I have no doubt that fiction can change lives and get us thinking about the world in ways we've never thought before. I had never put myself into the shoes of all those Bethlehem mothers who lost their babies under the rule of King Herod until I read the Zion Covenant series by Brock and Bodie Theone. I never understood how powerful stories of Christians who stand up under the face of persecution could be until I read the Mark of the Lion books by Francine Rivers.
There's a reason why the pen is so often compared to a sword.
On the other hand, many Christian books today get a bad rap for being "preachy" or "heavy-handed." Do I need my characters to preach me a sermon every time I read a new chapter? No, definitely not.
When I set out to write a novel about a pregnancy center volunteer, I didn't want the book's message to be ABORTION IS WRONG. Many of my readers already believe that. Those who disagree don't want to be psychologically manipulated in a futile attempt to change their minds.
I wrote Unplanned so Christians would realize the abortion issue is harder, stickier, grittier, and uglier than most of us would like to admit. The goal isn't to change people's minds. The goal is to get the church thinking about horrible scenarios that do infest our society today, issues of pregnancy when the mother is far too young to safely carry a baby to term, issues when a pregnancy could end the mother's life, issues of abuse that are so much easier to ignore than confront.
I am pro-life, but I did not write a "pro-life novel." I wrote a novel about real people in real situations who face real crises of faith when the abortion argument stops being about us vs. them and turns into something that hits much closer to home.
You can see what I mean by picking up your own copy of Unplanned today. All royalties this week are donated to the Anchorage Community Pregnancy Center.