Monday, March 4, 2019

The Nobility of Writing Christian Romance by Annette M. Irby

Groom and Bride*

Do you write romance? Do you read romance?

Recently here on Seriously Write, we had a well-known, award-winning, best-selling visitor who shared tips for writing romance, and once again, I considered why this is a strong genre choice. (See Linda Goodnight's post here.) Sales are higher for this genre, sure, but for me there’s a deeper heart-level connection: symbolism.  

Like with other aspects of God’s design of love and commitment between a man and a woman, romance has gotten distorted. Perhaps that's why I've heard some writers and readers dismiss the genre as fluff or worse, smut. Blanket statements. I’ll admit, I felt a little defensive. Like with any other field, we don't all belong in the same category.

As Christians we are taught to be “be ready with an answer,” and I think this applies to our choices as well as our beliefs. They’re related, yes? I’ve considered this question: why do I gravitate toward writing romance? I thought I'd share my answer with you.

Decades ago, I got a hold of a non-fiction book that changed my life. I’d heard that believers are the Bride of Christ, and I was intrigued. What did that mean? As a married woman and a long-time Christian, I wanted to learn more. Was there an aspect of our relationship with God that few explored (especially to that time)? Julie Meyer, a worshiper from the International House of Prayer, sings a lyric: “Lovers always find what others give up searching for.” Were there facets of God’s character that were best seen through the lens of our identity as His Bride? And did He want us to seek not only His face, but His heart?

During a post-Christmas visit to a Christian bookstore, I happened upon The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. Have you read it? I highly recommend it. This is one of those books that gets you thinking. You’ll relate and you’ll question and you’ll grow. And when you question, if you ask Him, He may confirm the wild ideas that come to mind on this journey.  

Since then, and through various sources, including my own Bible studying, worshiping, church attending, praying, and encounters with Him, I’ve learned that God does indeed woo people. He’s a passionate God. I saw the parallels in His creation of people’s romantic relationships. I felt Him drawing me. And I wanted to share those ideas with others. As a writer, I had an outlet. I could use the symbolism He created in fictional story lines. 

My fiction occasionally teeters on the line between women’s fiction and romance, but I’m always thinking about how God romances us. He’s personal (He knows the number of hairs our on heads). He’s invested (Jesus’ sacrifice). He’s committed (He’s a covenant God). He’s passionate (what a sacrifice). He’s determined. (Nothing could deter Him from the cross.) Do those sound like good qualities for the hero of a story? Of course, we can't make our heroes out as Messiahs. And there’s the other sideheroines. But there is so much for my imagination to work with. So, so much. 

As a reader, I've found subtle, life-giving messages while reading Christian romance novels. Messages that helped me through a challenging time, or caused me to close the book and worship, letting Jesus touch my heart. That's a priceless connection we can offer our readers.

If you haven’t yet, ask yourself, why do I write the genre(s) I write? Why do I read the genres I read? What attracts me to them? As a writer, what themes keep coming up that this genre allows me to explore? Asking myself those questions has led me to a stronger belief in my genre. When a theme is close to God’s heart, there is nobility in intentionally and thoughtfully exploring it in our fiction.  (Tweet that!)

So, how about it? Why do you write your chosen genre(s)?

New Release: 

FL on Whidbey Island

Could what drove them apart be what draws them back together?

Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable.

Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever.

Will addressing the past together help them find love?


Washington Island Romance series


Annette M. Irby**
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. Her book, Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington, finaled in the Selah Contest in 2019. Flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:
BookBub: or @AnnetteMIrby
Amazon Author Page:  
Book Review Blog:

* Photo credit couple:

** author photo credit: Sarah Irby