People sometimes ask me what's the difference between a Christian story [White Rose] and a sweet story. [Sweetheart Rose]. I know this is because at TWRP we will go beyond the boundaries of traditional CBA guidelines, and so some authors think that White Rose is really nothing more than a "clean" romance--hence the confusion between White Rose and Sweetheart. However, a White Rose is more than just a clean romance. Yes, the romance is there. Yes, we will allow our hero to drink a glass of wine with dinner. Yes, the hero and heroine may spend the night alone together--chastely, of course--if the plot warrants it (maybe they are on the run from villain and have no choice), but a White Rose has to convey a Christian message, no matter how subtle. Characters in a White Rose must be Christian--or discovering Christianity as the plot develops.
Tough issues such as death, addictions, pre-marital sex, can be addressed, but they have to be addressed from a Christian world view. That means that anything which opposes traditional Christian teaching cannot be construed as OK. Maybe your heroine did get pregnant before she got married, but it's got to be in the backstory, and she's got to have already figured out that her behaviour was wrong (the pre-marital sex, not having the baby.) We want to see those tough issues handled if they can be wrapped around an emotionally compelling romance.
Then, there are the people who basically ask if they can write a secular novel, but then just have the characters go to church a couple of times, or pray once in a while. Christians FROG (fully rely on God) to guide them in their lives. This entails a little more than a once-a-week trip to holy ground and a quick, "God help me," sprinkled in. Being Christian puts a person in a different mind-set; that character will react differently than a non-Christian, will think differently. This should shine through in an inspirational romance. The personality of the character should emanate his/her faith--without being didactic.
So, White Roses are not just clean romances where the character says a quick prayer before meals. White Roses are stories of faith-filled or struggling Christians finding their soulmate. For complete guidelines, visit our main website.