If you’re like me, you know what dystopian fiction is (sort-of) and you know what Christian fiction is. But what exactly is Dystopian Christian fiction?
Award-winning author Vannetta Chapman’s new book Deep Shadows falls into just such a category, and she’s here today to help us define the genre a bit more clearly. Before I turn it over to her, let’s take a look at Deep Shadows.
All It Takes Is One Night
to Plunge the World into Darkness
Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe–until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.
Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn’t changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.
Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority–to keep Shelby and her son safe–could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.
As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby’s faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.
In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.
SERIES: The Remnant Series #1
GENRE: Dystopian Christian Fiction
PUBLISHER: Harvest House
RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2016
Deep Shadows is the first book in my upcoming Remnant Series. It’s a significant change from the Amish books I’ve previously published. Today I wanted to talk to you about Deep Shadows, dystopian fiction, and the appeal of this genre.
If you’re alive and reading on planet Earth, you recognize the crazy popularity of dystopian fiction and our preoccupation – even as people of faith – with end of the world scenarios.
I have been a fan for many years. When I read a dystopian book, I ask myself
- Would I be smart enough to think like the hero?
- Would I have the courage and strength to survive?
- Would my faith endure?
And faith is an important component of this genre, which caused me to wonder- where is God in dystopian fiction? How do we talk about God when the world is falling down around our ears? How do we NOT talk about Him in this scenario?
These are questions we ask ourselves as we read dystopian fiction. Unlike apocalyptic tales, which bring images of Revelation, four horsemen, messengers of God and last days, dystopian books represent a transition from a near-perfect work to a vastly imperfect one.
My passion for this genre is a result of my life experience.
- I was born in the 2nd largest city in the U.S. (Los Angeles, CA)
- I spent 35 years in the 8th largest city (Dallas, Texas)
- I now live in a town of 6,000 (central Texas)
I’ve taught high school and college classes for 15 years, and during that time I’ve taught teenaged boys who could take apart and re-assemble a computer in a matter of hours. And I’ve taught teenaged girls who can shoot and field dress a deer.
Those teens, their parents, you and I sense that we’ve reached an over dependence on technology, a tipping of the scales, and we wonder what will happen if things dramatically shift the other way.
At its heart, that’s what a dystopian series is – a balance of the scales in the other direction, a what if scenario. It is always first and foremost a story about relationships and how they survive or crumble when what we’ve feared, as a society, occurs. And lastly, for me, it’s always a story of faith and hope.
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com.
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Vannetta’s questions really gave me something to think about. I’m not sure just how brave I would be and I pray that my faith would be strong enough to help me prevail! I heartily believe that our society has become too reliant on technology. Young people must learn and people of my generation need to remember the lifestyle of our ancestors!!
thanks, Connie! 🙂
Hi Connie. I think God would fill us with courage, just as he did a young shepherd named David. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Oh the questions you ask are great! I need to remember them. I have always wondered how I would do in such a life. To answer the questions:
1. I hope I would be smart enough to think how I need to in the moment. I would only ask of myself that ability.
2. I think we are all stronger than we think. And in the moments that call upon the strength we are able to act with such. And as a mom I believe I have super strength and courage to show my child how to live a Christian life.
3. God is everywhere. We just don’t always see. Sometimes I think we forget how to look. I would hope in a dystopian future I would be able to continue to see him.
fantastic answers, Bree! “We are all stronger than we think” – yes.
Hi Bree. Thanks for your comment. I agree with all of your points and especially #3, which was really the reason I wrote Deep Shadows. God doesn’t disappear because the world changes. And aren’t we glad? 🙂
“Would I be smart enough to think like the hero?” Maybe not, but I believe God would give me the wisdom that I need at the time when I need it. “Would I have the courage & strength to survive?” I hope so, but again, I really believe that God will give me the courage & strength when I need it. “Would my faith endure?” All my hope & trust is in God that He can keep me & lead me, regardless of what situation I am in. One of my favorite verses that give me that hope: “I have been young & now am old, & I HAVE NEVER seen the righteous FORSAKEN or his descendants begging bread.”
Yes! I love that verse too!!
I love that verse, Becky. Thank you for sharing!
This sounds amazing and definitely hits a reading audience ripe for the picking!!! Way to go, Vanetta!!!
Right? I can’t wait to read it!
Tough questions too! Even though I’ve been raised in rural America, I’ve still come to rely so much on technology. I certainly hope my faith would be strong enough, but the rest of me? With God’s help and for my family’s sake, I’d certainly fight really hard to be 🙂
well… if you survived a trampoline park, I’d say you’re well on your way 😉
Oh, I have never thought about these questions. It’s one thing to read a book in the comfort of your own home and get context clues and whatnot, it’s another thing completely to be smart enough in the middle of a completely foreign situation, so I don’t know if I would be smart enough. As for courage, that is another good question. I live in a tiny town in a very rural area. I’d rather live in a hole than face much, but I do hope my faith would carry me through, but I am sure I would need a lot of grace too.
GRACE. yes. loads of it. me too.
