Hey, did you hear the one about the urban fantasy debut author who got kicked out of church for writing an urban fantasy novel?
I wish I were joking. But this is deadly serious.
Fellow author and member of the League of Reluctant Adults Jeremy F. Lewis wrote the novel STAKED. And by way of appreciation, his church “withdrew fellowship.” The story appears here and here and here.
Jeremy was kicked out of “a local non-denominational church” in Alabama. Though technically he wasn’t excommunicated, Jeremy says that “it amounts to the same thing. I was a member. And because I refused to renounce the book, stop promoting the book, and publicly apologize… as well as a few other things that would have amounted to breach of contract on my part or been financially ruinous… I am no longer allowed to be a member.”
Got that, folks? Jeremy wrote a book, and because he did that, he got kicked out of his church.
So what’s this book about, anyway? Does it tell children to murder their parents in the name of Satan?
From Jeremy’s website: Murder is a fact of life for the vampire Eric, owner of the DemonHeart strip club in Void City, but when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things get wildly out of hand. Though the local Alpha and his pack of born-again lycanthropes are out for holy retribution, they’re the least of Eric’s worries when he finds himself caught between his girlfriend Tabitha, who has always wanted to be a vampire, and her sexy little sister Rachel, a tantric witch with a hidden agenda.
Why can’t unlife be easy? All Eric wants to do is run his club, drink a little blood and be left alone. In his quest to discover who is trying to end him and why, he must survive car crashes, embalming, sunlight, tantric magic, and werewolves on ice as well as his own nasty temper, forgetfulness, and mistakes. More diamond in the sewer than diamond in the rough, Eric is willing to take on the world in STAKED, a book where love just might conquer all, even if it is twisted, evil, and undead.
Hmm. Sounds like…dare I say it…a vampire novel. And love conquering all? Hmm. That sounds suspiciously…idealistic.
So why was Jeremy kicked out of church?
Says the author himself over at Jason Sanford’s website, “the elders of his church believe that ‘by writing the book, I committed the sins contained within it. They also felt that I’d aimed the novel at young children (which boggles the mind) and that it teaches and encourages the use of vulgar language. Though I disagree wholeheartedly with their decision, I can’t really say they took the action they took in order to be mean… they appear to have been acting out of genuine concern.'”
So let’s review. Jeremy F. Lewis, author of STAKED, wrote a book that is neither intended for children nor shelved in the children’s section of the bookstore. He wrote a work of fiction. The characters in it say and do morally unsavory things. And because he wrote this book and refused to renounce it, he was kicked out of his church.
Bluntly, this sucks. And no, that’s not a vampire pun.
I could get into a whole diatribe about how urban fantasy is all about the ongoing battle between Good versus Evil, and how that battle is reflected internally and externally, and how stories about monsters as protagonists allows us to question the dark roots within ourselves even as we strive to be moral creatures who love. But forget all of that.
This is **fiction**. It’s not pretending to set a moral course of life (or unlife). It’s meant to be entertainment. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. It’s that simple. Kicking Jeremy out of church isn’t just wrong. I think it’s unchristian.
Time to show righteous ire! Buy a copy of STAKED today and see why Jeremy’s church made a horrendous mistake. Better yet, buy two: one for you, and one for your local library. You can buy STAKED at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Flights of Fantasy, Mysterious Galaxy, and other independent bookstores.