Dear Friends and Family,  

I hope you're having a great summer. Here's an update on my progress as a novelist!
w w w . j u d y a l e x a n d e r . c o m
July 31, 2007

An Author, Finally!

Judy AlexanderIf you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, you're either crazy or an author. Fortunately, a publishing contract makes almost 20 years of early-morning writing sessions sound almost sane! View a video interview (thanks to interviewer, Sandy D. Brown; assistant, Kelly Harmon; and videographer Donovan Helminiak of ArtHouze) about my writing journey and the result: the novel Desert Medicine.


To learn more, go to

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Kregel Publications

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In This Issue
Desert Medicine Release in November
About Judy
Christian Fiction Booming

Novel to be Released November 2007 


In the novel Desert Medicine, a newly divorce young mother of twins who runs a plant nursery discovers the true meaning of family and grows spiritually while helping an eccentric older woman from her church. This colorful woman relates her own feisty search for family, beginning as an abused girl in 1930s Panhandle Texas, sent to live in border town Calexico, California, with a maiden aunt who runs a home hospital.

Read chapter 1 of Desert Medicine. To request a full electronic galley to review for your blog, newletter, or print publication, send an email to
"Desert Medicine is a lovely and touching novel, rich with authentic characters whose stories will warm your heart.  Laurelle's uneasy spiritual journey is both real and tender, one I enjoyed sharing. A wonderful debut."
-Earlene Fowler, National bestselling author of The Saddlemaker's Wife and Tumbling Blocks
"Judy Alexander has written a beautifully woven story of an unexpected friendship that provides enough grace and enough hope to heal a wounded heart. A lovely novel."
-Lynne Hinton, The Arms of God
"In our skeptical, sophisticated times, it is refreshing to meet a writer who cares deeply about God and other people and who isn't afraid to show it. In this big-hearted first novel, Judy Alexander draws her characters with such loving precision that I found myself thinking of them as friends. Desert Medicine is a great read."
-Paula Huston, By Way of Grace
About Judy
Judy Alexander works as a freelance writer and photographer in Orange County, California. She holds an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Management at the University of California in Irvine. The mother of two sons, she lives with her husband in Santa Ana, CA. She manages five websites:
Christian Fiction in a Bigger League

Not so long ago, "Christian fiction" seemed to be code for low-caliber writing with cardboard characters, formulaic plots, and a heavy-handed salvation-through-accepting-Jesus message. Although this stereotyping may have always been unfair (what about C.S. Lewis?), it is even less valid today, as Christian fiction undergoes a transformation that is taking it out of the "Christian ghetto" and into the hands of mainstream readers.

This change is due to a larger selection of high-quality writing with realistic themes as well as greater distribution within the mainstream market.

Higher Quality Writing

Kregel Staff

Kregel Publications' Dennis Hillman, Amy Stephansen, and Steve Barclift

Steve Barclift, editor at Kregel Publications, says, "It's true that in the past, much of Christian fiction was formulaic and lacked realism." Now, themes include edgier issues, such as infidelity or AIDS.

"We have a larger pool of talented writers," adds Dennis Hillman, Kregel publisher. "They take writing quality very seriously." As an example, he cites Liz Curtis Higgs, a great storyteller and speaker, who wrote Bad Girls of the Bible.

"Christian fiction is doing well," says Amy Stephansen, Kregel's head of marketing, who notes that sappy romances are no longer the norm.

Hillman lists some of the most popular contemporary Christian fiction writers: Karen Kingsbury, Lori Copeland, and Janette Oke. They are following the trail blazed in the 1960s by Grace Livingston Hill and Catherine Marshall.

He notes that the Christy Awards, begun eight years ago, encourage continued advances in the quality of Christian fiction by recognizing excellence in writing.

Distribution Beyond Christian Bookstores

With the success of Jan Karon's Mitford books and the Left Behind series, mainstream booksellers see potential profits in "religious fiction." Now, Barnes & Noble has a section in each store devoted solely to this category.

Despite the fact that the primary sales channel for Christian fiction, the independent Christian bookstore, has lost market share to mass markets and chain stores, publishers of Christian fiction have experienced sales growth.

"Amazon changed the playing field," says Hillman. "Now Christian publishers can deliver their books to anyone's home. This has broadened our readership base."

Future Challenges

The challenge for Christian writing will be to reach a younger audience, according to Barclift. "The writing will need to be grittier and deal with real-life struggles." One writer doing this, using the essay form, is Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz.

"Fiction needs credibility and characters you care about," says Barclift. He points to new author Judy Alexander, whose novel Desert Medicine will be published in November 2007. He adds: "Her writing deals with real-life mistakes and struggles."

To find out more about the state of Christian fiction, read a recent article in ForeWord Magazine.

(copyright 2007 Judy Alexander)
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