My first romance novel contains no kissing. That poor couple never got to seal the dawning of their happily ever after with true love’s kiss.
I didn’t set out to write a kiss-free book. In the back of my mind, I knew they’d probably have to have that moment, and I was working up to it. But when I got to the point in the story where a kiss could have gone, I balked and settled for a warm hug.
Why did I skip the smooch? It was a combination of several things. Probably a large part of it was because I was so shy about it that I couldn’t bring myself to write a kissing scene. It sounds silly now, but that’s a snapshot of where I was at that point in my writing journey.
Kissing is a big deal for me. The first person I ever kissed was my husband. Our first kiss was a major milestone in our relationship, and I’ve probably carried that into my writing. Kissing is fraught with meaning for my characters.
All the Feels Without the Kissing?
The romance novels that sparked my love for the genre contained very little kissing, or none at all. I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan and got all the swoony feels from her books. I haven’t read her entire catalogue, but the ones I’ve come across are convincing and emotional high stakes love stories, even without kissing scenes.
Modern readers expect some kissing, though, and most contemporary Christian romance I’ve read has the couple kiss at least once. I love it most when kisses are substantial turning points in their relationship, or the crowning moment of the couple’s deeply emotional journey.
Since my first book, I’ve gone beyond my shyness. In my second book, Pushing Past the Pain, I included three — count ‘em, three — on-page kisses. And there’s been lip on lip contact in all my other books. (Last year I wrote a novella with no kiss, but it’s unpublished now because I wasn’t entirely happy with it, for reasons that had nothing to do with the lack of osculation.)
I occasionally wonder whether I should go back and sprinkle a kiss or two into that first book of mine. But I’ve decided to leave it as is. The ebook version of my no-kiss book is free on all retailers if you want to check it out.
If you’re an author, do you find kissing scenes as hard to write as I do? And if you’re a reader, how important is it to have the couple kiss on the page in romance?
I’ll pick two random commenters on Friday June 18 to get an electronic copy of Pushing Past the Pain, my most kissy book.