My first book will be coming out in February (yes, I’m thrilled!), and I’m in the midst of cover design, edits, setting up marketing (okay, trying to understand marketing), etc. As writers, we hear over and over – know your audience, know your genre, know your story. So while Shattered Image definitely falls in the inspirational romance category, I’ve wondered if it’s more inspiration than romance, or more romance than inspiration. And how best to balance the two?
From what I hear, erotica is one of the hottest selling genres. How sad is that? I’m sure those authors love a good romance as much as we do – but whatever happened to allowing the audience to use their imagination?? I love a good love story. Not a predictable one, but a real one – where the characters live real lives with real problems, where love isn’t always neat and pretty but occasionally messy and difficult. You know, like life? So real, believable romance must be a strong element in my stories.
My Christian faith, however, colors my view of romance. God’s love for us is so pure, so complete, I can’t imagine writing love stories that compromise that reality. It doesn’t mean I won’t tackle tough, real life issues like divorce, death, or even adultery, but I’ll deal with them in ways that reflect our Father’s love for our broken world, and His forgiveness for our ongoing missteps and poor decisions. So the journey of a living, growing faith must also be a strong element in my stories.
Now to put those elements together in a story that will hopefully draw readers into a world of love, loss, discovery, and renewal, where struggles are real and painful but Truth is stronger…
Shattered Image is about, surprise, image. Who are we? How do people see us? How do we see ourselves? Can we truly love others when we don’t know who we are or believe that we’re worthy of love? And what happens when we get a glimpse of how God sees us?
Self-image is a topic that seems to be important to most, if not all of us, judging by blogs and books I’ve read lately. Just yesterday, Narelle Atkins posted a book review on Too Pretty, a story about two people used to living life based on their looks – and little else. And a few days ago, Staci Stallings posted about how she’s finally able to be who God created her to be, no longer trying to live someone else’s life.
Shattered Image follows a young woman who has left a successful life in the spotlight to help teens grasp who they truly are in God’s eyes, and a young man launching what becomes a very successful singing career. Both grapple with the issues of who society says they are, who they think they are, and who God says they are. Falling in love outside of the spotlight was easy, but keeping that love alive amidst the hype of celebrity, the death of a loved one, and the ever-present glare of the spotlight looks to be impossible. Stay tuned – you’ll hear more about their struggle in the coming weeks as we get closer to launch day.
So to those who’ve asked if my stories are more inspiration than romance, or vice versa, I say – YES!
Which element do you prefer most in the books you read? Do you like a solid mix, or heavier one way or the other?