There are Christian fiction writers and then there are Christians who write fiction. There is Christian fiction, then there is what some consider to be church fiction or church drama. You have some authors who didn’t necessarily set out to write Christian fiction, but they were placed in that category by either their publisher, or the book stores simply shelved them that way. And of course you have the writers whose work is categorized as Christian fiction but they do not write for a Christian fiction imprint, which means they are not necessarily writing with any type of guidelines. I can’t speak for any other Christian fiction author or author who either chose or by default was placed in the Christian fiction genre, but I am a Christian fiction writer who writes for a Christian fiction imprint. That is my choice on purpose.
I’ll be the first to admit that, yes, I have a ghostwriter; the Holy Ghost! I take dictation from the Holy Spirit when I write my stories. My Holy Spirit does not cuss nor does He describe explicit sex scenes for me to deliver to God’s people. I write Christian fiction, not inspirational fiction, not faith based fiction or anything else. Christ is in what I do; “CHRISTian” fiction. I’m not solely concerned with keepin’ it real as much as I am keepin’ it holy. The Bible is as real as it gets, and if the Holy Spirit didn’t instruct the authors of the Bible to cuss people out and describe explicit sex scenes, then I’m okay with Him not choosing me to do it either. I believe that in my writing I have managed to both “keep it real” (as the world would say) while keepin’ it holy (for the kingdom). My ultimate goal is, yes, to please the readers, but I must first please God. I believe with everything in my heart that God will get my book into the hands of those He intended to receive it…With my hard work and obedience of course. I urge every author to be obedient to what their own assignment is and the instructions as to how they are to complete it.
Do books with cussing, sex or even things that some Christians might find offensive to the Word of God minister to people’s heart, spirit and soul? Absolutely. To this day the book I get the most feedback on from readers as to how it changed and/or saved their lives is from my secular book titled If I Ruled the World. So with that being said, who am I to say who and what God will and won’t use to deliver His children a message?
Sometimes other authors get offensive when I say I don’t use cussing and sex in my books. They begin justifying why they do. It shouldn’t provoke a person to go into defense mode just because I’m following specific instructions. Some even get mad at me. All I do is shake my head and say to myself, “Don’t get mad at me, get mad at the Holy Spirit, because it sure ain’t me who is making you feel convicted or some sort of way. I don’t have that kind of power.” Real writers, on the other hand, are totally unaffected. Real writers write what they want no matter what anyone says or what other writers are writing.
My writing style and who I am as an author is personal for me. Never do I try to push my style of writing on anyone else. I ultimately turned my pen away from writing street lit, erotica and women’s lit filled with sexual tension and expletives in order to serve God with my talent. God has always been there keeping, watching over and protecting me, but it wasn’t until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior did I acknowledge and understand just how much God loves me. Now I live to glorify Him in everything I do, including my writing. So I’m not only proud to be a Christian, but proud to be a Christian who writes Christian fiction.
In writing in the Christian fiction genre, I try very hard to keep my mind clear; to make sure I’m in tune with the Holy Spirit when I’m writing. But I’m going to tell the truth and shame the devil; I’m human, so just like in everyday life, when it comes to my writing, I do sometimes allow my flesh to rise up and do its own thing. I have written things that I thought the reader might want to read without consulting the true author. Do I get convicted for it? Yes, via readers’ emails and reviews…And some of them, unlike God, have no mercy. So I try my best to stick to ghostwriting…Holy Ghost writing that is.
When I dedicated my life to Christ, a great deal of things changed for me and in me. I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. I couldn’t say some of the things I used to say, and I couldn’t go some of the places I used to go. Well, I soon found that I couldn’t write some of the things I used to write. That’s what prompted the change in the genres I chose to write in. Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY the authors are retired for good. Are the Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY books still available? Yes, they are. They can still be found and ordered in bookstores and are in pretty much every online book store. My die-hard fans can even still find Joylynn and JOY at www.joylynnjossel.com. That’s part of my testimony, my history and foundation as an author. But for readers who want to know what flows through my spirit today can find me at www.enjoywrites.com.
Let me close by saying that once upon a time my goal was to write what readers wanted to read and become a famous author through my writings. But now I know that my purpose is to make God famous through my writings, not myself.