Today author, Ola Nubi is going to talk to us about inspirational romance.
I stumbled into writing romance by chance and thought it was a challenge I would like to try. I decided from the onset, having been reared on M &Bs from the time I was a teen, that now I was a Christian I would like to allow my faith in God to reflect how the characters in my stories face the challenges of life, living and the choices that they have to make to fulfil their God given destiny.
About 12 years ago, I was inspired by reading Francine Rivers Redeeming love; where she turned the Biblical story of a God fearing prophet who married a prostitute in order to turn her life around, into a poignant and powerful love story, set during the time of the Californian Gold rush in the 1840s.
Inspirational romance – is one of the fastest growing genres in America, a trend that is yet to catch up here in the UK. It is very similar to a typical romance novel in plot and formula but it has some significant distinctions.
The Christian romance novel uses many references to Christianity and faith. The main character may use prayer or scripture to try to solve problems. Values such as love, faith, commitment and marriage are upheld. While the characters don’t typically have pre-marital sex, if this does happen, the writer must show how this affects the plot and the characters.
Real marriage sometimes involves rows, dirty nappies, money and in-law problems, show the wife wearing her pyjamas instead of a sexy negligee, show the husband trying to wrestle with the temptation to have an affair or maybe the wife etc.
If the couple are single show how they are having problems as they try and stay away from pre-marital sex or how the heroine deals with the fact that she hasn’t had a date for five years because of her beliefs mean that most guys feel that her standards are too high.
One of the difficulties of writing inspirational fiction is that a lot of the action is implied – left to the reader’s imagination. Instead of describing detailed lovemaking between the characters, you might imply it as follows:
He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom and closed the door.
Next morning, they giggled across the breakfast table like newlyweds, holding hands and exchanging long looks. Mimi, their six year old daughter was observant as she played with her cornflakes.
“Mummy. Why did we wake up so late this morning?”
Her Mother looks slightly distracted as looks up from her plate.
Her Father grins, his eyes connecting with his wife as they both remember the night before.
It takes skill and practice to craft and plot a modern romance without the explicit sex scenes. Christian publisher’s guidelines are pretty clear about this and if you want to go into this kind of writing it makes sense to adhere to them.
At the same time the writer must make sure that your characters are not judgemental or preachy because you need readers to identify with them. Remember that the characters are not meant to be perfect –they are just ordinary people who have decided to let God guide them in making decisions when it comes to the matter of life and love. Ultimately that’s what romance is all about.
My next novel – Lewis, Lessons and love is more women’s fiction than inspirational and my work in progress – Coming Home is a sweet old fashioned romance. My latest romance My Mr Right is a sweet old fashioned romance based on one of Jane Austen novels – due to be published later this year.
Ola has been featured in this anthology: