Not long after I started writing in 2011, I purchased a Kindle and began reading mainstream romance novels. These novels did not skimp on sensuality and graphic scenes, but I was so caught up in the stories that I continued reading them. Naturally, what I read influenced how I wrote. At first, I was like, “what will my mom think (if I wrote like that)?” But after a while, I stopped worrying about what anyone thought. I just wrote what was in my imagination, keeping a few core values.
I self-published Never Let Go in November of 2014, after three years of hard work and countless lessons in fiction writing. For the most part, the book was sweet and clean. However, I did include a few steamy scenes, just to keep in step with the market.
Having crossed that barrier, I felt no qualms about writing numerous love scenes in my second novel, Never Fall. It really wasn’t my style of writing, but I knew my readers would appreciate the more “adult” read.
A week before Never Fall released, my husband and I were in a multi-vehicle car collision which killed a woman in another car. We walked away with only aches and pains, but I was left traumatized. I experienced severe anxiety and depression well into the following year. The less-than-stellar launch of Never Fall didn’t help matters.
My reading patterns shifted during that low period of my life. I began reading Christian fiction and ended up falling in love with it. I thought to myself, “Why am I not writing like this?” As a lifelong Christian, it made sense.
Over the course of that year (2016), I felt like God was impressing upon my heart to change how I wrote. I’d begun writing Never Change, my third book, but the words weren’t flowing. It became obvious I needed to take a step back and do some soul searching.
Joining ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) as well as a local Bible Study Fellowship group changed me in so many ways! I finally had direction, though the process over the next year would not be a simple one. The few chapters I’d written for Never Change were revised to take out sensual scenes and I continued writing the rest of the book “clean”. Then I realized I needed to alter Never Let Go and Never Fall.
Maybe this all sounds crazy, and I’ll admit it’s been a challenge. But it matters to me that my books reflect who I am. I want to entertain my readers with beautiful love stories, but I’m choosing to do it in a way that fits me and my convictions.