Today we hear from author Amanda Lauer.
Lauer is the co-author of Celebrate Appleton, A 150th Birthday Photo Album, and contributed to the books Expressions of ITP…Inside Stories, and Living Virtuously — Keeping Your Heart and Home. In addition to her writing career, Lauer has a passion for spreading the message of true health — physical, mental and financial.
Do you have a favorite Catholic fiction author?
That’s going to be a tough one because I have a lot of Catholic friends who are authors! But I will go with Ellen Gable (Hrkach), who is not only a very talented writer and copy editor, but is also my publisher. She and her husband James Hrkach own Full Quiver Publishing.
What qualifies an author’s fiction as Catholic fiction? How do you identify a novel as Catholic Fiction?
To me, any fiction novel written by a Catholic author could be considered Catholic fiction or a novel written by a non-Catholic could be Catholic fiction if there is some thread of Catholicism in the book, they’ve done their research on the Church and the faith, and Catholicism is painted in a positive light.
Catholic fiction novels can be identified if they are published by a Catholic publishing house, if they have received the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writers Guild or another Catholic entity, or if they’ve won recognition such as the CALA award (Catholic Arts and Letters Award).
Do you think a book that doesn’t mention religion or Catholicism can be Catholic fiction?
Absolutely! Catholicism can be woven into a book without the word Catholic being used at all. Look at The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.
What do you think separates secular fiction from Catholic fiction?
For me, there are guidelines I follow writing Catholic fiction and lines in the sand that I will not cross. My books are historic romance novels but are not “bodice rippers.” While the trilogy I’m finishing is set during The Civil War, I don’t go into graphic detail about the horrors of war. My goal is to write novels that reflect my Catholic faith, are in line with Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body teachings, can entertain and inform my readers, and that I would feel comfortable having my children and grandchildren read.
Do you identify your own novels as Catholic? What makes them so?
My novels are Catholic because that’s my perspective on life so it comes out in everything I write. The main characters in my books are Catholic but aren’t holier-than-thou. Like every Catholic, in any era, they struggle to stay true to their faith and to become the best version of themselves.
Are your books explicitly Catholic, or are they secular stories with Catholic themes?
My books aren’t explicitly Catholic — they are heart-warming stories of people who happen to be Catholic who are caught up in events going on around them in the course of history. While countless books have been written about these particular eras, like the Civil War, not many have been written from the Catholic perspective. Hopefully people learn more about the roots of the Catholic faith from reading my works. Perhaps this will inspire non-Catholics to study the Catholic faith to really learn what it’s all about after — it may change their perspective of Catholics and the Church.
What are some Catholic themes?
One particular Catholic theme that is near and dear to my heart is respect for life. But in general the books show how Catholicism is woven into everyday life for my characters — they go to church, go to confession, receive Communion, pray, have a devotion to the Blessed Mother. They acknowledge they are sinners but are looking to better themselves with the hope of getting themselves and the people they care about to heaven someday.
Tomorrow we hear from author Dominic de Souza.