While away at a Christian writers’ conference last weekend (which was brilliant, by the way) someone showed us this article entitled Why do we read Christian romance? Take a look and see what you think … it caused quite a furore amongst us romance writers, let me give you the tip.
Now, while my first reaction was fairly strong, my second was more rational, ie. ‘Let’s see why my take on this subject is different to the one in the article.’ Let me address the statements for the negative position one by one.
1. Christian romance explicitly teaches that God has a special someone lined up for each of us.
Does it? None of the books I’ve read (or the one I’ve written for that matter) support this statement. Sure, our heroines are usually single-minded about the man they’re attracted to, but isn’t that the way it works? It doesn’t mean that if the romance is unsuccessful the poor girl has fudged her opportunity for a husband! God is far more creative than that, and all the romance authors I know personally hold that view. We also realise that not everyone will end up married – we’re just not that idealistic. Truly.
2. Christian romances feature Mr Perfect.
Um, no they don’t. Our heroes (and heroines) are flawed, imperfect beings, just like the rest of us. They have to be or else they come across as unreal and unrelatable. That’s Characterisation 101.
3. Christian romances are too ambitious in what they set out to do. Christian romances aim not only to tell a love story, but also to teach about God’s sovereignty, instill Christian values and promote godliness.
It might be ambitious, but why not? The thing is, we do this by showing these aspects through our characters’ journeys rather than telling, thereby eliminating preachiness. Why is that ambitious? Surely it’s our own worldview, a reflection of our relationship with God, which comes through in our writing.
It is also suggested that the result of this ambition produces ‘quite dreadful’ results, ie. Thin stories, unbelievable characters and misuse of the Bible. Wow. Strong words. I don’t know which romances (or how many) were read to come up with that opinion, but I do know they’re not the same stories I’ve read!
In conclusion, I’d like to say two things. Firstly, I’m constantly amazed by the positive feedback we receive from our readers (not all of them believers, either). Things like:
‘I appreciated the themes you involved in the book, and your clear but unobtrusive teaching of Christian principles.’
‘Thank you for writing such a great book. It has really inspired me in my walk with God and has really made me think about certain decisions that I’d kept putting off.’
‘I’m not a Christian, but your book has really made me think.’
Yes, I think I’ll keep writing!
Secondly, it’s always good to reflect on why we write what we do. It gives us the opportunity to clarify and consider what we believe God is calling us to do … to write great stories that encourage others to draw closer to Him.
Until next time –
I’m very proud to introduce to you a new group blog I’m part of, called Australasian Christian Writers, or ACW. This blog is specifically for readers and writers of novels, and includes book reviews, a weekly article on the art of writing, and two posts a week from our blog members.
The term Australasian is especially dear to me, being one myself. I was born and raised in New Zealand, but married an Aussie and have lived here for thirty years. (Our kids are KiRoos ☺) I love my home country, but I love Australia just as much, so this opportunity to blend with each other is particularly sweet. Thanks to technology, the distance ‘across the ditch’ has shrunk to nothing!
In the last few years, there has been an increasing awareness that Australasian writers have just as much to offer as our counterparts in the northern hemisphere. While there certainly aren’t as many of us, we are just as passionate about our craft and are eager to share with you our stories and tips we have learned along the way.
So, take a moment or two to click on the following link http://www.australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/ and check out what we have to offer. At the moment it’s a lot, with many giveaways during our launch week. All you have to do is leave a comment, and you could win a book of your choice. Too easy!
Until next time, (and I promise it won’t be as long)
Well hello! And welcome to this installment of The Next Big Thing, a blog chain for writers and artists. I am chuffed to be a part of the action. The concept is simple: each creator gets a chance to share a bit about their latest project. Normally, the opportunity is paid forward to another blogger or group of bloggers, but unfortunately, the four I contacted aren’t ready to share just yet. A big shout out to fellow writer, Lynne Stringer, who nominated me. Best wishes for her Next Big Thing, The Heir.
1. What is the working title of your next book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It just popped into my head. See Q9 for a more detailed explanation.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m going to be mean and not let on. I have my ideas, but I’d much rather let my readers make up their own minds as they read the book. I don’t want to stifle their imaginations.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Frustrated by a string of empty relationships, the strikingly beautiful Ellie meets the very handsome but enigmatic Daniel – literally minutes after making a vow to God to ignore men for six months.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be submitting my book to a publisher.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m giving myself three more months. I’ve got several novels on the go, but this is the one I’ve decided to finish next.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My first book, ‘A Simple Mistake’, published by Even Before Publishing.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
There are a number of beautiful women on TV, movies, ads etc. It made me wonder how they’d cope in a Christian context, or more interestingly, how Christendom would cope with them! And so my creative juices began to flow…
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Being one of the ‘beautiful people’ brings a set of problems most of us never encounter; I’ve really had to use my imagination for this one! Fun to do though.
Well, now that I’ve let you know what I’m writing, I’d better get on and finish it, hadn’t I? By the way, my daughter Melissa has already designed the cover, and it’s magnificent! Can’t post it yet though!
Until next time –
I’m very excited to announce that ‘A Simple Mistake’ has made the fiction shortlist for the Caleb Award 2012!
The Caleb Awards are given by Omega Writers Inc, an association for Australasian (Australia, NZ and South Pacific) wordsmiths writing faith-inspired work.
The finalists will be announced by the end of this month, and the winner at the annual awards dinner, held in conjunction with the Word Writers Getaway at Alexandra Headlands on Friday evening October 12.
I can hardly wait!
So enjoyed my book signing at Koorong, Springwood. Met a lot of people, had great conversations, and even sold books!
Excited about being featured in the current Koorong catalogue! Huge thanks to my daughter Melissa Dalley for designing my book cover.
Just like you, I’ve had countless ‘firsts’. My first tooth, my first word – you know how it goes.
By the time I turned fifty, I figured a lot of the ‘firsts’ were done. I’d become a teacher, moved to Australia, got married, had three children … all the wonderful milestones I had hoped for. I was happy and content.
And then the writing bug bit.
I’d had an idea for a story for a couple of years, but I didn’t take it too seriously. I mean, who just decides to sit down and write a book? Me, actually. I had to. These people were invading my head and needed to be let out!
I’d find myself in an imaginary world while cleaning the kitchen, chopping up vegetables and hanging out the washing. Even the ironing became less of a chore. Sometimes, I forgot what it was I needed from the supermarket, but I could remember whole family trees and intricate relationships, along with sizeable chunks of dialogue.
So began another series of firsts, ones I’d never envisaged making, starting with those immortal words, ‘Chapter One’. Whether or not I got published didn’t matter. I simply had to get it all out.
‘Firsts’ keep on happening, no matter how old you are. They can be terribly sad or one of the highlights in life. No matter what form they take, they all are significant in shaping us and making us into the people we are today.
Welcome to my ‘first’ blog!