Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wind Follower sex controversy

Of course I knew it would come. It had to come. Wind Follower was rejected by several Christian publishers because of
A) six small but important sex scenes
B) its anti-imperialism anti-Manifest Destiny stance and
C) its interracial/intercultural relationship.

I'm sure some of them also rejected it for other reasons also:
1) They know their consumer base just aren't concerned about the lives and loves of dark-skinned folks.
2) Wind Follower was a bit too complicated for the typical Christian reader. (Unfortunately, readers of Christian fiction aren't exactly challenged to think outside of the easy-reader romance box.)
3) They themselves are squeamish about seeing anything noble in so-called pagan spirituality, especially the spirituality of dark-skinned folks (Christian publishers don't mind elves, dwarves, etc because well C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein used them. And of course Euro-folklore and Euro-paganism is acceptable.)

I got the following email from a Christian reviewer over at Quills of faith



Hi Carole,

After reading a couple of reviews on your book, I'm afraid that I am going to have to decline your offer to review Wind Follower. The fact that one of the reviews clearly states that there is explicit sexual content in the book disturbs me. This is not something that I personally would care to have in my home, or read about, (I also have a teen-age son, and would not want him picking it up and reading something like that), so I would have a hard time meshing the premise of a Christian story with explicit sex intertwined.

Please understand that I am not judging you; I just wouldn't feel comfortable reading your book after having seen that review. (the review I am referring to can be found here: http://otter.covblogs.com/archives/022531.html )

I hope you understand.

Tori


The funny thing is that her teenage son would probably have been profoundly touched by the book. The son of a friend of mine, grand-son of an Arab woman who is a Buddhist-muslim-New ager, said when he began reading Wind Follower the book made him reassess his life. I have a twenty-year old son and I would have no problem with him reading Wind Follower.
Anyway, I replied. And honestly, I couldn't help but be facetious.

Thank you so much, Tori. I understand.

Yes, I've seen that review. It's a great one.

I wonder, though, do you recommend that your son read the Bible? Explicit sex in that too.
-C


Yes, yes, I told you I was facetious.

Now, I noticed there weren't any reviews for books by black authors on her site. So yeah, there is a Christian priggishness about sexuality. But honestly, many Christian romance readers do have a certain idolatry for pale skin and auburn tresses....and they find it hard put to deal with the fact that dark-skinned folks can have noble romances. And honestly, if it's really about sexuality...well, I'm not going to get into a big to-do about it. Intelligent and wise Christians have argued for decades (with deeper and better reasoning than I have) about Christian fiction priggishness and they have never managed to change the mind's of certain people. So I won't even go there. I can't think of any typical christian romance that has ever affected a nihilistic teenager in much the way that Wind Follower affected my friend's grandson, though.

See, this is why I stay clear of conservative Christians sometimes. So many kneejerk reactions. -C
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