Christian Retailing

Fiction Focus Series: ‘Give them an author they can trust’ Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 10:39 AM America/New_York

Zonderkidz-GuardianPublishers provide an alternative that connects with YA readers

From fantasy to fairy tale and sci-fi to Steampunk, the Young Adult genre covers a broad range of fiction types—not all of which have yet entered the Christian market. With general market series such as “The Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” appealing to teens, Christian publishers are offering alternative titles from YA authors, including Robert Liparulo, Nancy Rue, Stephanie Perry Moore , Melody Carlson, Sigmund Brouwer, Donita K. Paul and Lisa Bergren.

“If you connect with a reader during this time period, you may have made a lifelong connection,” said Shannon Marchese, senior editor, fiction at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. “The way to do so is to tell them a life-changing story and give them an author they can trust.”  

Not one particular type of book is associated with YA readers, but rather genres including science fiction, supernatural, action/adventure, everyday teen life and dystopian, said Becky Monds, associate editor at Thomas Nelson.

At Zondervan, paranormal is a subgenre that the company is making a “serious effort” to publish, said Annette Bourland, senior vice president and publisher, trade and Zonderkidz. 

Subtitled “What If Following Your Heart Meant Losing Your Soul,” Halflings by Heather Burch is “the classic story of good versus evil, but offers a very satisfying read without the vulgarity often found in mainstream publishing,” Bourland said, noting that the second in the trilogy, Guardian, comes out this month.

Zondervan also recently published its first dystopian novel, Replication by Jill Williamson, which examined the moral and ethical issues of cloning. 

Author Kat Heckenbach (Finding Angel, Splashdown Books) doesn’t find a “message of despair and hopelessness,” in dystopian fiction, as many expect to find, but just the opposite, she said. “I think dystopian fiction is popular because it sends the message that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope—and that teens have real power in seemingly hopeless situations.” 

Jenny B. Jones, a Thomas Nelson author, sees dystopian as a reflection of our times.