First of all, let me say how honored I am to be the first InspyRomance author to post on this fabulous new blog. Oh, friends, we’re going to have such fun! Grab something to sip, settle in your favorite chair and let me tell you a little about why I write Christian romance.
Confession: I “lifted” (shhh) the title of this post from the sweet love song my husband, Jim, and I sang to one another at our wedding reception more than 26 years ago (on his birthday, no less, but he hasn’t forgotten his anniversary yet). Of course, Jim was (obviously) musically trained, but this girl (just as obviously) was not. But I tried, and our voices actually blended together pretty well. Perhaps Frasier Crane said it best on an episode of Cheers when he sat down to play the piano: “Cut me some slack, people, I’ve had no professional training.” The whole point is trying and pouring your heart and soul into it…and others will take note (pun intended, I suppose). And–wouldn’t you know–to this day, every time a woman from my home church sees us, she never fails to tell us how that song touched her heart.
Speaking of “professional training,” I have a college degree in Journalism/English, but that doesn’t make me a writer. Not at all. It simply means I learned the basics of sentence structure and correct grammar. Of course, back in the Stone Age (as my kids would say), that meant full sentences, never fragments. Since then, the “rules” have changed—a lot. We could debate endlessly as to whether authors are born or made, and I’d suggest it’s a bit of both. In my case, I wrote a number of novels, got a few nibbles from editors and agents, but then put my writing aside–but not the passion for it–for over a decade. Even though I wasn’t writing during that time, I was experiencing life, observing people, and maturing. I’m a better writer today because of what I learned during that period. And, without a doubt, the Lord honored that commitment by opening the doors of His choosing…in His perfect timing.
A good friend of mine read my first two novels pre-publication and made an observation I’ll always remember. She said, “You must have experienced great love in your life to be able to write the stories you do.” Wow. That comment really opened my eyes. On the flip side, I know single, unmarried and/or never-married authors who can write a romantic scene that thrills my soul. I’d always heard to “write what you know.” Then a writer friend of mine made another valid point, “Did you personally go to the International Space Station? No? Well, you wrote about it as if you did.” Ahem. True enough (with a whole lot of research for an upcoming book). I write what I personally love to read. For so many years, as a young mother, I was so exhausted at the end of the evening, I could only read a short snippet here and there. So, whatever I read had to be pretty entertaining to keep me reading. As a result, I love books with lively dialogue, a bit of adventure, solid romance and humor.
It’s my goal to put the reader right there “in the moment.” Could anything be more thrilling than that first blush of love between a man and woman? Surely you know what I mean: the initial attraction where you’re skirting around one another—exchanging shy gazes, small smiles and wondering what the other person is thinking. Then you start to talk, to tease, to banter, to ask questions. The pulse escalates, you feel that rush of adrenaline. You hope, you anticipate. The build-up to a kiss, the tension, the heightened awareness… I’d suggest those moments can be every bit as delicious, if not more, than the actual moment when lips meet.
You know what it is? I have an overwhelming passion for romance…for love. I want to read it, absorb it, live it, breathe it, write it. Through my characters, I want to share the hope, the joy, and the pure satisfaction to be found in a great love story. A truly memorable book (and movie) is one that makes me laugh but also makes me cry. Above all, it prompts a reaction from me and—just as importantly—makes me think. When you read one of my books, I want to take you on the journey of one man and one woman (yes, with supporting characters to help them see what they often can’t, with humor and wisdom, right?). By the time you close the book, I want you to feel like you know these people and they’re close, personal friends. One of the best compliments I ever received was, “If I saw them walking down the street, I’d recognize them right away and run over to ask how they’re doing.”
It always makes me laugh when someone asks me this: “There’s really such a thing as Christian romance?” It all started with love, folks. I’m saved by grace and the greatest Love of all! My most fervent prayer in my personal writing journey has always been this: Lord, may I be Your vessel to touch one woman’s heart with a truth from Your word or to somehow bring about a positive change in her life. Sometimes a very small, seemingly insignificant passage in one of my books will mean something very personal to someone else. Who knew? Makes it worth the long hours and lack of sleep, the arrows sometimes slung our way and the vulnerability of putting my work “out there” for the world to accept or reject. When I get discouraged on occasion, I remind myself: You’re doing it all for Him…and His glory. And then I keep writing. The Lord knows just when I need a word of encouragement from a reader. His love never fails indeed.
For this Christian romance writer, the rest of that lyric we sang to each other on September 5, 1987, expresses it perfectly: Only God Could Love You More…Than I Do.