Clarity & Discussion With A Christian Romance Novelist

Near the beginning of August of this year, I had a post series for the Single Christian Girl.

Check out Deception, Lies, Pressure | Single Christian Girl

I received a reblog from blogger and Christian Romance novelist Ann Malley with a comment introducing this post, and it really got me to think about certain things I probably should clarify.

Ann, in her amazing back cover promotion of the post, poses the question if, in my post, I am seeking a scapegoat for fallen human nature. She also brings up something I don’t know why I haven’t thought about before, “glorified temptation.” That, in itself, is something to write on. What a powerful term.

She promoted the post not only to her readers but to me. Convincing me to reread the post and reflect.

And reflect I did. In fact, I retweeted her post and we started discussing Christian Romance, the purpose of teaching through life lesson, and much more. With her permission, as I clarify some things, I’m going to share some of her quotes that came up in our discussion.

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Now, the post itself is not purely focused on Christian Romance novels. It’s more about how the portrayal of Christian romance can be misguiding, especially younger readers like teens, to have false expectations. Which is then where my main focus was.

False Expectations. Potential feelings that we are entitled to certain things in a relationship, especially when influenced by media.

As Ann shares “Much of “love” is presented as an infatuation with falling in love. Not what it means.” Adding, “Falling in love with love is a dangerous business and leads to heartache 100% of the time. Why? People are people.”

There’s a reason, of course, people enjoy fiction.

But blurring the lines between what we expect out of life and the stories we read…well, that’s not really the fault of the writer. That part is on us. We decide what we expose our ears and eyes to. We’re not forced.

I do think as a Christian writer we are accountable to what we are portraying. I think we need to ask ourselves the importance of our scenes. It is wholesome? Does it encourage sinful behavior? Does this give glory to God? Would this potentially stumble up a weaker believer?

Even though everyone has free will, we have the gift to encourage and influence in our writing. 

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So what are we persuading and encouraging?

Ann shares her viewpoint on what authors should focus on in Christian Romance. “What’s needed is for authors to put romantic love in proper context. That is, it’s okay to show the developing attraction. God has ordered that attraction. But it is critical to have the heroine/hero acknowledge the need to balance their passions and keep a clear head. That can teach those reading to do the same and watch out for runaway feelings. We all experience them.”

I want to add, I don’t think in my post I was clear that not all Christian Romance novels or series encourage false expectations or linger in encouraging that we focus on the body. As I shared, Katie’s video really made me think about the topic. But that does not mean it is the entire genre that’s flawed.

I don’t think having a story about Christians falling in love is wrong. Ann shared with me why it is important stories cover the emotions of those feelings, “That said, teenagers–girls especially in this pressure cooker society–need a place to explore those giddy, excited feelings running rampant through their minds, etc… Believe me, hiding those feelings is no good. Often that leaves people ill-prepared for when they “experience” as much and then have no clue how to handle it.”

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I think there is a lot of temptation for writers to depict certain things because the audience expects it. The world expects it. As Ann and I discussed, publishers expect it. I think the way these stories, not all, are told often encourages a way of life that is not realistic. Thus, the false expectation is encouraged. 

As a writer, we are responsible for what we write. But as a reader, we are responsible for what we read. It is very important we keep a balance. We talked about how it is natural for girls to be swept away in these stories. “Girlish glee (natural) can be steeped by an overdose of one genre.”

This led to discussing how crucial and needed it is for parents both to be aware of what their teens are reading, as well as making sure teens have some way of expressing what they are going through. “Parents are better suited to know how much leeway to give a teen. How sad would it be for a young girl to be turned off of her faith because restrictions are too tight in areas where they should be loosened? I write romance novels, but I’m not an advocate for teen readers obsessing on anything. But if the parent has decided that Christian romance novels are okay, it’s their call.” 

Thinking about these things has really made me step back and think about my own writing. What I want to portray and what I do not want to portray.

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Watering something down in a “Christian” form does not mean God will approve of it.

Lusting with the eyes is still a sin even when everyone is fully dressed.

