And "In the newest books, old-fashioned values are embraced for newfangled reasons. Modesty is endorsed, not because of shame, but because of self-respect and practicality: Protagonist DJ in Spring Breakdown opts for a one-piece swimsuit over a teensy bikini because, "I like to swim. And I like to move around." Besides, another character reflects later, "Sometimes subtle is sexy." The verse in Genesis that says humans are made "in the image of God" is frequently employed to reinforce positive body image. And where mainstream novels can be relentlessly brand-driven—even incorporating product placement—the most fashionable character in the best-selling Carter House Girls series is the one who rejects brand names in favor of thrift stores. Author Melody Carlson told me she created the Carter House Girls in direct response to the Gossip Girl series, because she feared that the latter shows realistic behavior but unrealistic or nonexistent consequences. Carlson says she doesn't like the word feminist, but that nonetheless she was raised to be one, which comes through in her work: "It never occurred to me that a woman should be less than her best.""
My adult books with Lis Wiehl are published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian house that also publishes mainstream books minus swear words and explicit sex scenes.
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