Saturday, February 14, 2015

5 Reasons I Write Christian Romance



I see the question in your eyes. I catch that curious gleam most every time I tell someone what I write.

Christian romance? What's Christian about romance these days?


For a time, I left off the romance part and just said, "Christian fiction," while my inner writer whispered, "coward." But I couldn't leave out the romance bit for long without feeling like a hypocrite. Romance is a HUGE part of what I write.

I'll tell you why, in no particular order:

  • It's the best-selling genre. No, I'm not "in it for the money." But according to BookStats.org, the estimated annual total sales value of romance was $1.08 billion in 2013. Fact: people buy romance. 
That tells me people crave genuine, candid, lasting love. They may not know it, but when the heart goes from one love story to another, it's a sign of a deeper need, one that can only be met by the Creator of love.

Many seek to fill that need elsewhere, whether in a physical relationship or an emotional fantasy that tells them, somewhere, somehow, someone with perfect unconditional love wants and desires them, and if they have to live that dream vicariously through a fictional character, that's what they'll do. It's the heart-cry of every human: "Love me!"

God is the answer to that cry. God loves unconditionally. We don't have to do anything to merit His love. We don't have to be "good enough." We simply surrender.

  • Romance is the perfect genre in which to explore the human condition. Romance is one area of our lives where the wounds from our past will always catch up with us, often showing if we have learned to overcome those wounds and be a better person because of them . . . or not. The "or not" is where conflict comes in and we have a story to tell--about overcoming obstacles in order to heal and better interact with others. :)

  • Chivalry isn't dead. It's just politely waiting for feminism to trip over itself. (*snicker* I simply couldn't help myself.) I love chivalry. Romance is a great genre to showcase that and encourage women to allow it back into their lives. 

The next two reasons go hand-in-hand:

  • God is love. Some call the Bible The Romance of the Ages. It's GOD'S book of romance. The story of how Jesus gave His life for the ones He loves. I believe it is still the #1 bestseller. He ought to know something about writing a good love story, right? That's why I like to end my stories with plenty of love, redemption, and the truths found in God's Word.
  • God's character can be revealed through a love story. He is love. The earthly pattern He uses to show us How much He loves us and desires to communicate with us is that of a love relationship. Self-sacrifice is the most beautiful expression of love, which Jesus himself showed us when He died for our sins on the cross. Isn't that amazing? To learn more about how to experience that love, click HERE.

Bonus cool facts about an early Christian romance writer:

Did you know? The great revival preacher Billy Sunday wrote one book in his entire life. Only one. Surely, it was a deep theological thesis. No? A collection of sermons, perhaps. Nope. It was a romance.

Billy Sunday wrote romance? Yep. His book is a collection of romances, actually, called Love Stories from the Bible. The title is out of print now, but I was privileged to buy a copy at a Bible conference about thirty miles from my house in the next county over. :) Made this book-lover's heart giddy with excitement!

The book was first published in 1917 in London by The Knickerbocker Press and later reproduced by Larry Harrison of The Christian Book Gallery.

In the foreword, Sunday states his intention "to clothe the outstanding characters and lessons of the Bible in the language and environment of today." He also expresses a knowledge that his work would be considered "irreverent" in a day when the Bible was considered a "relic . . . something only for special occasions."

Basically, he wrote young adult romance based on the love stories in the Bible. How fun is that? All you YA romance writers, you're following in the footsteps of a giant, haha.

Of course Sunday's underlying motive (all authors have one--inspirational or secular, there is an underlying message or theme) was to get young folks studying their Bibles and draw them toward a love relationship with Jesus Christ the Savior.

That is my goal as well. If because of my writing someone might be introduced to Jesus, might fall a little more in love with Him, I will have been successful.



Love romantic stories? You're at the right blog! 'Cause I do, too. I challenge you this Valentine's Day to spend time alone with the God of romance. Many make up their own ideas of God to meet their personal likes/dislikes, but we find Who God truly is from the Bible.

Spend time reading His Love Story this Valentine's Day. The book of John is a great place to start.

Think of ways to please Him, serve Him, move His heart with your devotion. Sing to Him. Give Him Your dreams. Read and re-read His Love Letter to You. Dream of one day being with Him in heaven. Tell Him how you long for that day.

But don't let it stop on Valentine's Day. Continue the romance. Pursue this heavenly Lover everyday. Let Him pursue you in return. Let him have you.

God has made a plan for those who wish to, to be with Him forever. If you haven't been introduced to the Ultimate Hero of all Heroes, Jesus Christ, He has extended an invitation. Will you accept?




P.S. I'm going to see the movie Old Fashioned today (trailer below). Have you seen it? 



What are some reasons you like to read Christian love stories?

Winners of our Countdown to Valentine's Day giveaways are as follows: Brandywine Brides--Marisa, My Candy Valentine--Lydia (widderbugs), & The Homestead Brides Collection--Deanna Stevens. Congrats, all! I'll be getting in touch with you soon.

5 comments:

Penny McGinnis said...

I enjoyed your post. I'm new to writing romance and your reasoning makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing.

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Penny! Great to meet another romance writer! Thanks so much for commenting!

Natalie Monk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoAnn Durgin said...

Hi Natalie. Enjoyed your blog post very much. Keep writing and there will always be those who want (and need, consciously or not) to read Christian romance. Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing! ~JoAnn Durgin, contemporary Christian romance author (and proud of it!)

Courtney Phillips said...

Can I be honest? When asked what I write, I still sometimes am wary to mention romance. Which is ridiculous because I love romance. (Ha.) It is such a fun way to show God's sacrificial love for us.
You made an excellent point about romance being a bestselling genre. I'm sure most non-Christians would be willing to read a Christian romance before they would read another Christian genre. That said, we have a huge responsibility to keep the romantic aspect pleasing to the Lord.

Whenever someone mocks romance, I think of Ruth and Boaz. Straight-up romance right there in the Bible!