Friday, October 11, 2019

Confessions of a Christian Romance Author by Dawn Kinzer

Photo of fall leaves and a silver heart

Confessions of a Christian Romance Author

I never set out to write romance.

I realize now that I feared going there—because going there meant being vulnerable.

I planned to write women’s fiction—stories that focused on female relationships and today’s issues. You know—the easy stuff! (Just kidding about the easy part.)

But, one day my critique partners, Annette Irby and Ocieanna Fleiss, set me straight. They told me I might as well accept it—I was a romance writer. At first, I balked at the idea, but once I stopped lying to myself, I actually gained freedom in writing.

That being said, I still find myself hesitating when asked, “What do you write?”

People who read nonfiction sometimes look at Christian romance novels as fluff and not worth their time. People who read secular romance may question how Christianity and romance fit. I try to explain without rambling, but I don’t always do a stellar job.

Recently, I went to the hair salon I’ve used for many years, but since my technician had left to pursue her dream job, I’d made an appointment with someone recommended. I recognized the woman about my age—she’d worked at that salon for about as long as I’d been going there.

A friendly, social person, she wanted to learn a little bit about me, and here’s how it went down.

“Do you have the day off?” she asked.

“No, I work from home. I’m just taking a break.”

She applied color to my hair. “Oh, what do you do?”

“I’m a freelance editor and writer.”

“What do you write?” An anticipated question.

I took a breath and decided to go for it. “I write Christian romance novels.”


She finished her task and left me to wait alone until the rinse.

What was I to think? Yep—that.

The technician returned and led me to the sink. I was shocked when her testimony poured out.

She shared some of what she’d gone through over the years—tough stuff. But, at one point, she’d become a Christian, and the Lord had changed her life and also her daughter’s.

I was amazed at some of the similarities in our personal journeys. I’ve been a Christian my entire life, but we had faced similar challenges. As I became more vulnerable, she did as well, and I learned more.

Before I left the salon that day, she hugged me. We both felt unexpectedly blessed and encouraged as we parted.

I was reminded that if I let fear of being misunderstood, of being rejected, of being laughed at—or fear of anything else—direct how I act, I’m in danger of cheating the people I encounter and myself.

There is no fear in love.
1 John 4:18 (NIV)

As Christian writers, we pour our hearts into writing because we love God, and we care about his people. We also love the written word.

I write fiction because I truly believe story can change lives. But, in order to impact others, there are times when we need to be honest—vulnerable—unafraid, especially if God has called us to write.

Out of love, be bold in your writing and be proud that you have a passion to write Christian fiction—including romance.

Has there ever been a time when you didn’t know how to respond to this question: What do you write?

In order to impact others, there are times when we need to be honest—vulnerable—unafraid, especially if God has called us to write. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters

Releasing Nov. 25
By All Appearances
Pre-order the E-book Now!

By All Appearances

Liana Tate, a special events planner grew up in a high-profile family. No matter what she does, Liana feels she never measures up.

Bryan Langley, a talented musician, was close to signing a recording contract when a barn fire left part of his face severely burned. He survived, but his career did not.

When Liana’s father hires Bryan as a caretaker on the family estate outside of Seattle, Liana’s and Bryan’s lives become entangled. He risks public humiliation for Liana’s success, and she encourages him to use his musical gifts, despite his reluctance. Thrown together, will they achieve their elusive dreams? And will the two find the love and acceptance they yearn for, or will their actions only drive each other away?

Dawn Kinzer
Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and her own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. She co-hosts and writes for Seriously Write. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, Hope’s Design is the second, and Rebecca’s Song completes the trilogy. Her first contemporary romance, By All Appearances, will be released in November 2019.

A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.

You can connect and learn more about Dawn and her books by visiting these online sites: Author Website, Faithfully Write Editing, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page, and Goodreads.


  1. Love this post, Dawn! I often get stuck on the first question: What do you do? I also believe stories change lives. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    1. Hi, Gail! Yes, isn't it interesting that we can get stuck on those questions? It's difficult to be bold sometimes and just admit that we're writers. Maybe it comes down to believing people don't understand what goes into our work and that what we do is valid.

