Christian fiction is popular with a variety of readers in the United States. According to Library Journal, “a faith-based perspective remains at the core of evangelical fiction, but today’s fans are reading these books not just because of the Christian focus. They also love this genre because it quenches their inner thirst for knowledge, spiritual guidance, and, yes, entertainment.”
Three well-known authors of inspirational fiction will present a panel discussion at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at the West Virginia Book Festival.
The three panelists are:
Tamera Alexander, a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers and multiple industry awards, among them, the Christy Award, the RITA Award, the Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and the acclaimed Library Journal’s Top Pick for Christian Fiction.
Alexander’s first seven novels are set against the rugged backdrop of the Colorado Territory (1860-70s), but she recently began writing about her own Southern heritage by setting two new series in Nashville, her hometown.
“A Lasting Impression,” the first of three Belmont Mansion novels, showcases the larger-than-life history of Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America at the time, and the Belmont Mansion in the years following the Civil War. Alexander’s ninth novel, “To Whisper Her Name,” the first of three Belle Meade Plantation novels, will be released in fall 2012, and tells the story behind the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in our nation’s history.
These two Southern series will intertwine, detailing the “real life” history of two of Nashville’s most famous homes and their intriguing families. “A Lasting Impression” was recently named a 2012 Christy Award finalist (an award honoring excellence in Christian Fiction) for Best Historical Romance.
Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time. Her unique voice and ability to portray compelling relationships have garnered her wide acclaim, including seven Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction. Her novel “Hidden Places” has been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Research for her historical novels has provided Lynne with many interesting experiences, such as volunteering on an archaeological dig in Israel and exploring the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. She and her husband have three adult children and make their home near Chicago.
Julie Klassen, who worked in publishing for 16 years, first in advertising, then as a fiction editor, and now writes full time. Two of her books, “The Girl in the Gatehouse” and “The Silent Governess” won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. “The Girl in the Gatehouse” also won a Midwest Book Award and “The Silent Governess” was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards.
Klassen graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minn.
Charlaine Harris, best-selling urban fantasy novelist; Craig Johnson, author of the “Longmire” series of mystery novels; and Tamora Pierce, author of 28 fantasy novels for teens, have already been announced as part of the line-up for the festival, which will be held Oct. 13 and 14 at the Charleston Civic Center. The annual, two-day event celebrates books and reading and offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and lectures. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free.
The event is presented by The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., Kanawha County Public Library, West Virginia Humanities Council, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail and is sponsored by The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation; Pamela D. Tarr and Gary Hart; the Friends of The Library Foundation of Kanawha County; West Virginia Library Commission and West Virginia Center for the Book; Books-A-Million; and William Maxwell Davis. For more information, visit www.wvbookfestival.org.