Open Discussion – First Diverse CF Read

Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray you had an awesome week of reading and relaxing. If not, that’s what the weekend’s for. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before I move on to the discussion topic, I just want to recap our blog post from this week. Monday, Terri interviewed Leslie Sherrod. Wednesday, Jamie shared a book spotlightย for Sushi for One. Friday, I shared a reviewย for Signs of Life. Now on to today’s topic!

Today, I thought I’d be real informal. I want to hear from you! Share when you first realized that Christian fiction was lacking in diversity AND share the first diverse book you read.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I really “noticed” because I’m used to not seeing diverse characters. It’s one reason I’m so passionate about writing them. I do remember my first diverse read. It was Ronie Kendig’s Firethorn. (Author Interview here.)ย Never have I been so happy to see a book cover with a Black man on it.

Your turn!


Post by Toni Shiloh

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10 thoughts on “Open Discussion – First Diverse CF Read

  1. I haven’t read much Christian fiction, because, for a while, a lot of it was just romance. I have read a good bit of nonfiction in Christian realm. I have to admit that I didn’t think about it for a while. I read and just absorbed what was in the book, which I think is worse because I didn’t realize I was reading a completely books where every single person was white. Like I think back to At Home in Mitford. Loved those! Now I think…why were there zero people of color in that town?

    I began to realize it when I started writing Latino Christian fiction and started hitting some real roadblocks. It opened my eyes to it, and I have been mindfully reading ever since. I think the first time I noticed was when I was reading a short story or the first pages of a book (can’t remember!) for the ACFW VA contest. It was a fantasy book with a black female character, and I thought, “Wow, this is great! I’ve never read anything like this!” I’m pretty sure I gushed in the notes. Ooh, I am forgot, too, that I think prior to that I had read a book by my friend Regina for a critique and hers also was a historical fiction about Joseph, and after she explained the truth behind many Biblical characters being people of color, I thought, “Why have I been picturing every Bible character as white for all these years?” Right there is some internal bias (as I am a white person…who grew up in a white church, etc.).

    I am just glad now to be at a diverse church where I am learning to grow and stretch and where I have been given a heart to write Latino fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The first book with a diverse character that I read was Camy Tang’s Only Uni. As an Asian myself, I was thrilled to see an Asian author (other than Amy Tan) and also doubly thrilled that she was a Christian. She inspired me and gave me hope that I could do the same: write books with Asian characters. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. If I recall correctly, the first diverse Christian Fiction book I read was Drums of Change by Janette Oke, back when I was in high school. It’s historical fiction with mostly Native American main characters.

    I think I first noticed the diversity issue in Christian Fiction around my late teens, when I started venturing to the general fiction section of the bookstore in search of classics, and I ran across African American ChristFic books in that section. I was like, “Wow! Christian novels about black people, written by black people! Books like this EXIST!” But then I was wondering, “Why aren’t these in the Christian Fiction section of the store, with Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn and the Left Behind series and everything? How many more Christian novels am I missing because I usually stay in the Christian Fiction section?”

    After my discovery, I’m pretty sure the first ChristFic novel I read by an author of color was Joy by Victoria Christopher Murray.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I really dislike that they do that in book stores because so many people are missing out thinking there is NO diversity what’s so ever. Thankfully Amazon and other online retailers make it a little better, but it’s still difficult.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Interesting subject.

    I have some diverse characters in my books, but didn’t really think about it when writing them. I wrote what came naturally. I grew up in a very diverse area (Upper Darby, PA), so it was never really an issue for me. Now, it seems like we are a world divided and that instead of ignoring color, we seek out our differences. I miss how things were when I was a child. My mother asked me about the race of a new friend and I wasn’t sure. I wish the world would be like an innocent child. Colorblind.

    I’m not sure how much Christian fiction I’ve read with diverse characters. I tend to have my own picture in my head of the characters that doesn’t match the author’s description, so I may think I read diverse books that weren’t really and vice versa! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up (and still live) in a diverse area and was rather blind to color when I was a child, too. ๐Ÿ˜€ And when it came to books, if I identified with a character’s personality, joys, or struggles, it never occurred to me that I wasn’t like that character, no matter what color he or she was.

      I wouldn’t want to go back to colorblindness though, nor do I wish that people would be blind to my color, any more than I’d want them to be blind to my gender, or to be blind to the fact that I’m a writer. God made me an African American woman for a reason, and I’d rather be fully seen and appreciated for what I am, as I’d rather see and appreciate the differences I find in other people. I think what’s different about us is intentional, important, and powerful, just as what we all have in common is intentional, important, and powerful. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a reason why I like reading diverse fiction, to better learn to recognize differences along with similarities and to find the significance in all of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I had to go back in my Kindle account and see :-). I found diverse Christian fiction in April of 2015 after years of reading Christian fiction in different genres. There were several books that April, but the one that gripped me, and that I read several times,
    was “The Makeover” by Vacirca Vaughn. It was written with such energy and vitality, and so different from the standard Christian fiction I had been exposed to. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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