Tag Archives: Something Old

Author, Dianne Christner (Christian Fiction: Is It Effective?)

Dianne Christner, Christian Fiction Author of the Plain City Bridesmaids contemporary series and several historical novels.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.”

I’m at that glorious age where I use a magnifying mirror to put on my make up even though I’ve memorized every freckle on my face. At sixty, I finally know myself. Aging is liberating, and I highly recommend it. According to Emerson, the writer is crucial to the writing voice. Flip flop it, voice is an expression of self.

Voice makes Christian fiction and any type of fiction as diverse as its authors.

It only follows, since I don’t go knocking on my neighbors’ doors to evangelize—the very thought of it makes me shiver and turns my insides pea green—that evangelism isn’t the emphasis of my writing voice either. I express Christianity through my individual voice (my core – which is my body, soul, and spirit). Since as an introvert, the idea of evangelism churns pea soup, it isn’t the focus of my writing or even of my worldview.

Should the creature argue with the creator? Instead, I celebrate divine uniqueness. This makes writing voice special and memorable.

My voice is one of many. A mere dot in the universe, especially so in the publishing world. But small dots can make a big impression. Take the pink polka dot which reminds us of baby girls and birthday parties. As a Christian, I’m a reflective dot shedding the light of Jesus into the surrounding darkness. Surely we can agree there’s too much darkness in the world? That the most important thing for all dots is to light up the world?

My world is small, compared to some. I’m a homebody. Certainly not a foot—though I do go on book tours and vacations. I’m more of an arm that reaches close and hugs tight. I’m a hand-holder and a mentor. Amazingly, others gravitate to open arms, and since the path goes both ways, it all works out in the end. Through writing, my circle of influence is widening. Whether family, friend, or reader, I welcome and share of myself. I mentor and entertain. That’s all.

Well not all, it’s a burning desire—the writing. It’s a calling. Writing is an overflow and expression of my core. A living thing within me that I’m sure is part of my spiritual DNA. For me, it’s saying yes to God. It’s saying yes to my core and my calling. Whatever ministry happens, God does. My part is walking in sync with Him.

I was raised in the Mennonite faith, and although I don’t adhere to their beliefs, I use Mennonite characters in my novels because their beliefs formed the foundation of my worldview and became my springboard to faith. I write about life’s contrasts–futility and hope. When I reach a dramatic climax, I insert comic relief. I move my characters towards victory because I’m a mentor. Towards love because I’m a romantic. I celebrate happy endings because I have the hope of Christ living in me.

I write Christian fiction and call my writing voice: Dramatic Romantic Comedy.

Setting talent aside as Emerson did, if you hate my writing, you probably wouldn’t choose me for a friend either. In other words, the many genres of fiction have resulted from a diverse populace of authors and the distinctive tastes of readers.

I believe Christian fiction is a vital genre because it’s an expression of a group of people with a burning desire to write from their core.

What draws you to a novel?

Note From Nikki: Yesterday we featured atheist, David Rosman. Because I was unable to locate two more unbelievers to submit a post to balance out this series, I have instead posted upon the recomendation of C.S. Lakin a reprinted piece of literary criticism on Christian fiction to post tomorrow. To read more about this series, click here.

Book Review: Something New

In Book One of Plain City Bridesmaids we fall in love with Katy and Jake in Something Old. In Book Two, Something New, Katy and Jake are on their honeymoon while Lillian has moved back home to the farm.

Lillian hates farm life. If all works well, Katy and Jake will move out of the Doddy House and Lillian and Meg will move in like they have talked about since they were all children, but things have become more difficult for Lillian. Her mother has fallen into a deep depression, and her father and brothers have antiquated ideas about a woman’s place. As the stress builds in the Landis household, Lillian meets Fletch.

Fletch is a new veternarian with a soft nature. His parents are brilliant missionaries and Fletch has hardly seen them these last few years. Fletch encounters trouble of a different sort in Plain City. One of his parent’s most loyal donors helped Fletch get an intern position with a good friend. The loyal donor, Marshall pressures Fletch to take videos of sick animals on the Amish farms in order to get footage to help bring revenue to the struggling, rescue animal shelter.

Fletch doesn’t want to hurt the trust a veternarian works hard to hold onto, but he feels pressured because Marshall has donated so much money towards his parent’s missionary efforts. So what if he did take some videos of some sick pigs? The farm wasn’t going to be named in the video, but it so happened that the farm in question belonged to the Landis family.

Dianne Christner takes Amish fiction to a new level by introducing more complex layers to a typical Amish romance. In the first novel, Something Old, Christner explores a very judgemental Katy. In Something New, there’s a lot of gray and Fletch is easily pursuaded to bend his ethics a little in order to not offend anyone. Lillian has dreams, but in a place where men make the decisions and women get married and have children, she fights family tradition in order to be with the man she loves and hold on to the dream of being a chef.

Something New is another wonderful work of fiction that explores everyday struggles in a strict society without the naive innocence so common in Amish romance.

*book was given by publisher to review.

Book Review: Something Old

Katy Yoder lives a simple, sheltered lifestyle ensconced in the traditions of the Conservative Mennonite church and holds a naive black-and-white worldview.” – Back Cover

At first, the prologue held my attention with some difficulty. Then, the story grabbed hold of me and I finished the book in about two days. The characters fascinated me, especially Katy Yoder.

I could relate to Katy. She holds very tightly to tradition and to her prayer kapp. Her worldview is indeed black-and-white with very little grace. In typical story formula, the woman is always right in women’s fiction and the men are wrong. In Amish fiction, I normally see the men and women portrayed very chaste-like. However, Dianne Christner spins the story that seems a cross between women’s romance and Christian romance. I might even tip-toe over to edgy (though I really hate that word). It’s edgy in a good way.

Katy notices Jake’s tight jeans and how the tool belt hangs over his waist. There’s a physical tension between Katy and Jake complicated only by her own predjudices against him for mistreating her years before. Her father disapproves of Jake. He thinks Jake is wild still and wants Katy to date David as a condition to her moving out on her own with her two best friends. The book becomes quite complicated. The reader can relate to the characters; at least, I can.

Right away, Katy’s black-and-white way of seeing things, her quickness to judge and her lack of grace eventually come out in the book making for an interesting plot as quickly Jake becomes the good guy and Katy the self-righteous and overly pious wrong one. Christner manages to keep the reader totally connected to the characters in spite of the role switching. In the end, I see how the prologue was very necessary. It’s not just a romance story, but a story about friendship, family and traditions. It digs into the controversial issue of the prayer kapp.

All in all, I give it five stars! A friend is borrowing the book, but I am keeping it in my permanent library.

Book was given by the publisher to review.