HCI Books, best known for its bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is forming a new Christian publishing division to be called Faith Communications.

Inspirational author and sports executive Pat Williams will be the new division's first author as well as an editor-at-large for the division. Williams, along with Jim Denny, is the coauthor of How to Be Like Jesus, which will be released in March. First printing will be in the 20,000 to 25,000 range.

Peter Vegso, president and publisher of HCI, will also direct Faith Communications. Williams, he said, "will help us to find and vet the right material." The new division will release about three books this year and has one more scheduled for January 2004. HCI has already published some Christian books successfully. " Its Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul sold more than a million copies, and HCI has other Christian-oriented books on its list.

About three HCI staffers will work on the new Faith Communications titles. Vegso said HCI was also working with a consultant "to help us approach the market. We know there are differences in the Christian market, and we're getting some advice."