Saturday, September 27, 2008

Inspirational vs. Clean Romance

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.


Rhonda Gibson said...

Great post! Thanks for explaining this.

Anonymous said...

Non-fiction Inspirational Christian Romance: "Her Letters from Prison"
I (Heather Heaton) am recommending my new ebook ("Her Letters from Prison") as a motivational resource for reading pleasure, review, contemplation, and comment. My ebook will validate your inquisitive doubts about what goes on in women’s prisons; it can justify the efforts spent toward ministries to women’s prisons; and it can be an inspirational (tell-it-like-it-is) resource for drug rehab/prevention programs. The book is non-fiction inspirational Christian romance (It is what it is!); and the original letters are included as images for authenticity. You can go to and purchase “Her Letters from Prison”, Parts 1 and 2.

If you don’t happen to own a Kindle, Nook, or some other eReader device, then download the FREE Adobe Digital Editions software to your computer to read the “epub” version of my ebook as purchased from Smashwords. Multiple versions of my ebook are available on Smashwords.

I am a 34 year old college student trying to better my life, in spite of the baggage I carry from my previous life. To date, I have been quite successful in accomplishing this goal; and I will use the proceeds from the book to help support myself. My picture is posted, with my book descriptions, at Smashwords. I can be contacted using email at

My recently published ebook is entitled ("Her Letters from Prison: Part 1 & Part 2", by Heather Heaton). The ebook was published at Smashwords ( A brief description of the ebook follows:
1. Breanna tells the true story of her experiences in prison through her letters to her friend Heath. This is a story of survival and a quest to make a better life. The letters describe the daily shocking events of prison life involving drugs, sex, utter devastation and humiliation, anger, hopelessness, despair, and finally happiness and hope.

2. Breanna's "truth" stands still even as the world around her trembles and burns! Bad things do happen to good people; and Breanna is the perfect example of this truth.

3. Breanna's inner strengths and principles eventually win out over the corruption and evil that surrounds her. With God's help, Breanna survives the horrible experiences of prison life and regains her self-confidence and hope for a better life.

4. "Breanna" was an inmate at Tutwiler Women's Prison from 2007 to 2009.

5. "Breanna" benefitted from women's prison ministries and the LIFE Tech-Wetumpka state-funded self-help program.

Heather Heaton

Customer/Reader Review of “Her Letters from Prison”
Heather, ever since you first contacted me about your ebooks (and when I received them) I have been giving them traction. At least two women on my case load checked them out, (like a library card so I would get them back) and were very moved by the content. I haven’t had another problem with their behavior since they read them. So…I know they are working. They should be required reading, ordered by a Judge before women are sentenced to probation, so that they would fully understand the consequences of their behavior. The coverage by
Gary Parsons
Parole Officer
State of Alabama – Board of Pardons & Parole