I don’t suppose anyone can count the number of genres now available in fiction. I’m not the first person to use the expression Erotic Christian Romance to describe what I do, and I don’t doubt that there are differences between what I write and what others write. What follows is a discussion of the genre as I write it. I don’t doubt many will disagree and I’m happy to read comments from people with a different view.
I suppose I’d better start by saying that I am a Christian and have been for many years. It hasn’t always been straightforward and I certainly have had moments of serious doubt (and some of those moments lasted a long time) but in the end I believe in God and I believe that Jesus Christ told us better than anyone what God wants of us. And that, right there, is an invitation to dispute because many will say that that is simply not an acceptable definition of Christianity. To take just one point, I very carefully avoided saying that Jesus Christ is the son of God because I simply don’t know that – the Bible does not make clear that Jesus was His son in the way that human beings understand sonship. Yes, there are the stories of wise men and a donkey and the inn that was full and a manger, and very touching they can be when acted out in a primary school nativity play, but true? Literally true? I’m not so sure.
What I am sure of, is:
- that Christ in his lifetime taught us everything we need to know to follow God as God wants to be followed;
- that He died on the cross;
- that He rose from the dead;
- that the only way to explain the behaviour of disciples who until that moment had behaved with abject terror and after it were prepared to go about the world declaring fearlessly that Jesus was the son of God is that they saw Him.
So, having said all of that, why do I write what I call erotic Christian romance? We can be sure that God would approve of romance (or love as we may prefer to call it) but erotica? Would He approve of that? Well, we may be sure that He would not think much of a great deal of the erotica on sale in the world because it involves the use of force by one person on another. You won’t find anyone having sex under duress in Winging It or in my latest book, published yesterday: Pearl’s a Sinner. There’s a great deal of sex in both books and I don’t draw a veil over the activities – you know exactly who is doing what to whom because I tell you. But there is not a single moment when the person on what we may call the receiving end is not a willing participant. And I think God would be entirely understanding of sex entered into willingly, because that is something He gave us. It was not necessary for the procreation of the race for mating to be enjoyable. The pleasure of sex was granted us by God (with the purpose, in my view, of bringing us closer together) and therefore something that should make us feel joy.
Erotic Christian Romance needs to be more than just a romance between a Christian woman and a Christian man with a bit of sex thrown in to titillate. Erotic Christian Romance needs to have a purpose which is essentially Christian. What separates Winging It and Pearl’s a Sinner from run of the mill erotica is what it leads to. Jimmy, the protagonist of Winging It, leads a life of sexual dissolution (and with men as often as with women, so if you don’t want to read about what men do in bed with other men then please don’t open this book) but in the end God calls to him and he answers. The eponymous Pearl, rebelling against her narrow upbringing in a dissenting Christian sect, also goes completely off the rails and, once again, finds her way back to God and experiences human love as God intended her to.
I had emails after Winging It was published telling me that I was a disgrace to Christ and His church (no one ever indicated which particular church they had in mind) and that I was simply wrong: that God would not forgive some of the things (and particularly some of the things involving other men) that Jimmy had done. I don’t doubt that I’ll get more now that Pearl’s a Sinner is out. I understand why people make these protests but I think they are wrong. Christianity is not a difficult religion to understand; it stands on only two pillars and they are both simple: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul; and You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Provided that they turn to God in sorrow and repentance for their sins, any sinner can be forgiven – so long as they have made those two commands the central rules by which they have lived. There is no need to hang around people’s necks all the rules of prohibition and command that have accumulated in the two millennia since Christ lived and died.
Many, many people will disagree with me and some will want to do so with abuse. Feel free. The Comments box is below. Say whatever you like. I’m a big girl now and I can take it.
If you want to try Pearl’s a Sinner it is available here, at present for Kindle only (and if you’re a Prime user you can download it into your Kindle subscription library). The paperback version will be out within the next two or three days. And if you haven’t yet come across Winging It, it’s here. And just in case you didn’t get the message about what’s between the covers, perhaps you’d better take a look at what’s on them: