Today, I take a brake from rant and personal struggle, to showcase the work of RM Strong, author and friend.
Though our backgrounds are seemingly night vs day (devot christian VS atheist), and her work is arguable outside of my normal literary comfort zone, I find it enjoyable.
The plot and story lines in her book My Life As A Superhero (Karis) are fairly alien to anything ive read before. The presence of characters with devout religous backgrounds, is also something ive never come across before.
But though the term “Christian Author” may draw up a certain profile within the mind, and make one think that the book is clean of anything “sinful and morally wrong” (aka, boring LOL), thats where you would be wrong.
Rather then taking the “rose colored glasses” route that most of us have come to expect of devote Christian’s, Strong dares to take the glasses off, take on the harsh realities of the real world. It is this, that earns my respect.
And now, a word from Strong.
“Do you REALLY think God would say, ‘Cut the crap’?!” asked the small, yellow Post-it note on the middle school Sunday School script I had sent to a literary agent. It was, of course, with a “polite” rejection letter, but the disdain and incredulity was palpable.
My first thought was, “Well, yeah.” I mean, really, why would I have written it like that if I didn’t think that was exactly how God spoke when we try all those useless excuses?
I, like many in the West, grew up in the church. I grew up with the happy stories in the Bible—Jesus calming the sea, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Peter breaking out of prison, Balaam and his donkey, The Good Samaritan, Creation, Moses and the Exodus. However, I was fascinated by the more gruesome stories—the demon who beats up the seven sons of Skiva and made them run home crying to mommy; at least four times after the Exodus, God gets fed up and wants to completely destroy the people of Israel; Ezekiel’s zombie army; the last half of the book of Judges; Jesus’ telling-off of the religious elite; and many other things that make people sit up and ask, “That’s in the Bible?!” (Yeah, I’m a strange girl.)
I have never really appreciated much Christian “entertainment”—movies and books—because I can’t help myself from thinking about the production value or the simplistic and predictable storylines, “This is the best God can do?” Things have been getting better since the Generation X Christians have come into their own (I am enjoying reading a lot of the independent Christian authors), but I still only add Christian movies to my Netflix queue to laugh at them.
When I started writing my My Life as a Superhero series, I didn’t set out writing Christian fiction. Why would I? I hated the stuff. It was all fluffy and unrealistic and historical romances. The characters were unrealistic and one-dimensional. Of course, being a Christian myself, Karis (the first book) ended up that way, but the series is still “edgy.” Too, edgy, in fact, for any of the Christian publishers to pick up—it’s a superhero origin story, of course it’s going to be edgy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was too religious for the traditional publishers, as well. So, I self-published my “Christian” book with characters who say “choice” words—think, PG-13, none of the “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV”. I think it turned out okay, and even better, other people do, too.
This week, I published my third book (and second in the Superhero series), Flash. The story now is not quite so edgy—I’ve already killed off most everyone I need to kill off—but still not “Christian” enough to make it into the local bookstores. Fortunately, I don’t have to water down my story in order to please others, and I can write stories that can appeal to anyone.
Rikki Strong has always been enamored with superheroes, and started writing the My Life as a Superhero series (currently Karis and Flash) when she was a sophomore in high school. She began writing for fun and profit in 2006 and has since written or ghostwritten more than 10 books and over 50 web articles. When not writing—which is most of the time—she is a stay-at-home wife and mom to a very active 6-year-old boy who is already about 500 words and 25 chapters into his own book.
FLASH Borrow/Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/WNzPvV