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What is Christian Fiction? A Letter to Readers of The Trees of Eden

I write Christian fiction. The definition of that varies, so let me elaborate.

  • I write fiction for Christians.

  • I am a Christian who writes fiction.

  • I write romance novels you can read in public.

  • I write stories where you wonder sometimes if you're actually reading a devotional with characters.

  • I write books where the story falls apart if you take Jesus out.

  • I write parables.

But that says basically nothing about what I write. And in this book, I felt led to include a preface that I titled "A Note of Caution."

Why? Well, when I was looking through stock photos for cover and marketing images, I came across this great photo of a model who resembles the look and journey of the MC in The Trees of Eden. I licensed it to use later. And later is now. Here it is:

Then I caught myself second guessing. I realized that I have a sect of readers who may wonder if this photo or this pose or this pair of jeans belong in Christian anything. So I almost didn't use it.

Then, in a laugh, I realized that I wrote this book for that sect of readers. . .and for the sect of readers who are judging them right now. And for the people laughing at those people. And for the person who is just curious what Christian fiction is. I love and respect you all enough to have included the following word of caution, and I even printed it in the book. Be blessed. Be angry with me. Be inspired. Be challenged.

But the photo stays.

Note: The following contents were first published as the preface of The Trees of Eden. I (Rebekah Tyne McKamie) am the copyright holder, and have given my permission for this portion to be published in this form. All rights reserved.

A Note of Caution

Beloved Reader,

Just after finishing my first draft of The Snow Fence, I sat in the front room of a house I no longer live in and told some family members that I was going to start a new book that would be finished in seven months. I no longer remember the justification for that statement, as that conversation occurred over a decade ago, and it seems a different person said it. This book fought me, and I fought it. Among many other things in my life, God used this book as a place to challenge my perception of who He is and what His people look like.

My husband will recall that I asked him many times: If I write a book that explores the limits of Christian liberty, am I going to encourage people to push God’s boundaries for them? Will people sin or stumble because of me? Will I offend people? What will my mother think? But those were not my actual questions. The deeper questions were desperate battles I was fighting in my own heart. God, will You teach me about liberty? At what point does Your grace end? Is the whole world black and white or do You really live where things are gray? Can I handle offending someone? Can I handle offending everyone?

A decade ago, I didn’t live in a world that was so divided, even within the body of Christ, that there might be a need to explain the limits of the liberty we were given at the cross. But in recent years, Christ’s model of unity in diversity (1 Corinthians 12) and of the way we should use our liberty to foster love and service (Galatians 5:13) have been corrupted and broken by the enemy.

It wasn’t even hard. All the enemy did was help us forget one thing. See, there was one tree Adam and Eve needed to avoid in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Because they ate of the one tree not permitted, sin and death, which didn’t exist before, entered our DNA and corrupted our world until the end. They were given paradise and ruined it for a couple of bites of fruit.

But this book isn’t about that tree. This book is about the other trees from which Adam and Eve could freely eat without consequence.

Even when we are in Christ, we all seem to have a specific fruit tree that we prefer when we know that all but one are acceptable, beautiful, and delectable. To condemn the sinless actions of another person is moralism, which can lead the whole world to believe that we can find our way to God without the cross. But there is no fruit that will reconcile us with God except the precious blood of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Don’t worry, the Bible condemns sin and false teaching at every turn, so I will not waste my time brainwashing you or justifying sin to you. I am a Christian who lives by the Word of God, and I am married to Jesus, with an ongoing love affair with the Holy Spirit (and a guy named RJ). So, I am going to reverently speak the truth of God’s Word while telling you a romantic story that will stay with you.

But fellow Christian, I will still likely offend you. You might even be heartbroken or disappointed or triggered. Yet my ultimate hope and prayer is that you are challenged. I aim to challenge your tree. I want you to vehemently disagree with something one of these characters says or does, and I want you to open your Bible to try to prove them wrong. And after you dive into Scripture and consider it all in your heart, I want you to look with love at a fellow Christian you hated yesterday.

When you do that, I have accomplished the purpose of this seemingly benign Christian novel. And I hope you’ll post on Instagram with #challengingmytree.

I love you and the purpose God has for you within His will, my sister or brother in Christ. I can’t wait to meet you in person or in glory.

Because of Grace,

Rebekah Tyne McKamie

Note: For a list of actual trigger warnings, visit

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