Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University. She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist
So, I typically don’t write a lot of romance into my stories. Mainly just because my romantic bone is buried deep down under layers of eye-rolling and sarcasm. 😉 But it is there. As far as what I do write, it typically doesn’t go much more than kissing or physical affection like embraces or hand holding, maybe occasional cuddling. I just hate reading all the “feeling” parts of romance books, so I don’t put it in. More sword fights and snark, please.
2. If you write scenes with violence, what do you rely on as a guide/gauge?
I read a book one time that went into gory detail about guts and blood spraying and the feel of a weapon smashing some poor guy’s head, and that was super gross. So I definitely shy away from that extreme. My guide is what you would see in a PG or PG-13 movie, a little blood (maybe) and mentions of wounds. But I don’t typically go full out with gory descriptions. I could handle it, but I know a lot of people don’t like it. With battle scenes, I prefer to focus on movements, actions/reactions, feelings, etc. Not all the gore, because I’ve never experienced it, and hope I never will, and I know other people don’t want that either.
3. If you write magic into your work, could you please explain why you choose to do so?
I’m usually pretty light on the magic. But I like writing it in because to me, that’s a big part of what makes fantasy so special. It makes villains powerful, it makes heroes discover something about themselves, it makes your world explode in ways you could never have imagined. I try not to make plots dependent on heavily built magic systems, but I do enjoy letting it seep into the world. It gives some awesome plot twists (and sometimes convenient plot devices, I know), and it’s just fun to play around with. I definitely don’t consider it evil or anything, because…it’s not real.
4. In your opinion is Christian Fantasy becoming too worldly?
I wouldn’t say that. In fact, I’d like to see it become a little more “wordly”. A lot of what I consider “Christian Fiction” is really squeaky clean and the good guys are good and have an amazing faith, and the bad guys are really bad, and there’s no in between. I’d love to see more shades of grey, I’d love to see characters struggle in the mess of the world, make me believe that they might actually lose faith when bad things happen. And I’m honestly getting tired of allegorical fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read some and loved it, and then others where it just doesn’t work for me. Give me fiction about a real world, with darkness and despair, but also light and hope. Give me fiction that anyone could read, but let your faith sparkle through in the dark places. Just don’t beat me over the head with it.
5. In your own words how would you define ‘clean’ fiction?
Clean fiction to me, would be like watching a PG movie. Light romance (like nothing more than kissing or something), minimal violence, and maybe references to cursing, for sure nothing sexual. It’s something I would give to a kid with no
6. Do you believe Christian Fantasy should be written to appeal to general or selective readership? Could you explain why?
I guess I kind of touched on this in #4, but I’d say yes and no. I know people that write amazing, obviously Christian stories, and I know that general market wouldn’t really go for that. And conversely, I know that people write from a Christian worldview and do really well in the general market. I personally lean more towards reading general market. I’ll read a straight Christian author if I’ve read something of theirs and liked it, or a book that comes recommended by people I know.
As far as writing, I fall into the second category. I’d prefer to write from a Christian worldview and make my books more accessible to the general market. And that’s something that kind of makes me laugh about some reviews I’ve gotten where they feel they can’t call my books “Christian” because I don’t blatantly mention God on every page, I guess. I’ve tried to write a more heavily faith based book, and it was terrible in my opinion, and now it’s getting revised into something more along the lines of my other books. So, writing for a selective market doesn’t work as well for me, I guess.
But to finally come back around to the question, I would love for Christian fiction to be made more available to a general readership, just because we have the tools to reach people who might be struggling with something “in the world”, and if we put it into a format that they wouldn’t normally reach for, then maybe we’re just doing them a disservice.
Thank you so much to Claire Banschbach. I hope you enjoyed hearing her thoughts. Join us next week as Serena Chase answers the same questions.
*Originally posted at www.sarahaddisonfox.com