Grace is key, Katie. That is for certain! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Would I be smart enough to think like the hero? Oh, I’m sure I would freak out first. Kinda like when I spotted the tarantula in the chicken coop a few days ago :), but once I gather myself I’m usually able to reason my way out of a problem.
Would I have the courage and strength to survive? Well, I would not go down without a fight!
Would my faith endure? God has proven Himself faithful time and again. I am His and He is mine until I finish this race.
the whole “chicken coop” thing makes me freak out, never mind the tarantula LOL. And oh I love that – “I am His and He is mine until I finish this race.” And then He is yours forever <3
Hi Amanda. Yeah, tarantulas can be scary the first few times you encounter one. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Idk if I’d new smart enough to be the hero but is like to think I would. I think is have the courage and faith to get through it but you never know til you ate in the situation.
Hi Rachel. I think our faith gives us courage. So yeah, I agree with what you said!
Interesting questions! Would my faith endure I asked myself. Of course I would like to think it would but who would really know?
it’s a sobering question, isn’t it?
Hi Laurie. I guess that’s part of the appeal of “dystopian” fiction, is it causes us to consider scenarios where we can’t really know how we’d react … they haven’t happened before! 🙂
How do we not talk about Jesus every day, regardless of the circumstances?
so true! He should be deeply a part of our daily lives <3
Hi JJ. EXACTLY! I have long enjoyed reading dystopian fiction, but I didn’t understand the complete lack of spirituality. It seems to me, that in catastrophic times, we’d fall on our faith and cry out to God much like Job did. And He’s always faithful to hear our cry. That’s part of the theme behind Deep Shadows.
I am a fan of Dystopian, Christian fiction, AND dystopian Christian fiction. 🙂
haha! You are all set then 😉
I would wonder if I will be smart enough an courage with the strength to survive,but with the faith in God I know can endure.
can’t wait to read this book thanks for the interview and giveaway.
He is so faithful, isn’t He? Thanks, Elma!
Yes he is all the time.
*correction in comment earlier. Should have said with the faith in God I know I can endure.
Love the idea of dystopian Christian. Strong questions you put out there. Will my faith endure? Well, we currently live under way more pressure than society did let’s say 50 years ago. I strongly believe in the age old saying of “If/when God can bring you to it, He’ll get you through it”. Can’t enter your giveaway as I live in South Africa, but will be looking out for this one. Thanks for sharing!
Wow! South Africa!! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂
I’ll answer question number three – Would my faith endure? Actually, I don’t really have a good answer for that except to say that I sure hope that it would. It’s easy to sit here in my comfortable air conditioning and my cushy chair and say that I would be a warrior for God if it came to it. I hope and pray that I will.
I am so glad that Vannetta cleared up my confusion about this genre. I am really looking forward to reading her book. Thanks for the giveaway Carrie!
You are so right, Loraine. The key is strengthening it in the comfortable and cushy seasons so it stands firm when everything falls apart
Would I be smart enough? I sure hope so.
Would I have the courage and strength to survive. I believe God would give me both.
Would my faith endure? I think so.
I have learned that I never know the answers to questions like these or some others until I am actually faced with them. There is something about saying or thinking I would never …. or I would always ….. that comes back to haunt me. LOL
I think I would have the courage and strength to survive as best I could. As Christians we know our roots of faith run deep and we would have to dig down deep and trust the Lord during a very difficult time. We need to remember to be salt and light because the world is always watching us. We need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
I am not sure if I would be smart enough, have the strength, or faith to withstand. I would hope so and would prefer not to find out!
Amen to that!!! 🙂
Would I be smart enough to think like a hero? No, probably not. I might come to heroic conclusions if given enough time but carrying them out is another story.
You might surprise yourself 🙂
I’d really like to think my faith would endure! Who else would I turn to 🙂 Relying totally on God wouldn’t be a new concept to me, would I be scared…oh yes! But I know He’d be with me every step of the way. He’s proven His faithfulness over and over and over again in my life! I KNOW I can trust Him 🙂
I’ve also enjoyed Terri Blackstock’s restoration series books. She tackles a similar theme in these ones. I love contemplating the what-ifs in any given situation. I bet I’d love Vannetta’s take on it in her writing as well, thanks for the chance to win “Deep Shadows”!
Yes! Amen, Trixi! He is so faithful
Carrie, I just got an email yesterday saying I won a copy of this on a different blog….yay!! Please go ahead and take my name out of the drawing so someone else can have a chance! Thank you 🙂
Thanks, Trixi! Congrats 🙂
Thanks Carrie, I’m so excited about Vannetta’s new book and can’t wait to read it 🙂 Best of blessings on the draw everyone!
I pray that I would be so grounded in Him that my faith would endure. Faith is the key. He builds our faith by putting a mountain in front of us. I am grateful that He has my back.
Thank you for the chance to win “Deep Shadows”.
yes – so true Caryl!
I doubt I would be smart enough to think like the hero. I am not quick on my feet!
I would have the courage to survive, I hope. Maybe not the strength, though.
Would my faith endure? I pray that it would!
You might surprise yourself with a strength you didn’t know you had!
Thank you for the giveaway. I look forward to reading the book.
Enjoy, JJ! 🙂