More than three dozen Christian romance authors discuss writing about love from a biblical perspective.

>> From our 2020 Christian Romance Special Collector’s Edition: CLICK HERE <<

Over the years, FamilyFiction has talked to a lot of Christian authors who all manner of romance fiction—ranging from contemporary romance and historical romance to romantic suspense and Amish romance. What are the unique challenges (or benefits) of writing “romances” from a biblical worldview? Find out what these authors had to say! Including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Tracie Peterson, Tamera Alexander, and more!

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Francine Rivers
I hope the stories I write will increase readers’ hunger and thirst for Jesus, and the characters will inspire them to be more like Him. It’s so easy to follow the ways of the world, to get sucked into following the herd rather than be among the flock. I want to encourage readers to trust in the Lord always and to remember only His Word is truth.

I know many people who won’t touch a Bible. You even mention reading one, and they raise their hands in protest. Those same people will read a novel. For some, it’s just a form of entertainment. They enjoy the characters and what happens to them and move on. But others feel a seed being planted and it begins to grow. Jesus used parables. Some never asked questions after He spoke. They just listened, were briefly entertained, possibly perplexed, and moved on. But the disciples and those willing to admit their hunger and thirst came to Him and asked: What do you mean by that? And He told them. Readers sometimes ask me questions about my stories. That gives me an opportunity to point to Jesus. It gives me a chance to tell them what I’ve learned. When you go into the Bible with an open heart and mind and ask God to speak to you, He does. He meets you right where you are.

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Karen Kingsbury
I really do love my readers, and I enjoy getting to know them and praying for their needs. For me, writing is a ministry first and foremost. You’re not just telling a story and walking away. You’re telling a story and dialoguing about how that story affected people.

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Becky Wade
The challenge: Keeping the story clean while also ensuring that it deals authentically with some of the struggles and temptations Christians face when they fall in love. The benefit: The opportunity to write stories about great love between men and women AND God’s great love for us—all wrapped up in a single novel.

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Carolyn Miller
I’ve long been fascinated by people and what makes them tick, so as a Christian author, I feel immensely privileged to be able to explore the inner workings of the heart through my stories. I want to create a world where readers long to be, for readers to be immersed in my stories, which for some novels has meant fairy tale-like aristocratic alpha males and grand English estates.

But I want my stories to be more than just good kisses, and so I aim to balance that by grounding the story in a sense of reality, and allowing space for real life questions to be answered. My characters deal with questions concerning identity, insecurities and the need for belonging that all humans face, and which allows for the God threads to be woven into the story that helps deal with such issues.

I love seeing how relationships develop, how personal challenges can be overcome through God and through healthy relationships that are based on a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. Exploring this through stories, particularly romance, is a wonderful way to use fiction to express God’s truths.

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Belle Calhoun
I feel so blessed that I can use my creative talents to share my faith with readers. Being able to move people in a spiritual way while satisfying their desire for a happily ever after is extremely gratifying. For me, the challenges have been the judgment my genre has received from authors who don’t understand Christian romance or its popularity. It’s hurtful because it feels like Christian authors are being looked down upon at times.

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Tracie Peterson
First, I get to shine the light on the love God has for each of us and His never-ending mercy. Fans have written to tell me the way God has used the books to change their lives, bring them back to God or even bring them to God for the first time. They might never have picked up a Bible or walked into a church, but they read a simple fiction novel and God used that to open their eyes to the truth of who He is. Second, I love history and very much enjoy learning about the various places and things that I choose to write about. And last, but not least, I love a happy ending and all of us need love from one another, but ultimately from God. I am so completely blessed to be a writer, but even more so to write for God.

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Jody Hedlund
Stories have POWER. Sunday school teachers and youth leaders know the power of stories to capture attention and move students. Parents know the power of stories to teach character lessons (think the story of the Boy Crying Wolf or of the Tortoise and the Hare). Pastors know the power of stories (through illustrations) to help us remember truths better. Jesus knew the power of stories, which is why he used them so often during his ministry on earth to relay truths (in all four gospels Jesus tells over 45 stories also known as parables). Stories have the power to teach us lessons and to bring us hope. And Christian fiction in particular has the power to point people to the true Giver of Hope.

While I try not to preach at my readers, I do weave faith themes through my books. My faith also motivates me to keep my stories ‘clean.’ I believe Christian fiction is a much-needed alternative, especially Christian romance. I got an email from a reader telling me she that she’d picked up several books and been really turned off by the explicitness within them, but that she didn’t realize the books contained such content until she started reading them. She wanted to know if there was a rating system or some way that she could tell if the book would be “clean” before she started reading. I was glad that I could point her to inspirational Christian fiction, that she would be guaranteed the sweet romance she desired.

