Darkside Publishing Authors Week continues today, #WriterWednesday, with G.P. Ching!
A few years ago, I described The Soulkeepers to a fellow writer like this: An atheist teen comes to believe in God when he discovers he is genetically gifted to fight fallen angels. His reaction was to say he hoped I had a bulletproof vest.
I knew when I published The Soulkeepers that the theme of faith & spirituality mixed with the paranormal would limit my audience. According to a recent Pew Research Center Study, atheism is growing among young people faster than any other demographic, with an estimated 25% in this group claiming they have no specific faith. And on the other side of things, this months Thriving Family magazine points the finger at paranormal entertainment for introducing the occult to children.
To be clear, my book doesn’t firmly fall into the Christian genre, and doesn’t contain the word Jesus. The Soulkeepers is representative of the struggle we all face with imperfection in self, family, community, and ultimately our God. It’s not about a specific religion but rather a journey of moving from a place where you feel like life is happening to you, to a place of purpose and connection with the people around you and a higher power. This theme, by the way, is not new. It is the central theme of Silas Marner, alluded to in the book. People have been writing about this theme for hundreds of years.
What is new is a fear among readers of anything faith based. Reviewers often point out that the book “isn’t preachy”, as if this was a problem in young adult novels to be avoided. I’m still looking for the mainstream young adult novel that is preachy. In today’s world, I think it’s hard to find modern works with religious themes.
Despite the fact that writing about faith has undoubtedly limited my market, I’m proud to have written the book I was meant to write. I think authors of faith need to write from their spiritual heart. Pretending to be something that we’re not, or downplaying our faith for the sake of selling books, removes the soul from the work. It’s a type of whitewash, presenting art that doesn’t reflect reality.
I think readers, more than anything, want to connect to a believable character. And if 75% of young people practice a specific faith, and the other 25% have thought about it enough to decide that they don’t believe, how realistic is it to write a character who has never thought about God at all?
Loved it. Our words carry truth. We just have to bring them.
From the DarkSide Publishing blog:
G. P. Ching is a short fiction writer whose work has appeared in various print and electronic publications including Muse Literary Journal, Flashquake Literary Journal, Western New York Family Magazine, Everyday Fiction, YA Flash Death Match and Escape Into Life. Her work is forthcoming in the 100 Stories for Queensland anthology. She co-runs DarkSide Publishing, is a regular participant in the #Fridayflash community, and a member of SCBWI. The Soulkeepers, a YA Paranormal, is her debut novel coming Spring 2011. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children, and one very demanding guinea pig.
The Soulkeepers – YA Paranormal
When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother’s car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can’t find his mother’s body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, a beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a biologically gifted warrior charged with protecting human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother’s disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva’s motives for helping him.
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