Welcome back, Andy. As noted in Part I, you'll be attending the ACFW conference. Specifically what kinds of manuscripts will you be looking for?
Comic vampire legal thrillers. I tell ya, I’ve bugged every legal thriller writer in the CBA to write this for me, and they just don’t bite. There are very few slots left for first-time writers, but I’m building up a list of proposals that, once I become rich and powerful, I can pursue more effectively.
What is your biggest frustration with the Christian fiction industry? What do you hope to do about helping to change this?
I don’t know if this is my biggest frustration (after all, I’m still new and idealistic and naïve) but I’m constantly surprised at how accepting we are of unnecessary violence in Christian fiction. Of the big three, violence, sex, and language, I’m pretty sure we should be least tolerant of violence, in books and in our own lives. In terms of realism, it’s much more realistic to me to have characters let loose with a damn or kickass or my God or a double entendre than have a villain shoot someone in the leg just for fun because he’s the bad guy. Not only is it a double standard, but it’s bad writing. How do I change this? Require my authors to write well. Make sure that everything in the book, from violence to shoestrings, serves the story.
Hm. As a suspense writer I naturally find that an interesting topic. Perhaps we can pursue that further in a later post on the issue. For now--what differences do you think we'll be seeing in Christian fiction in five years?
I think we’re going to see CBA trends mimicking ABA trends. We’ll eventually catch on that there’s not just three genres of fiction: inspirational, suspense, and end times/middle east.
You’ve been an editor with Zondervan for a year now. What have you learned during that time about the industry? About yourself in the industry?
Well, I’ve met a lot of kindred spirits in the industry, and we all seem to think that we’ll somehow change the world. I haven’t lost that feeling yet.
Finally, what would you like to say to the novelists who read Forensics and Faith?
Quickest way to doom yourself: stop reading, stop learning, stop listening.
I may be the #1 editor in my immediate family, but when my wife reads something of mine, I dig in my heels, argue with her, and then make practically every change she suggests (and it makes a big difference). I re-read my favorite books on writing and constantly look for more. And I keep a journal of novels I’ve read so I can track my reading, remember what I’ve read and how I felt about it, and make sure I’m not neglecting genres in which I want to be informed. When I stop doing those things, I should stop editing books.
Thanks so much for visiting with us, Andy.
Thanks for the chance to speak my mind. I reserve the right to change my mind on any opinion on any given topic at any time. Go easy on the next interviewee.