Today we continue to answer the question: What is Catholic fiction?
Tim Speer lives in Midland, Texas, with his beautiful wife. They have two grown children. His hobbies include hiking, photography, mineral collecting, and astronomy – essentially enjoying all of God’s creation from crystals that come from deep inside the earth, to celestial objects in the deepest regions of outer space.
Tim Speer’s highly rated first book, Return To Paradise, was published in April 2015.
Do you have a favorite Catholic fiction author?
Unfortunately, prior to writing my first book, I was unaware of the diverse amount Catholic fiction that was out there. As a result, my reading had been sadly lacking in this genre. I now have read several works of Catholic fiction and am continuing to read more. And although I have enjoyed all of them so far, I have not progressed to the point of having a favorite author.
What qualifies an author’s fiction as Catholic fiction? How do you identify a novel as Catholic fiction?
Catholic fiction should in one form or another present and promote Catholic beliefs and values. If a novel presents Catholic beliefs, either through the direct actions of the characters, or through the events that take place, then it could be identified as Catholic fiction.
Do you think a book that doesn’t mention religion or Catholicism can be Catholic fiction?
Possibly, but I think it would be hard to do. It would have to convey Catholic belief systems in some manner. It’s possible this could be done through the actions of the characters or the events that take place, but again, I think it would be difficult to do without mentioning religion or Catholicism in some way.
What do you think separates secular fiction from Catholic fiction?
Secular fiction does not have any need to contain Catholic or religious elements. It could contain a certain amount of religious material; however, as soon as it promotes religious ideas it becomes religious fiction. And if it promotes Catholic ideas and beliefs, then it becomes Catholic fiction.
Do you identify your own novels as Catholic? What makes them so?
Yes. Both of my books contain characters that are Catholic. But beyond that, they introduce and present several Catholic beliefs such as: the real presence in the Eucharist, Adoration, the intercession of Mary, Confession, the Crucifix vs. the empty cross and other aspects of the Catholic faith.
Are your books explicitly Catholic, or are they secular stories with Catholic themes?
My first book, Return To Paradise, could have been written as a purely secular story. However, as written, it contains numerous Catholic themes. My second book, Seventy Times Seven, is definitely a Christian-based and themed story. It would not necessarily have to have been Catholic-based, as it is, but I think it would take away from it significantly if the Catholic content had not been included.
What are some Catholic themes?
General Christian themes include following God’s will, prayer and answer to prayer, forgiveness and redemption. As mentioned above, specific Catholic themes include the Eucharist, Adoration, the intercession of Mary, Confession, and the crucified Christ.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear from author Jane Lebak.