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Dani Pettrey
I think showing the beautiful nuances of romance from a Christian mindset and delving into the glorious, pure love God created for us to enjoy as we fall in love and proceed in a way that keeps God first and as a couple grows in step with God’s plan and purposes for a man and a woman as they move into and experience marriage as He created it.

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Molly Jebber
Writing Amish historical romance, it’s understood that my books are faith-based. Mary Sue Seymour, previous owner of The Seymour Agency, gave me the best advice. She said “Write Amish and show their faith along with your conflict. You won’t be asked to add sex or bad language like you would if you wrote contemporary romance if you’re with one of the big six publishers.”

She was right. Kensington formed an in-house umbrella for Christian authors called “Kensington Bouquet,” and I have not been asked to compromise on these things. And I love being with Kensington.

Another benefit is I’ve been asked to speak to Christian groups about the Amish traditions and lifestyles which has been good for marketing my books and sharing what Jesus Christ means to me.

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Toni Shiloh
I love that I get to show romances as God intended it. Not without flaws but beautiful and able to glorify Him despite them. The challenge is knowing I can’t please everyone, and some people will disagree, but praying I wrote what God put on my heart.

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Tamera Alexander
I want to whet the reader’s appetite for a deeper relationship with Christ and therefore weave the power of Scripture into the fabric of all of my stories. Yes, I want the reader to be entertained, to laugh and cry (I don’t feel as if I’ve gotten my money’s worth from a story unless I do both), and for them to be swept up in the time and place, and in the character’s journey. But more than anything, I hope my stories stir that seed inside each of us that longs for a deeper relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

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Irene Hannon
I write from a Christian worldview, so all my stories are told through the lens of faith. Overt faith content tends to be on the subtle side, especially in my suspense novels, because I prefer to show my characters living their faith rather than talking about it.

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Carrie Turansky
Our Heavenly Father is the author of romance. He created it, and I enjoy showing how godly relationships are possible and rewarding. I write novels that can be enjoyed by women of all ages. I have many teen readers, so I always have them in mind when I write and keep the level of romance sweet and inspiring.

My novels include romance and so much more—heroic heroes, inspiring heroines, interesting settings, and unique occupations. These are the building blocks of a great inspirational romance novel.

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Susan May Warren
I love a Christian romance because it’s so much more than just about two people falling in love—It’s about how God loves us enough to show himself and his love through the people in our lives. He longs to delight our hearts and often he does it by putting the “one” into our lives to remind us how much he loves us. A Christian romance is one that touches the soul as well as the heart!

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Cecelia Dowdy
No sex. No steaminess. I think it’s natural for a man and woman to be attracted to each other and to think about….things…which can’t be mentioned in Christian fiction. At least they can’t be mentioned most of the time. Christian romances also show how folks can fall in love and have a faith element interwoven into the story. These are clean wholesome romances that folks can share with their grandchildren. These stories show the beauty of relationships that are not clouded by sexual overtones.

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Shelley Shepard Gray
I love writing stories about people that I’d like to know. I enjoy writing inspirational novels because I feel that adding a faith element makes each story richer and the characters more believable. It makes me happy when readers tell me that they were able to relate to my characters.

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Rachel Hauck
Weddings are the truest picture of love. After all, the end of the age cumulates with a wedding! Jesus and His Bride. Weddings are the ceremony where love is publicly declared. Commitments are made. Hope blooms. Families are formed. It seems weddings are a doorway into a new life. Two lives joining together to become one.

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Brenda Minton
I love writing stories that can be passed from a young teen daughter to a grandmother, without worrying that the content will be offensive. I also love the emails and messages telling me how the story helped a reader through a difficult situation.

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Kim Vogel Sawyer
Always, I want to tell a story that shows the reader ways to deepen his/her relationship with God. I hope my stories are entertaining and will carry the reader away to another time and place for a few enjoyable hours, but more than that, I want the stories to edify. When a reader tells me something in the story has opened her eyes to God in a new way, my heart sings.

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April Smith
I find the benefits of writing Christian fiction far outweigh the challenges. Before I start writing I try to ask myself what do I want my characters to learn? And what problems are they going to face on their journey? I then try to find verses from the Bible that would be applicable to my characters along the way. I can then later use them in my writing, and it is always fun to see what Bible verses pop into my mind why I’m in the brainstorming portion of the process.

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Amy Clipston
Since I’ve faced many hardships in my life with my husband’s chronic health problems, my books always contain a theme of second chances and renewed faith in God, and “Evergreen Love” is no different. I hope readers walk away from this novella with a belief in new beginnings and a deeper faith that God provides for us and will get us through the storms in our lives.

