Friday, April 10, 2009
Thanks so much for having me on your fun, new blog. I’m thrilled to be here to talk about inspirational romance. And I guess that makes me more of a petit four than a hot tamale. :)
If you’re not familiar with inspirational (or Christian) romance, then I guess one of the first things you would notice is that it’s G- to PG-rated. Of course, different publishers allow different levels of sensuality/violence/touchy themes. But for the most part, our readers want a “gentle” read. Something they can pass along to their young daughter or grandma.
Another thing you would notice about inspirationals is that the plot involves characters living their faith or searching for faith—or even rejecting their faith. In some books, the faith element is tightly interwoven, and the story couldn’t stand without it. In others, the faith element is less evident. It may just be that the characters are living Christian lives, dealing with faith issues that may or may not have to do with the main plot.
A good many years ago, when I worked as an assistant for author Sandra Chastain, she offered to critique some of my work. And I shared a quick outline of a story idea I had been thinking about. As soon as she read it, she said, “This is an inspirational.” And it was a light bulb moment for me! I had no idea. But my faith is so important in my life that it had just automatically ended up in my characters and in their stories.
In my first book with Steeple Hill, Her Unlikely Family, the hero felt like a failure at love, felt as if he wasn’t even capable of loving (he’d failed his sister and was failing his niece). But then he found during the course of the story that with God’s help, he could love the heroine and his niece. The heroine, a former runaway, feels called to love others like Jesus would do, and thus is helping the hero’s runaway niece. She also talks openly about her faith—it’s just part of who she is and her out-there personality.
In the next book, His Forever Love(coming in June), the hero goes from feeling as if God doesn’t care what happens to him to realizing God has cared all along, and that he does have hope for a future. The heroine doesn’t make such a drastic journey, but she has to learn to trust God’s plan for her life and to risk loving again.
In A Forever Christmas (coming in November), the hero and heroine had hurt each other in the past. During the story, the hero is moved by a Bible verse in the children’s Christmas play to realize God has forgiven him for past mistakes, so maybe the heroine can forgive him, too. Then later, the heroine has to ask God for help so she’s able to forgive the hero.
Some of the faith elements are heavier than others. Steeple Hill wants to make sure the romance is front and center, so the faith elements just add to character depth and to the story.
I’d love to answer any questions anyone has about writing inspirationals (or anything else!). And please leave a comment to have your name entered in a drawing. I’ll be giving away two copies of His Forever Love as soon as I get my author copies (any day now!).
Thank you Debbie and all the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for having me today!
Thank you, Missy! We appreciate the fact that you took time out from your busy schedule to blog with us today. Okay folks, leave a comment or question for Missy today to be entered in the drawing for one of two copies of His Forever Love. Good Luck!