I went to Catholic school. And I'm a professional soldier, with multiple tours; it's true that there's no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. My wife attended a private Christian university. My faith is very important to me.

I write fantasy.

More to the point, I write boob-swinging, nuts-adjusting, testosterone-fueled fantasy thrillers with a drunken, vengeful protagonist and the sporadic Faerie threesome. I don't see a dichotomy in being a good Christian and also writing fantasy -- or fiction in general -- that doesn't hold to Christian values. In fact, I think you'd throw the entire suspension of disbelief right out the window if you built a fantasy society that believes exactly what Christians believe. (In point of fact, I don't understand why fantasy worlds have gods at all. In a world where magic is commonplace, why would people turn to an invisible sky-being to explain the impossible? What is faith without miracles, and what are gods without faith? Take your time; I'll wait.)

Now, would I want the vestry or the youth group to choose my work as the Book of the Month? No. Would they? Dear Lord, I hope not. But having your followers/friends not be your target demographic and having them get offended by your work are two different things.

I actually know a group in real life that I get along well with as we share most of the same beliefs but even today are the are fanatics about fantasy opening the door to Satan.

I believe that if you're not offending someone, you're not making art. (If you're offending everyone, though, then maybe it's time for an azimuth check.) Also, it has been my experience that the types of Christians who get offended by books are the ones who are the most worth offending. Write what you're going to write. This is art.

Edit: If I do go to hell for writing fantasy, then it means all the good bands will be there.
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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2017, 08:20:50 AM »
Plus, many christian bible stories from the old testament make for great fantasy. My recent short story, Warmache, is loosely based on Isaiah 10:15, and 2 Kings 6.
I know! Husband and I joke all the time about the Bible being a fantasy book:

- rise dead bones in a field
-Ezekiel being whirled off to heaven in a chariot
- the heavens parting and God's Entourage of spheres (spaceship looking things) with angels floating from the sky

I could go on! And yes, I think one can write Christian fiction and fantasy under the same name. You can offend anyone, of faith or not, with anything.
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Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2017, 08:23:09 AM »
In a world where magic is commonplace, why would people turn to an invisible sky-being to explain the impossible? What is faith without miracles, and what are gods without faith? Take your time; I'll wait.)

I guess my reasoning in writing that way, is that I personally always want to know more. How did this magical realm/world come into existence. Was it meteors clashing together, did something create it, was it random atoms? How did the people obtain magic? Where does the power derive from? How is it learned, sustained etc. It wasn't really a worshiping question for me as more of this is how it happened and why.

Edit: If I do go to hell for writing fantasy, then it means all the good bands will be there.

Lol'd. Sounds like my justification for tattoos to someone, generally speaking I agree with most of their moral beliefs, however when I got a tattoo on the back of my neck last summer with the heartbeat thing and the phrase "Gods not dead" they told me I was going to hell for desecrating Gods body. I try to stay away from arguments like this because generally speaking the other persons mind is not going to be changed. I just know the reference to tattoos in the bible is generally misunderstood as they were talking about tattooing or marking the dead. I personally can't find any reference to tattooing a live person. Ultimately I don't think God is going to say "sorry I can't let you in because you believed in me and got a tattoo that glorified my name." I have been known to be wrong in the past, but I do not think this is one of those factors that is going to ultimately make that determination.

Offline Joseph Malik

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #45 on: May 19, 2017, 08:27:01 AM »
I guess my reasoning in writing that way, is that I personally always want to know more. How did this magical realm/world come into existence. Was it meteors clashing together, did something create it, was it random atoms? How did the people obtain magic? Where does the power derive from? How is it learned, sustained etc. It wasn't really a worshiping question for me as more of this is how it happened and why.