I believe storytelling is a way to relate to readers and I do my best to make my characters relatable. I always make sure that my characters have layers instead of being one dimensional, and like the rest of us, they aren’t perfect. They have problems, they make mistakes, and they struggle with universal issues, such as being estranged from family members, feeling as if they don’t fit in, suffering with grief after losing a loved one, or feeling disconnected from God. I believe these are issues most of us can relate to since we’ve all experienced loss, suffering, and hurt. I often draw on my own experiences and I recall how I felt when I struggled through these difficult seasons in my own life. In “Evergreen Love” Lorene and Ryan struggle with choices they made that caused the end of their relationship years ago. When they are reunited, they are forced to face the truth about the past. I hope that readers can see themselves in my characters and that my books give them hope and possibly even a deeper faith in God.

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michelle lindo riceMichelle Lindo-Rice
For me, my greatest challenge is keeping the intimacy appropriate for the readership. I tend to write  with a little heat but fortunately, I have a great spiritual editor in the form of the Holy Spirit and a wonderful writing partner to help temper certain situations. 

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Tessa Afshar
I try not to fall into the world’s concepts of romance, which tend to be physical and self-driven, rendering them superficial. The romances I try to capture in my novels are more complex. There is attraction. But there is so much more.

I often portray characters who are emotionally wounded, and in the entangling of those wounds, find their relationship threatened. Then the true romance begins! The one where God brings redemption, healing, and profound intimacy.

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Lori Copeland
Well, not everyone believes the Bible. Beliefs are as varied and diverse as strawberry ice cream and liver. I began my career in the secular market before entering the Christian market. I was miserable writing material that went against my beliefs.

It took many years and many long hours of prayer to have a door open for me in the Christian market. That door was Tyndale House Publishers and the first book was Faith. Tyndale has been a blessing because I can now help shape young readers by teaching pure love.

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Nicole Deese
I believe authenticity is the key to characters coming to life on the page. And, in my opinion, it’s also the key to writing a faith-based storyline that reads both heartfelt and pure. At times, it’s crucial for me to take a step back from my manuscript to ensure my author voice isn’t clouding the natural flow of dialogue between my characters. My goal is not to write a book full of inspirational wall quotes, it’s to write honest words that connect to the heart of my reader.

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Carolyne Aarsen
The benefit is that I’m able to write from every aspect of my beliefs and my personality. I’m a romantic who still believes in the redemptive power of love but I’m also a Christian who believes in the redemptive power of God’s love. The challenge is to be as realistic as possible–to show real struggles endured by real people and still show God working in their lives. But, at the same time, to bring the characters to a place where we, as readers, believe they can now move on into a richer deeper life.

I have been challenged on the happy ending that each of my stories has. Anyone who has lived on this Earth and spent time with other people or been in a relationship knows that life can deal us sorrow and heartbreak. There is brokenness and there is pain. Not everyone gets a “happy ever after.”

In fact, I would say that no one really does on this Earth. My husband and I have gone through our own valleys of grief, loss and dreams we’ve had to set aside. We’ve buried a child, dealt with serious illnesses, had financial struggles and disappointments and sat by dying parents’ bedsides. But at the same time, we can say that we have been richly blessed. There have been happy and amazing moments in our life’s stories as well. And, I hope, there will be many more.

I know my characters aren’t going to go on to a life without struggles, if they were real people (and sometimes to me they are). I like to say that instead, I have chosen to end the story at a positive and redemptive point in their life. I know I’ve had them in mine and that’s the ending I choose to give my hero and heroine.

I hope that the readers of my books are able to come along on the journey I take them with my characters and trust that I will take them, at least for this book, to a good place in my hero and heroine’s lives.

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Michelle Stimpson
I’m always careful to not send the message that finding a husband will solve all your problems. It’s a tricky thing! Both characters must have a life and a growing faith outside of each other.

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Lisa Wingate
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of history, the lives of people long gone, and the lessons they offer. Storytelling takes what is foreign and far away and makes it relevant through the experience of fictional characters. Through story, readers live those experiences with the characters. There’s great value in that.

Reading not only grows our understanding of the world, it fosters and strengthens our connection to the rest of humanity. As a writer, that’s the journey I travel with each story and it’s the experience I hope to pass along to readers, as well. For me, a good story, whether you read it or write it, becomes a life experience.

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Robin Lee Hatcher
In my women’s fiction, I’ve tackled some difficult topics–infidelity and forgiveness, alcoholism in a Christian home, marriage in crisis, etc. One reason I write about such things is because I’ve been there, done that—and through it all, God has shown me His amazing faithfulness. He has chosen to be yoked with me and to walk me through those dark valleys.

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Erica Vetsch
Writing from a Biblical worldview comes naturally to me, having been raised with Biblical truth since I was a child. I am always aware of the need to show the questions and doubts that we all have when it comes to spiritual things, and to show the answers revealed in Scripture to those doubts and questions. I firmly believe the world need more hope in their daily consumption of words and information, and that hope must be grounded in the truth of God’s Word.