However, not acknowledging situations and emotions that naturally occur only lead to confusion and possible pent-up frustration, especially for teens.

I hope you took something out of this discussion. I know I have.

I want to thank Ann again for adding to the discussion and welcoming me to talk about it.

If you want to check out both posts for the Single Christian Girl Series

False Expectations – Pt. 1

What To Focus On– Pt. 2

What are your thoughts?

Do you have a favorite Christian Romance novel?

And Remember...Be The Salt Of The earthAnd The Light On The HillWe Are His Branches1

Monthly Scripture, (NIV) John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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24 thoughts on “Clarity & Discussion With A Christian Romance Novelist

    1. Thank you! I edited this post and included both links to the Single Christian Girl series at the bottom. I realized my original comment with the series’ links, I gave you this link for the first part by accident. Sorry about that!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My question about this article is whether making the characters always keep a clear head about their relationship gives off a false impression that all Christians are perfect. I feel like it’s unrealistic. I love Francine Rivers’ books, especially the Mark of the Lion trilogy, but I recently read her Bridge to Haven book, and I felt like the male character was way too perfect. I felt like he needed to be fleshed out more like a real person who struggles with stuff even if they’re a Christian. Just a thought, I know it’s a balancing act because you want to write something that encourages and uplifts and gives young people role models.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that’s good too. When Ann and I were talking she was speaking of having the character acknowledge boundaries or potential problems. We definitely need characters to be realistic. And I think many of these books give false expectations, perfectionism one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, T.R., for allowing me the opportunity to share ideas with you. That’s how we grow in fellowship and share what knowledge we have gleaned to the benefit of others. I have certainly learned a great deal about Christian charity and magnanimity from you. Please, do keep an eye on what the readership needs/wants/suffers. God bless, you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been such a blessing. I try my best first to serve what God wants me to share but then to help direct things readers have discussed. Feedback is so important and it is important we listen be it blogging or writing. 🙂


  3. This is quite a great line of thought
    I want to emphasize the fact that there should be a balance between the Christian relationship writer, with what his/her write-up portrays and for the readers, on what they choose to read and take in.

    Reason: ordinarily the ideal thing for a Christian relationship writer would be to stick to what the bible has to say about his/her topics.

    Albeit, the bible is almost silent on matters bordering on relationship.
    The bible did give justice to matters of marriage.
    The relationship writer is almost writing base on personal thought-this is why a balance is necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good perspective to add. I feel the Bible gives us enough guidelines of having certain boundaries we know not to cross. But in regards to speaking emotions it does not have stories really covering that. You’re right. We do know people have found sight, are beautiful, relating to an attraction, but some others things arent really discussed. Good point.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your points are well made and purely motivated, Sunstev. Always a good thing. But Scripture goes further than justice with regard to marriage–the proper end of Christian Romance. I’ll be borrowing from https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-romance.html to say:

      The Song of Solomon is a book filled with romantic demonstrations of love between a bride and groom. Because God included this book in the canon of His inspired Word, we can safely say that romance is acceptable and even applauded by our Creator. Romance in the context of a pure and committed relationship can enhance that relationship and increase the enjoyment of married love as God intended.

      So, when the natural bent of women is toward marriage and family, a healthy and objective review of romantic love can be a very good thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have never read a Christian romance novel or any romance novel. Not my thing. But I do know the power of words and the way people turn words into images in their mind. So I don’t know if I would encourage romance novels in single people. It definitely can create expectations. I had so many expectations when I got married and boy is real life different! The romance was great while it lasted. Haha! Real love is basically going through routine life and trials and being patient, forgiving, tolerant, at times blind to fault, other times honest about faults. Just some random thoughts. Married 27 years , by the grace of God!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Praise the Lord for your marriage!! I agree. In my original post I also talked about false expectations. I also have noticed many single people who have been set on false expectations because of media influence. And it is very true romance a lot of the time is not what people think. 5 years of marriage, 13 years together (high school sweethearts.) My guy is not into being romantic a lot. Never has been. There is an occasional moment, but it is more about knowing how he shows he cares and is looking for my best interest.


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