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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Breaking the Rules of Christian Fiction by David Alderman

Today I would like to allow David Alderman, author and founder of The Crossover Alliance to talk to you about this Alliance and its exciting new venture. But before I do, I would like to explain why I am doing this. 

Not too long ago, I came across a book, Black Earth: End of the Innocence by David Alderman and I was intrigued by the mix of genres: fantasy, science fiction, supernatural, alien invasion, demons, apocalyptic. Little did I know then that I was reading a book in a new genre, edgy Christian speculative fiction. I loved the Black Earth series (my review of this book can be found here) and then realised I loved this new genre. Soon after, I was asked by David to join his new community, The Crossover Alliance, and this introduced me to more books in this genre. It has been encouraging seeing it transform "from community to website to, now, an online publishing company" to quote David.

I have read some great books from the authors in this new company, such Mark Carver, Jess Hanna, Nathan James Norman and Donovan Martin Neal. This has motivated me to seek out others as well. This review blog contains a  lot of my reviews from this genre. Now, I am a strong supporter of edgy Christian speculative fiction from reading and reviewing these books and getting involved. I enjoy the real world content, the Christian worldview, the depiction of Christian characters being real, not being shy in showing their flaws, their failings, their struggle with faith, coping with real life situations and showing God for who He is and that He is still relevant in today's secular and humanistic world.

I will now let David speak about this new Publishing company, how it was formed, what it means for the future of Christian fiction and to encourage readers and authors reading this to consider supporting us in raising funds to get this Company up and running and making a positive impact in the world of Christian fiction and beyond.


                                   Breaking the Rules of Christian Fiction

A few weeks back, we ended our Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for The Crossover Alliance – an online publishing company specializing in edgy Christian speculative fiction. Our goal was $10,000 to cover expenses – including editing, cover design, web fees, etc. – for our first year’s catalog. We hit $1870 before the end of the campaign. With Kickstarter it’s an all-or-nothing deal, so we walked away from the campaign with nothing of monetary value.
 
It wasn’t really a tough pill to swallow because I know that our company is trying to establish a market in a genre that is fairly new and mostly unheard of. All this time, Christian fiction has followed an established set of rules: no cursing, no sexual content, no taboos, no violence, no questionable themes. This isn’t to say that there aren’t great Christian titles out there hiding from the naysayers and critics because of the ‘edgy’ content found within, they just have to be found and coaxed to come out to a welcoming readership.

I used to write PG-rated Christian fiction. Young adult PG-rated Christian fiction, actually, and I enjoyed doing so. But most of the time I was writing, I was always wondering where certain scenes could have really gone had I stepped over the boundaries that the young-adult – or even the Christian fiction – genre called for. What if I wrote my character to use real-world terminology when they were upset or in a feud with someone else? What if my side characters engaged in activities that many in the Christian community would find heinous to even speak about? What if instead of cookie-cutter vanilla bad guys – such as the Devil, more three-dimensional villains rose to the top of the tale?

During National Novel Writing Month back in 2007, I was working on a short story anthology connected to my young adult series. I decided to let one of the stories take me where it wanted to take me, show me what it wanted to show me. I removed the boundaries and I bounded into the fiction wilderness with safeties off and caution hanging in the wind.

What I found was astounding.

A very short story called Black Earth came from the experiment, a story about Earth’s destruction by alien and demonic forces.

When I was finished writing the story, I knew there was more to it, more that was hidden off the page, waiting to be revealed. I sat down after NaNoWriMo and wrote out Black Earth: End of the Innocence, the first (of four novels) in my Black Earth series. The story did a number on me, because I wasn’t used to writing with the censor locked in a closet. Themes of violence and sacrifice, non graphic sexual content, and a dash of coarse language had made it into the story and revealed a beautifully dark and haunting beginning to my groundbreaking novel series.

Six years later I’m about to cut the red ribbon and introduce the public to The Crossover Alliance, a publishing company specializing in edgy Christian speculative fiction – Christ-centered speculative fiction with real-world content. End of the Innocence is one of the first five books our company will be publishing before the end of the year, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come not just as a writer but as someone who ‘broke the rules’.

 


There seems to be a stigma for Christians who break the rules. Many are accused of doing so simply to perform the act of breaking the rules. But Christianity – in our society – can seem extremely sheltering at times, and to break the rules can enable one to look beyond the way they were raised and the beliefs they were raised in and find Christ’s truth through scripture and a relationship with God. This truth goes beyond the status quo and beyond the rules that publishing companies, our colleagues, friends and even our families have set up.

Edgy Christian speculative fiction breaks that box of rules and offers up a fresh look at Christian fiction. At times, the stories that embody this new genre can seem like Rated-R movies, but if you look squarely at the core purpose of these stories, it is to show the light of Christ against the backdrop of a very dark world. The secular themes, the edgy content, the sometimes horrific premises, offer to merge a Christ-centered message into a story that readers can find themselves absorbed in and take seriously. 


I don’t give up easily. Most times I don’t give up at all. While the Kickstarter campaign didn’t raise the money needed for my Plan A business structure, I now have an Indiegogo campaign – http://www.igg.me/at/TCA - to raise funds for my Plan B business structure. Please head to the link and check out the team, the mission, and the rewards you can score for pledging to this cause. This world needs more ‘real’ fiction like edgy Christian speculative fiction, and I hope you’ll join me in my efforts to spread the word about this unique and much-needed and wanted genre.
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David N. Alderman is an indie author of two speculative fiction series—Black Earth and Expired Reality. You can find all of David’s work at http://www.davidnalderman.com. He is also the founder of The Crossover Alliance (http://www.thecrossoveralliance.com), a publishing company specializing in edgy Christian speculative fiction. He participates in National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org) each year. When he’s not writing or spending time with family, you can find David gaming on any number of different consoles.

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