  2. Yes! Yes! There are times when we need to be vulnerable in order to impact our writing. Great message.

    1. Thanks for letting me know that you can relate, Melissa!

  3. I can so relate, Dawn! People often haven't even heard of our genre. We Christian romance writers can get grouped in with romance writers whose genre doesn't glorify God. That can make us feel defensive, or at least I have. I agree with another element you touched on that I think gets overlooked--value. My life has been changed while reading a romance because the author included God in such a way that the words connected with me, in my pain. That's takeaway! Thanks for sharing this experience and for the encouragement. (And a high-five to my McCritters!)

    1. Yes! Stories that include romance can also be filled with thought-provoking and life-changing story lines. The genre doesn't have to mean that the book is "sweet" or filled with graphic scenes that make some people uncomfortable.

  4. This is a great post, Dawn! This part got me, because it's so true: "People who read nonfiction sometimes look at Christian romance novels as fluff and not worth their time." That's so frustrating.

    Jesus told parables, stories that illustrated a significant truth without lecturing, but with that truth embedded as an integral part of the story. When we're writing fiction, we're writing modern-day parables. We arefully embed truth as a natural part of our stories. Inspirational Christian fiction can be just as convicting and as likely to lead someone to Christ as non-fiction, maybe more so, because of the story element. It worked for Jesus.

    No matter the genre or type of writing we engage in, the Lord moves hearts and minds. When we allow him to direct us to the type of literature he wants us to write, he has that goal in mind. Those reviews from people who have been moved and who have changed because of our fiction are SO encouraging!

    1. Yes, Melinda! I often refer to the fact that Jesus used parables to get his point across! People relate to stories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouragement!

  5. Your post hits me where I live, Dawn! There's always been almost a "stigma" with writing Christian romance, almost as though we're not talented enough to write something "more serious" or impactful. I can admit that even now, after multiple published novels, I still hesitate to tell someone I write romance. I usually start with, "I write Christian fiction." I'm more than happy to proclaim I write about faith. When I add "romance" into the mix, it's like I feel a hidden push to say something like, "but it's not fluff." SIGH. How silly is that? What Annette said is true. Sadly, a lot of so-called "Christian" romance is neither one of those things, and we're all lumped together in the minds of many readers. And yes, it does make us defensive. I suppose the biggest issue I've faced is the "preachiness" aspect of Christian romance and whether a book contains too little or too much in terms of spiritual content. In my opinion, that's personal to every author and reader. Bottom line: I consider it a true honor and privilege to be called to write Christian romance, and I will continue to follow God's leading and know I'm honoring Him and touching hearts. Blessings, and thank you for a thought-provoking post!

  6. Thanks so much for your comments, JoAnn! I've also just said that I write Christian fiction - and then felt like I needed to even explain that more! LOL! I wish I didn't sometimes feel like I needed to defend it. Working on that! What we write is not fluff. We work hard at bringing meaningful, engaging stories to our readers, and we should be proud that we're using our gifts to share our faith and God's love and grace. Not to mention hope!

  7. I'm late chiming in today, but had to tell you that I loved your post, Dawn!! I also can relate to many of your statements.

    When I first began my writing journey (after being a teacher for many years) I was a bit hesitant to tell people I'm a writer - - especially of Christian romance. But as I've been assured over and over that this is truly my calling in this season of my life, it's gotten a bit easier to reply to questions about what I do and what I write.

    Thank you so much for sharing this today!! Another reason I love this blog - - we can encourage AND be encouraged! :)
    Blessings, Patti Jo

    1. Thanks so much for popping in, Patti Jo! I'm glad you found my experience and words encouraging. It's nice to know that so many relate to what I've experienced!

  8. I totally get this! Saying I write romance trips me up too. It's something I constantly struggle with. Not with readers and writer friends but with my church friends, where I also work. The word vulnerable hits me because romance is so vulnerable, and it's why I love to write it. I probably have some issues to work on...

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Sondra! I think we get tripped up because of what the word "romance" brings to mind for some people. At least when they think of novels. We may worry that they might think the story is overly sweet with no depth - or it's too sensual. Yet, Christian romance can include with strong characters and story lines, as well filled with relatable spiritual struggles. We need to encourage each other in being bold about what we write because we have an important role in Christian literature.


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