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I often get asked what I write, and when I say, “I write Inspirational Historical Romances” I often get blank stares. So I thought I’d explain exactly what is a Christian Historical Romance.
This also could be called “Christian” but that doesn’t exactly tell you what to expect, so this means:
- Generally, at least one of the main character(s) will already be or will become a Christian. It is a part of their character.
- Judeo-Christian values are upheld. Such as curse words are hardly ever printed, so if a character cusses, the author will find a way to tell you that the character cursed without actually writing down the words. And if the characters do curse, it is not looked upon as a good thing. Things that are considered sin happen in the stories, but they are not glorified and the consequences of those sins are usually displayed in the story.
- There will be a spiritual thread in the story. Whether it’s a character learning how to forgive others, how to respect others or learning about Jesus–there will be some Biblical teaching present. Whether the topic is preachy or subliminal depends on the author. This does not necessarily mean every character converts to Christianity in the story, but that often does show up in this type of book.
Well, this one is pretty easy. Historical in literature means the author is writing about a time prior to the generation of majority of readers. (Jane Austen would have written contemporary because she was writing about her own times.) Right now, anything prior to Vietnam is usually considered historical and present day novels are contemporary. Between Vietnam and Today? It’s sort of in limbo right now!
Some historical authors love period detail and events so you’ll get a lot of history lessons embedded in the story; some authors are more focused on the story itself to discuss much beyond what personally affects their characters in history.
This, I believe, is the hardest for people to put together with “Christian.” My mother actually thought I was writing the little books with half-naked Fabios on the cover for awhile, and bless her, she kept her reservations to herself. Ha! She now knows that is NOT what I write.
- A romance means you will have a Hero and a Heroine, you will see the story through the eyes of the people falling in love. There may be other main characters whose stories you see, but these two points of view are necessary to be called a Romance.
- The hero and heroine’s love story is integral to the plot. If you take out the love story, the story falls apart. I LOVE the movie Robin Hood (with Russel Crowe) because the romance in the movie is so wonderful–BUT it is not a romance (rather it has a romantic element), because if you took out Robin Hood’s love story, the story doesn’t fall apart.
- Christian Romance means that it is a clean romance (no naked Fabios!). If characters have sex, the author will not describe it in a graphic manner. How graphic or sweet the descriptions are depends on the author. An Amish Romance is going to lean WAY to the sweet side, Julie Lessman leans the other way. 🙂 However, the bedroom door shuts on any love-making scenes. Also, Judeo-Christian values are upheld, so sex outside of marriage, etc. will be portrayed as missing God’s best.
So what way do I lean?
- I’m probably middle of the road on the spiritual thread. I’m not so preachy as to make a character spout off long-winded sermons out of nowhere that seem out of place or unbelievable. But they aren’t so subliminal you’d miss them either.
- On the history, I admit to hating history in school, but I love the aura. I’m probably never going to take you through the detailed political dealings behind the French and Indian War or anything. My books focus on the story–so don’t expect to use my novels for supplemental homeschool history material!
- Romance? I love the emotional aspect of a romance. The agony of plucking daisy petals trying to figure out if the person “loves them” or “loves them not” makes the best romances for me. And I hate it when you reach the end of a Christian Romance and they tell each other they love each other and I think, “if they didn’t tell me that, I never would have known, because I didn’t feel it!” I try to write a lot of internal emotional romantic tension.
- Character-wise: I often write characters who believe they can’t be loved. I identify with that in so many ways. I go through periods in my life where I don’t believe any one could love me, anyone should want to be my friend, or God means it when he says he loves me unconditionally. I struggle to believe I can be worthy of the love God, my family, my children or my spouse have already given me. So I hope my stories will not only bring understanding and happily ever afters for my characters, but readers as well.