My most recent book is a redemptive story where the heroine initially thinks God has forgotten about her as a result of the mistakes she's made in life, and then finds healing as she realizes her conception of God's mercy has been wrong so many years. Because of this, the scene where the heroine reconciles her relationship with God is very openly Christian in its framework... I list Bible verses, and she goes through steps of spiritual healing. But much of the rest of the book is more thematic in its Christian content.
So as I'm working on plotting my latest project, I'm contemplating where the heroine is on her spiritual journey and am considering making her more "Christian" from the outset, because I think it suits her character well.
I have read several books by writers like Robin Jones Gunn that are clearly geared toward equipping a Christian audience, and when written well (as in the case of any of Robin's books), these stories have really impacted me to deepen my own faith.
But I have also read books where the Christian thread feels so artificial that I wish the author would've just left it out. You've probably heard this joke before, but is it really "Christian fiction" just because someone gets saved in the ending?
Because this is such a hot button topic, I'd love to hear what you think. What makes Christian fiction "Christian" to begin with? Is it Christian themes? Verses quoted? Christian characters? As a reader, are you willing to read "secular" romances so long as they are clean? And second, if you're a writer, what category of Christian fiction do you find yourself drawn more towards?
*Photo taken from http://edit911.com/2012/02/christian-fiction-secular-fiction/