Monday, July 30, 2012

What is it about Katniss and Tris?

Lately I've become a fan of some of the popular dystopian YA series, namely The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth trilogies. I've always had a thing for YA novels, and perhaps I'm late on the bandwagon, but the dystopian genre intrigues me. It's certainly not a new thing, but the two above mentioned authors have hit it big, and as an author I ask myself why. What is it about Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior that has spawned multi million dollar movie deals, thousand upon thousands of book sales, and rabid fans enthusiastically creating fan art and fan fiction?

I believe the biggest things these books have going for them are their heroines. We've seen variations of the plots before. But Katniss and Tris spark something in readers. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Their Strength
Today's readers are looking for strong heroines who can take care of themselves. Katniss & Tris don't necessarily need someone to take care of them, though that doesn't mean there aren't times when people do.

2. Their Skills
Katniss is a skilled archer who can shoot a bow better than anyone else.  Tris learns to fight hand to hand effectively. When we read about these girls, we want to be like them, whether it's realistic or not.

3. They Have Vulnerabilities
An error some authors make in creating their heroines (and heroes for that matter) is to write a perfect person without any weakness. While Katniss and Tris are indeed strong, they aren't perfect. This three-dimensional aspect is what allows us to suspend our disbelief easier when reading their stories. Plus we relate even more since who among us is perfect?  

4. Their Hearts Aren't Hard
Most of the evil in these books happens to the girls. They are thrust into situations against their will. If they kill, it is in self-defense. To survive. And both of them face at least one situation that nearly breaks them. After all, they are girls (both sixteen at the start of their books) thrust into a world most women couldn't handle.

5. They Don't Have Time for Bull
Excuse the language, but these are no-nonsense girls (and keep in mind the novels are general market fare). Katniss and Tris say it like it is. They say the things we wish we could say. It gets them in trouble sometimes, but we cheer them on.

If you've read these stories, what about the heroines did you like? Why do you think the novels are so popular?

Monday, July 23, 2012

In Memory of Julie - The Best Dog Ever


The Best Dog Ever. We love you so much and miss you terribly! You had a wonderful, full life and gave us so much joy! We're honored we got to have you for as long as we did.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Can Sign Your E-book!

You knew it was coming, right?

I just discovered an awesome new service called Kindlegraph. Basically, it allows authors to personalize/sign an e-book for a reader. If you have a Twitter account, you can instantly send a request to an author who's signed up (including me), and in a matter of moments the author can send you a personalized pdf bookplate of sorts that can be downloaded to your Kindle.

My novels Thicker than Blood & Bound by Guilt are on the site. Now if I can just figure out how to make my signature look neater than a five-year-old's when using a mouse to sign...

Click here to go directly to my page.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Evolution of Christian Fiction

I read an interesting article at about how Christian fiction has evolved in the past 20 years. Some people still have misconceptions about how much variety and depth today's Christian fiction truly has. I'm old enough to remember some of its humble beginnings. I've seen it grow up and mature from a time when pretty much all that was out there were prairie romances or Frank Peretti. The first adult Christian novel I ever read was Christy by Catherine Marshall, followed quickly by Frank Peretti's Darkness series. I've re-read all three of them multiple times.

We owe those trailblazers a big thank you for helping to push open the doors for today's market. Sure, we still have some growing to do. I'd love to see the YA market explode in the CBA like it has in the ABA. And as a lover of suspense novels, it would be neat to see more of them focusing on character development right alongside the thrills.

How about you? What would you like to see more of in the Christian fiction market, and what was the first CBA novel you ever read?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Sibella Giorello is Shining Bright

Check out this awesome new trailer for Sibella Giorello's upcoming novel The Stars Shine Bright:

Sibella is one of my all time favorite authors, and she proves why again in this novel. I love her attention to detail, character development, and suspense. All told with a deft hand. Poetic at times, heart wrenching at others, this one is another great addition in the Raleigh Harmon mystery series. Can't wait for more!