I’ve always been a romantic at heart. In elementary school I was already reading every teenage romance series on the market. At age 12 when I was on vacation in rural Oregon with NO ONE my age with whom to play, I struck gold when we visited a Five and Dime Store (showing my age here!) in John Day, Oregon.
There was this turning tower LOADED with interesting covers and titles. I had discovered Harlequin. I picked up my first two Harlequin Historicals that day. I still remember the titles—Sophie and the Prince and Prisoner of the Harem. Of course, back then, there was no such thing as Christian fiction, but these Harlequin’s were quite mild by today’s standards.
I’ll also admit to reading eighteen billion Fabio-covered Zebra historicals, purposefully skipping the sexy bits. At that point, just after high school, I was starving for a happily ever after.
As time went on, I found my own great love story in a man named Joe Kastner. I started a family and had three beautiful girls. I discovered pioneer Janette Oke and dived into what Christian fiction there was (Frank Peretti, anyone? Awesome!)
And then, to my great delight, Christian romance became a thing. Heartsong romances and Multnomah Palisades, where I published my first novel Beloved.
At that point, it didn’t take Harlequin long to catch on that readers were devouring Christian romance. Enter Love Inspired (then Steeple Hill). I was at a Romance Writers of America conference when I first heard the news, and my heart quickened like no other. Within months, I had a two-book deal and have been writing for them ever since.
Why am I pondering this right now? The Covid 19 Pandemic has truly changed the world, and I’m holed up with my ultra-high-risk husband.
My oldest daughter Annie, her husband and my granddaughter all live in Washington and all tested positive for the virus. My son-in-love and granddaughter are recovering. Annie, not so much. She has had nearly every major abdominal organ removed, giving her little to fight off this nasty virus.
My middle daughter Kimberly lives in Utah and is so far safe from Covid 19 but just experienced her first major earthquake. All alone and scared to death.
Katie, my youngest, is presumptive positive (you cannot be tested in CO unless you are already admitted to the hospital) and is suffering through a horrible bout of the virus. She has asthma, which makes the pain in her chest worse. And now my grandson Boo has a cough.
I have a book that is a week overdue and I’m struggling to focus. I find myself constantly watching the news and scouring the Internet for more information. We watch daily mass live streaming into our homes from our church. I see the numbers of positive and deaths climb and spend extra time in prayer, knowing those numbers don’t even scratch the surface of what’s really going on.
To be honest, even with all that, it doesn’t feel real. A worldwide pandemic? This is the stuff of movies, not the actual, real live Colorado governor giving a stay at home order.
This blog is getting way too long so I’ll wrap up, but I wanted to circle back to my theme—happily ever after. Romance novels are more important than ever. We all need to experience joy and happiness and read about times when social distancing isn’t a thing and toilet paper is fully stocked on the shelves in every store (seriously?). We all need to cling to what is good and right and lovely, and that’s what inspirational romance novels offer.
I pray that you and yours are well. If you have prayer requests, please post them below and know that I and other Inspy bloggers will be praying for you.