The only place that gods play a role in my world is in the creation myths, but they're so ancient that they're considered folklore. I was referring to the misguided trope that you can't have a functional society without a centralized religion that people hold to. They don't have gods that they pray to. They go to Mike, the local wizard, when they need someone to make things go their way.
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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #46 on: May 19, 2017, 08:29:49 AM »
I have tattoos. My husband is covered in them. Many devoted Christians we know have tattoos. Jesus did away with the old law. Have them read Romans. BUT...to not get carried away on theology, can you do a new pen name more for practical purposes? Will the fantasy be YA or adult? If you're reaching a different audience then it might be worth it to consider a new pen.
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Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2017, 08:38:45 AM »
I have tattoos. My husband is covered in them. Many devoted Christians we know have tattoos. Jesus did away with the old law. Have them read Romans. BUT...to not get carried away on theology, can you do a new pen name more for practical purposes? Will the fantasy be YA or adult? If you're reaching a different audience then it might be worth it to consider a new pen.

I already posted this, but I have pasted it below and edited it some as I'm not really sure! I thought I was writing something along the lines of what I enjoy reading. I've been guilty of indulging entirely too many hours into an mmorpg I played when my kids were younger. It started as something I could do while being up with my colicky son all night every night for 2 years, then began an obsession which I have since purged myself from as for me to sit down and think I will play for 20 minutes will turn into 6 hours. Same thing with books. I read a swords and sorcery fantasy series of books last week, that I spent every spare minute I had reading, until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I honestly am looking forward to the release of the next book in the series, though the author says it will likely not come until next year.

Well my daughter is ten (and painfully nosy) and reading on at a ninth grade level. As my husband typically works second shift I juggle my time to write with making sure both of my children get their homework done, bathe and eat something more than cereal for dinner. Later in the evening I make dinner for my husband.

Now my nosy Nora of a daughter decided to read over my shoulder tonight while I was working. It drives me nuts when she does this so I try to do most of my writing after my kids 8:30 bedtime. Well my kids don't have school tomorrow so I thought I'd try to squeeze some time in anyways. She wouldn't leave me alone, so after the fourth or fifth time I told her to just go read it on my phone since pages syncs automatically so that if I have a moment during the day or a note to make I can do it on the fly.

The good/bad news is that it worked. Until she was done reading what I've written so far. Then she spent 15 minutes closing and reopening pages to update my progress. Besides driving me nuts she actually loved it and wanted to know what happens next.

 Am I destined to be a young adult writer then? This certainly wasn't my plan. I did some google searches on the differences between ya and adult fantasy, and it seems to come down to being a simpler language, lower word count, and younger aged characters, generally told in third person. 

I am not any where near having a total word count, though I have enough adventures planned I expect for it end up being several books. I am writing in third person, but I didn't think my language was overly simplistic or overly sophisticated to be honest.

Offline Patrick Urban

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2017, 09:24:54 AM »
And Larry Correia and Tracy Hickman.  Plenty of Mormons have been very successful writing SF/F.

Madeline L'Engle and Robert Jordan were/are major figures in fantasy, and they were both Episcopalians.

One of the early big-hitters in fantasy was George MacDonald, and he was a theologian in addition to being a fantasy writer.  From his Wikipedia page, it sounds like he had an interesting childhood:

The point of all this is that one's religious beliefs are no bar to writing stories that readers enjoy.  So concentrate on spinning a good yarn, first and foremost, and everything else will sort itself out.  :)

And of course the progenitor of contemporary 'high fantasy', Tolkien, was a devout Catholic. His catholicism was one of the influences in C.S. Lewis converting to Christianity. That Lewis never embraced Catholicism specifically was a persistent, albeit minor, rift in their friendship.

Offline Lauriejoyeltahs

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Re: Christian authors as fantasy authors?
« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2017, 12:41:34 PM »
Don't worry, lots of kids read adult novels (I know I was reading Lord of the Rings at ten) and lots of adults read Young Adult novels. It's not about who reads it, it's about the characters, particularly the protagonist, and to some extent the tone and themes. If your MC is a young adult, then you may well be writing Young Adult, if not, then you aren't.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with writing Young Adult if you do end up down that path, and fantasy seems to be the easiest YA subgenre for indies to find success in  :)

I missed this post earlier! That is a very good point, while I probably shouldn't have,  I read my moms Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts books starting at age 12. They certainly were not written for that age !