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Writing Christian Contemporary Fiction. What a Challenge!

Crystal Island

When I decided to write my Christian contemporary novel, Crystal Island, I knew I was embarking on a challenging adventure. Not only was I intending to write about ten very different characters who, for seventy whole days, would live in close proximity to each other on an isolated island; but I was also planning to weave into the pages of my book some thought-provoking, perhaps even contentious issues about the ‘meaning of life’. As Crystal Island was intended as Christian fiction, I wanted to deal with fundamental and frequently asked questions about life on this earth. Amongst others, questions like:

How did our world begin? (Or to put it another way, “Who created the world?)…and…

Why is there so much suffering in this world?

How on earth was I going to tackle this subject matter without sounding pedantic and preachy? Enter Amanda Patters, the face behind a mysterious organisation. Their mission: To send voluntary participants to this island, ostensibly for ‘improving’ discussions that would change their outlook on life. I included in the plot ten characters who couldn’t be more different, then added to the mix some genuine evangelists. I spiced up the action with some credible characters who posed as evangelists, only to carry out their nefarious activities. I dropped in a couple of dramatic events, some puzzling occurrences and a dash of danger to keep my potential readers turning the pages.

I said it was a challenge to write a contemporary Christian novel. It certainly proved to be one, especially as I wanted to ensure that my Christian novel had a contemporary spin, so that it could be enjoyed by Christians, people of other faiths, and the ordinary man-in-the-street.

As an aside, when the novel had finally been accepted for publication and the time came for me to review the first proofs of the cover design, while I was very pleased with the beautiful cover which portrayed the requisite idyllic island paradise, I was not quite as pleased with the representation of the Crystal Island symbol, a glittering brooch which had been discarded on the seashore. The original cover showed this symbolic brooch, which you could hardly see, nestling next to a wheelbarrow, which dwarfed the intendedly enticing symbol. Further revisions to the cover resulted in a much better ‘symbol’; I was thrilled with the final result. While the new symbol was not exactly what I had envisioned, the cover-designer created an intriguing, mysterious object which lies on the beach, and which will hopefully stimulate the curiosity of all who view the cover of my Christian novel. Hopefully, potential readers will pick up my book and become immersed in its pages.

Breath of God by Gillian Leggat
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