Saturday, May 16, 2009

Married Couples' Romance

As a married woman, I like to read about married couples who enjoy romance or who reheat romance in their relationship. How about you?

My husband and I have been married nearly 18 years and from all our history I drew elements for my White Rose novella “Love Letters.” Honestly, a lot of the negative characteristics in each character are my own. (grin) Hey, write what you know, right? But for the most part I just expanded on a way I’ve felt in the past. (And of course some of the elements are completely imagined.)

But here’s what I wasn’t expecting. As married folks read the book, people from church, friends, etc. I hadn’t expected them to say, “Oh, I could so relate with that.” Or, “How did you know?” We often feel so alone in our trials, and we imagine we’re all alone. But fiction bridges the gap to our isolation and demonstrates we have fellow ‘strandees’ who are right there with us, struggling, hoping for help to arrive.

Wahoo for the ministerial value. (grin)

I’ve been reading Christian fiction for about fourteen years. My favorite genre? Romance! So when I started writing fiction, this was the genre I felt somewhat confident tackling. At this point, I don’t always write married couple’s romance; just a couple of my manuscripts have centered on them. But I’ve enjoyed the freedom the stories allowed and ‘relatability.’

Usually, fiction about a married couple is considered women’s fiction because the over-arching plot is about the heroine’s growth as a woman, even if she is married. If romance is included, it’s a thread, a subplot, not the main plot. But in “Love Letters” I wanted to explore what would happen in a couple’s life (married 10 years) if romance was revisited after a long absence. What if the husband was avoiding strong emotions, afraid he’d be abusive (due to his father’s example of a husband) and so avoided every strong emotion? The couple has twins, but they suffer lack of expressed love.

Jordan Ambrose is looking for passion. From her husband. And, as Randy Ambrose will tell you—she’s great at pushing his buttons. The problem? He’s hiding out from any intense emotions. So their love life is lackluster. Well, except for those letters.

Jordan discovered a box of love letters in her husband’s home office closet. Why doesn’t he act like the “R” from the letters, so clearly written to “J”? If she can drag him away from his writing desk, they can talk about it. But will Randy stop hiding and love with abandon?

One of the other elements I enjoy in writing married’s romance is the sizzle factor. “Love Letters” is rated “sensual” on Wild Rose’s site because I did include a love scene (briefly and wholesomely). But because my characters were married, this wasn’t off limits in my inspirational fiction. (I agree with the passion standards of inspirational fiction, btw.) I felt bringing in this aspect made the story feel real, and that it was in keeping with showing the behind-the-scenes struggles this couple faced. And the victory in the end as they each grew in their love for each other.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you like reading a romantic thread about (or entire novel devoted to) a married couple and their quest to rekindle romance in their lives? If you’ve read one recently, please leave a comment with the book’s name. I’d love to read more.

Happy reading (and writing)!



Annette M. Irby said...

I'll start. :) Julie Lessman's "A Passion Most Pure" includes a married couple, but they weren't the central figures. Still, Julie wrote beautifully and believably about their relationship.

Your turn!


Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Annette. Yes, A Passion Most Pure involves a married couple and the same couple is carried through in book 2 - A Passion Redeemed, which I've just finished reading - and they're also in book 3 - A Passion Denied, which I'm reading now.

A Passion Denied has another married couple - the main characters of book 2 - but in this book they really 'sizzle' to use your words. But it's not for the entertainment factor. As a newly married couple expecting a baby, they share the same problems I went through with my hubby.

Julie admitted on the Seekerville blog just this past week that a reader labelled A Passion Denied as smut. I can only believe this person is either a hypocrite or lacking passion in their own life.

I am moved by Julie's books - real people with real problems - emotional, spoiritual and yes, even physical.

I'm looking forward to reading your book as well.

Cami Checketts said...

I read "A Time to Dance" by Karen Kingsbury about a married couple who really struggles and bawled through the entire novel!
I often have a married couple as a subplot in my novels.
I can't wait to read your book.
Thanks for posting,

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

I love reading romance and married romance is so wonderful. I loved Julie's A Passion Redeemed.

In my own Tempered novels, the main characters in the first book, Craig and Tamera show up in 2 of the others - their passion for each other has not dimmed over the years. Then in book 4, the young couple from book 3 share continue to sharie their passion with the reader as does the couple in book 2 - and that's all I'm going to tell you LOL!

Your book has been added to my 'to buy' list along with about a dozen others LOL!

Great post.


Annette M. Irby said...

Great comments, ladies. I agree. Julie portrayed real people honestly in all three of her Daughters of Boston series so far. I'll have to check into Karen's book. I enjoy her work, but you're right, Cami, you gotta keep the tissues handy. :)

Fun discussion!