Grace Awards

Expanding the Tent Pegs of Christian Fiction

OCTOBER SPOTLIGHT: Karin Kaufman

The Grace Awards is about to embark on a new adventure by “spotlighting” past winners and finalists so we can find out what they’re up to and where their writing journey has taken them. We’re delighted that our first author is  Karin Kaufman, an amazing author who’s debut novel THE WITCH TREE finaled in the 2011 Grace Awards in the Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense category. Since All Hallows Eve, Halloween, and All Souls Day are approaching, we think it’s extremely appropriate that Karin will be sharing with us for two days as her new novel is entitled ALL SOULS.

ALL SOULS

Ignoring the Rules by Karin Kaufman

Earlier this year I took a break from writing my Anna Denning Mystery series to write a novel called All Souls, the first book in my new Gatehouse Thriller series. With much trepidation. So much so, in fact, that when I finished writing it, I published the book under the name K.T. Kaufman.

Not only had I never before written a thriller, but I decided that this time I’d let it fly. I’d write what the story called for. I’d write what was in my heart, regardless of the spoken and unspoken rules of Christian fiction and despite the strong possibility that, because of its language and violence, my book would offend some readers of my mysteries.

I’m not a cool Christian. I’m not a hipster who tries to tweak other Christians’ noses and push the boundaries because, hey, Jesus was a rebel, man. I’m just not. I take using “bad” language and portraying violence seriously.

And I didn’t set out to use bad language in All Souls because I thought that’s what edgy Christian fiction writers do or some such nonsense. I didn’t plan the language of the book at all, except that most of it would be in first person. But I found as I was writing it that bad language was called for in places. Who said it and when it was said—and most of all, who restrained from using it—had a purpose.

(I should add here that although some Christian reviewers have made note of its language, by secular fiction standards, All Souls is hardly wild. If readers of secular fiction are buying the book expecting, on the basis of some Amazon reviews, a profanity-laced story, they will be disappointed.)

Because I plot before I write, I knew the basic outline of the story before sitting down at the computer, but part way through the book, as I let the story develop in its unconstrained way, it changed. It became something I hadn’t fully intended: a story of what it costs one soul to forgive another—a more Christian story than I believe I could have written had I been mindful of the rules.

PURCHASE LINKS:

ALL SOULS

Amazon/Kindle. http://amzn.to/17gL3OQ

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/1d4E6S1\

The Witch Tree

THE WITCH TREE

Amazon/Kindle. http://amzn.to/1fYSdMk

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/16zack9

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15 thoughts on “OCTOBER SPOTLIGHT: Karin Kaufman

  1. Thanks for sharing about your new thriller. I read a lot of thrillers, secular and Christian, so it’s really up my alley. As a Christian writer, I know it’s hard sometimes to write outside the box. There will always be people who think you have gone to the dark side if you don’t have a conversion in every chapter or if you use the word hell, but most people know that the world is a dark place without Christ and to write as though it’s already the new Millennium is not realistic. The Bible doesn’t have stories of redemption without first telling stories of corruption. I wish you all the best, K.T. 🙂

  2. Karin’s written a very different story with her usual very good writing in All Souls. Anymore it’s hard to write a story that’s different, but this one really is. I commend Karin for her choices on how to write this novel. It’s a challenge for a Christian to step into the secular reality and portray it honestly. It requires more than many can give. And Karin’s right in that, compared to secular novels, the profanity is sparse, but for Christian readers who aren’t expecting anything “foul” in their literature, they’ll get jolted if they decide to read this well done story. I applaud Karin for doing it the way she felt it needed to be done.

    • All of my stories have had bad guys using some mild profanity. I wrote the scenes without it and didn’t believe it myself. Rewrote the scene with a very mild foul word, and voila…it sounded real.

      • Nike, it makes a big difference, doesn’t it? You just can portray thieves and murderers as sweet-tongued people.

      • Karin, The one thing I HATE to read is something like: a plethora of colorful language peppered the air. That screams “Christian fiction” and is so over used it’s cliche. Also that type of description of profanity reads almost gothic or Edwardian to me. It pulls me right out of a contemporary police procedural or thriller. I subscribe to and read law enforcement blogs written to be read by other cops…not delicate author types. They regularly use extremely coarse language as a typical manner of speaking. I’m talking your small town sheriff’s deputy and your big city cop.

    • Nicole, I like that: “step into the secular reality.” Not all Christians want to do that, nor should they. But if we want to reach non-Christians, we have to be somewhat stealthy about it. 🙂 I didn’t even mention God in All Souls. I’m saving that for later.

  3. Really interesting take on your process and reasons for writing it the way you did, Karen. Thanks for sharing so candidly. Makes me wonder what would come out of more of us if we let go of some of those rules and expectations and wrote straight from our hearts. Blessings on the new release!

  4. Thanks, Barbara. There were readers who were somewhat disappointed in my mysteries (which each contain maybe one or two very mild bad words) because the main character has a temper and isn’t as kind as she should be to the non-Christian antagonists she encounters, so I tremble to think of what they’d say about All Souls. 🙂 It *is* hard to write outside the box — and I think we have to ask ourselves why we want to do so (what are our motives?) — but it can be a good thing. When we continually color only inside the lines, we’re not only depriving ourselves as writers, but we’re depriving the readers. I think readers of Christian fiction are more open to outside-the-box stories than we think.

  5. I am genuinely intrigued by the sound of Karin’s new book. I am not put off by ‘controversial’ elements in a book if they add to the story and make sense within the context. This is one that i hope to read soon.

    I also think the spotlight idea is a great one.

    • Thanks, Tracy. I think the controversial elements do make sense within the context, though it’s not an explicitly Christian context, and that may throw some readers. I want to bring God/Christianity into the series slowly through one of the main characters.

  6. Love this! Great to see what’s been going on. Thanks.

  7. Thanks for sharing your struggle of sorts, Karin. I commend you on writing the world as it is and I agree with Nike regarding the euphemisms used for foul language. Drives me nuts. It’s tough writing believable characters when you feel the constraints of your faith. But I feel it’s the faith of the characters that suffer when the writer bows to convention.

    Pray about it and keep listening to your heart. I’m on my way to Amazon right now.

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