Talking Catholic Fiction with Marcus Grodi

Marcus Grodi and Cheryl Dickow

Marcus Grodi and Cheryl Dickow

How many books have you read in the past year or so? (This doesn’t count the ones that you started but did not finish and now languish on a shelf gathering dust.)

I’m talking about books that you have read cover to cover.

That may reduce the number by as much as half if you are anything like most people—so don’t feel bad!

And of those books, how many are Catholic fiction?

So now the question is: How many Catholic fiction books have you read in the past year or so from cover to cover?

Sadly, the odds of an adult Catholic reading a Catholic fiction book are pretty miniscule—especially on a consistent basis. I know this from the countless people I have talked with over the years as well as from my professional experience as a publisher working with Catholic bookstores and so on. Ever since I taught parochial middle school English and religion, I’ve been on a bit of a mission in this regard. Add to that the years (decades, really) that I’ve watched my good friend devour her Protestant fiction books (not just one or two a year but many—all the while being a working mother of four) and I continue to feel a passion for getting great Catholic fiction books into homes, schools, and parishes.

It is a tough market to crack—to say the least.

So when I recently taped an episode of Journey Home with Marcus Grodi, you can only imagine how my heart sang when he began talking about the great value of Catholic fiction! We spent the first part of the show (to air August 26th) talking about my experiences in the Jewish culture as a young teen and how those experiences profoundly affected me as an adult Catholic—and how those experiences have made their way into my own writing.

While we talked about how Catholic fiction can feed us in a different way—and even sometimes in a deeper way—I forgot all about the cameras on us. It was a private conversation between two passionate Catholic fiction writers sharing an excitement for the ways Catholic fiction can bless the reader.

On the desk, in front of Marcus, were my two fiction books. Right there on the desk! No matter how you look at it, it was a blessing to me in my own endeavors as a Catholic writer and publisher; but mostly it was a wonderful, timely confirmation from Heaven above that great Catholic fiction books are important for Catholic adults.

My prayer is that the Journey Home episode will encourage Catholic adults to find, read, and relish Catholic fiction—and not just once in a while but to really get immersed in how Catholic fiction books can continuously feed your soul when they are part of your own journey home!

I hope you will get a chance to peek in on that conversation when the episode airs—and that your reading will always include great Catholic fiction.

In the meantime, I’d love to recommend a few titles to get you started in the world of Catholic fiction…

  • The Story of Peace by Miriam Ezeh
  • He Shall be Peace by Jennifer Franks
  • After The Fall by Clara Fleischmann
  • The Great Hospice Mystery by William Serdahely
  • The two books I’ve written that we talk about on the Journey Home episode are:
    • Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage
    • Miriam: Repentance and Redemption in Rome



About Author

  • Claire

    Thanks for these recommendations, Cheryl! I have added each of them to my wishlist. I’m looking forward to seeing you on The Journey Home!

    • cheryl dickow

      Thanks, Claire!

  • Cathi

    It’s great that there is meaningful Catholic fiction out there.
    Now, how many publishers are asking what people want to read and working from there, rather than telling them what they should read?
    Most likely, the market’s decided the potential customer base is too small.
    I know Catholic women who buy those generically ‘Christian’ Love Inspired series romances monthly from Harlequin/Worldwide because that gives them light reading they can pick up & put down, reading a few pages or half -chapter while waiting 10 minutes for the meat to defrost in the microwave, the wash to end so they can throw it in the dryer, outside the Scout meeting in the parking lot, or while helping 3 kids in 3 different age levels with homework, or on a bench at the bus stop.
    Few ‘great’ fiction books, Catholic or not, allow that sort of light engagement.
    Few are also affordable on some tight budgets. Most Catholic fiction paperbacks that I’ve seen run from $12.95 to $19.95 – well above my monthly entertainment budget. That sort of spending takes some planning a paycheck or two ahead.
    It would be great if kids grew up seeing parents modeling good fiction-reading habits, but there’s not much support for it.
    Perhaps local Dioceses & the Knights or Hibernians could work out some sort of multi-parish after-Mass bookmobiles?

    • Cheryl Dickow

      I’d be glad to get you a copy of Elizabeth for whatever your monthly budget is for entertainment. My gift to you. Please email me at and we can work this out.