–This is a different kind of post for me. Rather than using this spot for more of my writings, I wanted to use it to help promote something I find to be a very worthy cause. What you are about to read is written by Keshia Swaim (my sister.)–
First of all, I want to thank Troy for letting me borrow his blog to talk about something very near to my heart: Books. Young Adult books, specifically. Not exactly a spiritual topic? Unfortunately, many people think that way, and that is why, I believe, they have fallen through the cracks.
I cannot count the number of classes and sermons I’ve heard directed at our youth that warn about the dangers of the television shows, music, and movies that we allow into our hearts and minds. But a young girl who chooses to sit quietly in a corner and read instead of watching this week’s most popular show is making a wise choice, right?
Maybe not. The same coarse language, casual attitudes toward teen sex, open acceptance of homosexuality, and total disrespect for parents that set off the warning bells on television are present in books, often in ways far more likely to work themselves into a teen’s thoughts without being noticed.
So, what should we do, discourage reading? I’d never suggest something so terrible! I have been accused (possibly justly) of being obsessed with the YA fantasy genre. I love reading about fairies, alternate realities, and distant lands that never were. Not your cup of tea? That is fine, but it is one of the most popular genres on the market. That is why it breaks my heart to see such a fun and innocent-seeming pastime ruined by Satan’s influence.
God has blessed me with the opportunity to do something proactive about this problem. As it turns out, He gave me not only a deep love of books, but also the ability to write them. I have spent the last few years writing short stories for young adults, and next month, my first novel, Blood Bound, will be released. Brothers and Sisters, I am very excited about this! Not only because I’ll have my name on the front of a book, (which is pretty cool) but because my book is not being marketed as “Christian fiction”. While I don’t have a problem with that genre, it has a rather narrow audience. My prayer is that, by using a secular publishing house, I can reach teens who wouldn’t pick up a “Christian” book. While they won’t find the “steps of salvation” in Blood Bound, it is my hope that they will notice a difference in my characters. Differences that will show them a better way to live than what is portrayed as normal by our society.
That is what I am doing about this problem, but what can you do? Most importantly, I ask that you pray. Pray for me as I go about this work, and pray for our teens to make the best choices. Secondly, pay attention to what your kids are reading. Just like watching their shows and listening to their music, the only way to know what is being put in their minds is to be actively involved.
And that brings me to the final thing you can do. Support authors who are going against the grain of society. I do not claim that I am the only author writing intentionally clean literature, but we are an unfortunately rare breed. Since I am an obsessive reader, I have made a list of authors I recommend. If you would like a copy of that list, feel free to ask! It is by no means comprehensive, but it is a start. The reason this last bit is important is that publishers think with their wallets. Sadly, I’ve heard more than one author being told that their characters were “too clean” to generate interest in modern teens. While my publisher has taken a chance on me, I’ve dealt with my share of conflict. I’ve had to fight to keep my characters pure in language and in action. The only way I can see to show publishing houses that filth is not a requirement in selling books is to have “clean authors” books purchased, requested at libraries, and put in schools. Who knows? Perhaps, in a few years, publishers will see fit to turn the publishing tide and ask their authors to tone down or remove the unnecessary filth in modern literature. With God, anything is possible!
—Thank you for taking a moment to read this. I hope you will consider supporting her as her book is released. I would also ask that you help in another way, please share this post. I believe the more of our brothers and sisters we have that know about books like this, the better they will do!”–