THERE was a time Catholic fiction novels ruled library shelves, and Canberra author Veronica Smallhorn believes it’s time for a renaissance.
The mum of three has released her first novel, A Channel of Your Peace, which tells the story of a young woman whose life turns upside down when her fiancé of five years confesses to having an affair with a co-worker.
Published by an American company that promotes “Theology of the Body fiction”, A Channel of Your Peace is Ms Smallhorn’s attempt to write fiction novels for young women with a central Catholic storyline.
A Channel of Your Peace explores the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality through the eyes of the novel’s protagonist, Erin Rafferty.
Erin is a cradle Catholic who rejected God and the Catholic Church following the devastating loss of a family member.
She has an intimate relationship with her fiancé, uses contraception regularly to avoid being pregnant, and has only entered a church for the occasional wedding, baptism or funeral.
Throughout the book, Erin slowly discovers the Church’s views on marriage and sexuality through her own personal trials, including an ill-timed romance with a devout, daily Massgoer.
“I wanted to evangelise and this is the area I felt was really urgent for people in the pews,” Ms Smallhorn said.
“It’s an essentially Catholic message that I want to convey, but I just wanted to get someone who was starting from zero and just work the faith, the grace of God, back into that person’s life.
“I wanted to make someone who I didn’t identify with, and try to use my imagination there because I’m not a lapsed Catholic, never have been.”
Ms Smallhorn said Catholic fiction writers could play an important role in evangelising culture at a time where “there’s been a massive crisis of faith”.
“I think the reason is there’s just no one representing us in the media, in literature, maybe there’s just no one there, there’s no one left, and the very few that are, there’s just been this wholesale rejection,” Miss Smallhorn said.
“I think there’s just a few of us left, but it’s still important to get out and evangelise.
“And being able to self-publish now, you don’t need to be picked up by a traditional publisher to get yourself out there.”
A Channel of Your Peace is available on Amazon.