Lemon Twist: Is it a Christian book?

This is one of the posts where I may just be talking to myself. Okay, maybe 1 or 2 others. But it might be too much of an inside question– does anyone even care:

Is Lemon Twist a Christian book?

Here’s the deal: Lemon Twist is about Audrey’s life. She has some big issues to settle with her failed relationships, her complicated mother, her job, and yes, God.

When I went to my first writer’s conference, it was, as I understood it, for Christian writers. I’m a writer. I’m a Christian. So far, so good. Well, turns out it did mean that, but it MORESO it meant writers who write Christian material. And in publishing that is referred to as CBA (Christian Booksellers Association). So CBA is a method in which the books are distributed/type of publisher, but it’s shorthand with a style of writing (e.g., I write CBA. I write ABA.)

ABA is American Booksellers Association (also referred to as the general market).

In the world of publishing, this book would not make it on the Christian shelves. The characters drink alcohol. Audrey is a former smoker, but could cave at any minute. And there is even a joke about boobs. Her inner voice speaks in Bible verses, but often that voice is dripping with sarcasm. And there’s a few times she or someone cusses.

So it’s not Christian?

Well, I don’t know. Making peace with God is as big a part of her story as her heartbreak and how she heals that break.

It’s not a Christian book in the CBA sense of the words…


Because of Christian readers.

And I don’t mean people who read and also happen to be Christian. I mean people who only want to read Christian material. And that faction of reader has a specific idea of what they want and don’t want in a book (hint: no cocktails).

The shelf for Christian fiction is too narrow for a novel like Lemon Twist (or anything I ever write).

A book that says you can enjoy a martini, flirt with your boss, AND love God (though you should stop flirting with your boss- that’s got disaster written all over it) would be trashed so viciously that is not worth trying to put it in that category.

And part of me doesn’t blame them. Those readers who readily identify their genre of choice as Christian fiction know what they want and want what they know. I wouldn’t want to buy my cinnamon toothpaste to suddenly find mint. I have an expectation from the label and expect it to be accurate.

So I get that, but it does rankle.

Because it feels like rejection and narrow-mindedness. It feels like people are making God’s tent smaller instead of bigger and that bothers me.

So…is Lemon Twist a Christian book? No.

It’s just a book. About Audrey. Who finds a messy way to faith, hope, and love.