I think humans are wired to respond to story. People engage with the emotions of story much more than facts and figures and statistics. If you can engage the emotions, you’ve opened the door to sharing information in a way that will resonate and linger with the reader. By allowing your reader to live the emotions of a character through storytelling, you also allow that reader to discover the truths the character is learning along the way. If you are a skillful storyteller, you can weave spiritual truth through a novel organically and not at all ‘preachy.’ At the very least, you can write in such a way as to make the reader ask questions about truth through the characters’ own questions and struggles.

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Kelly Irvin
I approach every story with a Christian world view. How can this story be a light shining in a dark world without being preachy? My first obligation always is to entertain. I want the readers to close the book and still be thinking about the characters and how their dilemmas are resolved. My characters are flawed, imperfect people, just like all of us. I strive to make my stories reflect how we all struggle in our faith at times. Life isn’t easy, but God is with us. Always.

From the time we’re small children, sitting on our parents’ laps, we are entranced by stories. They transport us to other places and times. Jesus told stories—parables—to help people understand who He was, how He wanted them to live, and what following Him would mean for them. Stories are an escape, enjoyment, recreation, and simply fun. But they’re also a means of provoking thought, stretching minds, and learning about ourselves and others. People can read stories and draw their own conclusions. Life would be so much less without storytelling.

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Kathleen Fuller
My faith influences everything I do. When I wrote “Wreathed in Love,” I wanted to tell the story of a couple who get a second chance. God give us more chances than we deserve!

Stories transport the reader into the reality of the characters and allow them to experience the world from a different perspective. Even though the characters are fictional, and the world isn’t tangible, it feels that way to the audience. Through the reading experience, they can consider truths in a way they never had before.

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Vannetta Chapman
I think my faith is integral to every story that I write. I firmly believe that God’s grace is what sees us through each day, gives us strength when we’re weak, and gives us hope when it’s hard to find.

In my opinion, we’re willing to consider new or different ideas in fiction that we wouldn’t consider otherwise. Say I’m 80 years old, and I’m feeling that I don’t have much to contribute. When I read a story about how an older person can bring kindness to another life, or fall in love, or try a new venture—then I am willing to consider that. I believe that fiction is a powerful tool for sharing our experiences.

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Amanda Barratt

Every book is written with the prayer for God to guide the words that I pen and to use those words for His honor and glory in the hearts of readers. With each book I write, God takes me on a journey, pouring out His grace and guidance when I feel most inadequate. My stories portray the very real brokenness present in the world today and throughout history, but each one is always painted with brushstrokes of hope. With God, we have the surest hope there is, sustaining us when faced with darkness and strengthening us to be messengers of His hope in the midst of that darkness.

Stories have tremendous power to reveal universal truths in an accessible way. By creating empathy with its characters, a novel gives us new eyes to see into our own hearts and into the hearts of those around us. Often we meet ourselves within its pages, even and especially in the characters who are the most multi-faceted and flawed. Mirrored in their brokenness is our own. Reflected in their souls is a glimpse of ours. When we see ourselves in a character, the truths and hard questions they face in the story become relevant to our own lives. When an author digs deep and allows themselves to be vulnerable on the page, those are the stories that resonate with readers, because they speak to our common humanity—a thing both individual and shared by us all.

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Heidi McCahan
I love writing novels with a happy ending. It makes my heart sing when I tell stories about people finding someone to love.

I think finding a fresh way to tell the story and creating characters that readers can relate to and root for will always be a challenge. I love the creative process and the many surprising lessons I learn throughout the experience of writing a novel.

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Pat Jeanne Davis
In a world that places so much value on the material and the external, I seek as a Christian author to give God preeminence by weaving Him into my story. In When Valleys Bloom Again, I show how a couple from a different social class fall in love and grow in step with God’s plan for them as they live through the trauma of war on the home front and the battlefield. Abby and Jim are drawn together and changed by this event, while their relationship grows in depth and beauty.

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Elizabeth Goddard
I love writing romance as a Christian author! The benefits far outweigh any perceived challenges. I get to write what I love to read and can explore characters with emotional and spiritual depth. The stories can reflect the true meaning of romance as God intended from the beginning.

The good news is that more readers are looking for “clean reads” and romances they can share with family members and children without concern. Christian romances offer deeper plots and more complex characters for a truly satisfying read.

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Charlotte Hubbard
As a very active choir member and Deacon in my Presbyterian congregation, I’m a big believer in being the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth—giving direct help to those who need it—which is also a value the Amish cherish. Also, I sometimes get story ideas from Sunday sermons, or I take note of scripture passages that would be relevant for the bishops and preachers in my books to use!

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Michelle Griep
It is my goal to seamlessly weave Biblical truth into my stories without beating the reader over the head with a Bible. Jesus told enormous truths in His little parables. I aim to do the same.

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