I am an out-and-proud Christian. So you would think I would love Christian fiction. But no, I can’t stand it. Oh, you’ve read some of it, too? So you know what I mean, then. The squeaky-clean protagonists give me hives. They don’t have any ACTUAL flaws, you know? And that’s just unrealistic. I mean, the Christians I know and love and worship with, week-in and week-out look nothing like the folks you find peopling the Left Behind series—unless we’re talking the bad guys, that is. No, we are seriously flawed individuals who often swear like longshoremen, and screw up in big ways on a regular basis.
And where are all the Gay and Lesbian people? Half of the folks in my church are GLBT folks. I’ve never read a Christian novel where I saw GLBT folks depicted as Christian heroes. I decided that since no one had ever published a book showing Christians as real folks—or at least Christians as I know Christians—I’d have to write it. So I wrote THE KINGDOM. And then I wrote a sequel, THE POWER. I’m working on THE GLORY now. Flawed characters? Check. Real people? Check. Love Jesus? Check. Badass demon hunters? Check. (Yeah, there’s a little bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the DNA of those books, too.)
Is it hard to get something like that published? You bet. It’s like Mark Heard said, “I’m too sacred for the sinners and the saints wish I would leave.” And that’s why I started the Apocryphile Press, because honestly, no one else is going to touch books like this with a ten-foot pole. We’ve got about 130 titles out, many of them pushing (or downright punching out) the envelope of “acceptable” Christian publishing norms. Last year we published a large-format art book called THE PASSION OF CHRIST: A GAY VISION, which shows scenes from Jesus’ last week, his crucifixion and resurrection—if Jesus were a young gay man living in the American South in the 1960s. I know that sounds kind of out there, but in fact this book is stunningly beautiful and deeply moving.
We publish anything Steve Case wants to write, because he’s just a wacky good writer—check out his incredible FR. DARK to see what I mean. We also just published a bold new study of the book of Revelation called THE APOCALYPTIC GOSPEL by Justin Staller that has people buzzing.
So in between the awesome speakers and the awesomer music, please stop by our booth and check out our books. Steve Case, Justin Staller, and myself will be there. We’re giving away free ebook copies of THE KINGDOM and FR. DARK, we’ll be signing books, and selling them. We also promise to be insufferably silly. Most of all, I’m interested in hearing your book ideas—because we specialize in the kinds of books other publishers are afraid of. We are especially interested in Christian fiction that depicts real Christians—folks like you and me—as we actually are, warts and all, not as some idealized role models.
I want Apocryphile to specialize in BADASS CHRISTIAN FICTION. We’ve got a good start on that already. I figure Wild Goose is the PERFECT place to find folks who’d like what we publish, and who write the kinds of books we’d LIKE to publish. So do you have a book for us?
John R. Mabry
Publisher, THE APOCRYPHILE PRESS