• Grace A. Johnson

Guest Post: Why Christian Fiction CAN End with a Kiss by Kellyn Roth


Boy, am I excited for this post! I'm sure the moment y'all saw the title, you weren't the least bit surprised to see me posting on kissing in Christian fiction...but I'm not the one posting this time. Rather, Kellyn Roth is sharing her views, convictions, and opinions concerning kisses in Christian fiction with us in honor of the release of her latest historical romance, Beyond Her Calling!

I can't wait for y'all to read her perspective on one of my favorite topics (which I really wanna share my thoughts on too, but I won't steal Kell's spotlight *winks*) and to join the discussion below! We'd both love to hear your thoughts!

And, please, stick around for the end, y'all! Kell's hosting a giveaway AND a scavenger hunt for the Beyond Her Calling blog tour, and I've got all the details in today's post!

Now, without further ado, may I present Mrs. Kellyn Roth!

 

Hey folks!

First of all, thanks, Grace, for letting me come on your blog and talk about a subject near and dear to my heart. I really appreciate the opportunity, and having you participate in

my blog tour and getting to write for your blog (again!) has been a real treat!

Second, let’s talk about the subject line. Namely, why Christian fiction CAN end with a

kiss. Because I’ve heard some people saying it can’t—or at least shouldn’t—and, well, I

disagree. Politely and respectfully, and with regards to taste and different convictions, it

can be done. And in my romances, about 80% of the time, depending on the couple, it

WILL be done. ;-)

However, before I share my personal opinions and convictions in regards to physical

attraction and affection in romance, I want to speak for the other side. After all, that’s

only fair! Especially since this is a subjective subject.

At least, it’s subjective enough that I truly don’t believe there’s a right or wrong answer. I

frankly do disagree with those saying that there is an absolute “yes/no” answer in the

Bible that applies to all people when it comes to premarital kissing (just the kissing part,

mind you) and how that should be portrayed in fiction.. Also, what counts as ‘a kiss’ to

one person may just be an acknowledgement of relationship status to another, et cetera.

But I digress.

There are a lot of reasons why someone might feel convicted that Christian fiction

oughtn’t to including kissing, and there’s a lot of variety amongst these people in terms

of definitions.

Some people don’t want unmarried characters to kiss, sometimes it has more to do with

the level of commitment (and I totally agree with this one!), and sometimes it’s about

the detail involved in the kiss. Which I’m also down with because honestly sometimes

kiss scenes can be so gross. And I’m married, so you know I know. It’s one of those “do

what I say not what I do” situations. *coughs*

All that to say, regardless of your personal standards, you need to resolve upon your own

convictions, and I totally support that. This post is more an airing of my personal

boundaries and decisions.

All right? Awesome! So let’s talk about why Christian fiction can end with a kiss (for

real, this time).


1: Because kissing is a natural summary of a romantic relationship.


The human brain recognizes a type of shorthand when it comes to fiction, and the wise

writer uses it wisely. We know how real life works, but when it comes to stories, we have

a certain way we want to see things done.

Romances end with a kiss. A frequent watcher of movies or reader of romances will see

and recognize this.

Does that mean it’s necessary? No. Some readers may be disappointed, but you know

your own market. If your readers aren’t going to appreciate kissing at the end of your

book, you would know better than I do. (We must accept, every time we write a novel,

that it’s not for everyone, it shouldn’t be for everyone, and we can’t whine about that

simple fact.)

That said, when it comes to shorthand—and even, actually, longhand, if you will—you

have to admit that a kiss is a good summary of a romance. And from the viewpoint of

writing good books, it can’t be ignored as both the writing tool, the beautiful event, and

the union of souls that it is.


2: Because kissing before marriage isn’t really wrong—for most of us.


This is a personal conviction, but I have never found anything in Scripture that either

directly says sharing kisses before marriages, as a committed couple, is a bad thing—or

that vaguely implies it.

I’ve read some verses people say imply this, but first, I’ve never been a fan of saying that

something IMPLIES a truth rather than just SAYS it when God has always been pretty

straightforward with us—and second, put in context, most of these verses are speaking

of something completely different.

It’s led me to believe that, though some people may legitimately feel convicted to not

kiss (or hug or hold hands) before marriage with their significant other, I do not feel

even a smidgeon of doubt about my own convictions—I feel like it’s putting up another

fence around the perfectly fine boundaries God did establish for our safety and purity.

But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today, and I’m not trying to or expecting to

change anyone’s mind. I’m simply sharing my personal perspective!

That said … even if you believe kissing is 100% fine for all people, well, think about your characters. I’ve written characters who might be tempted to push things a bit too far, and therefore, I’ve told them to back off. (Did they listen? Well … *glares at Beyond Her Calling* Results may vary.)


3: It can be customized to fit the characters, plot, and era.


Specifically if you write historical fiction like me, but regardless of your genre, keep in mind what era you’re writing back, how your characters were raised, and so on.

That said, we sometimes put boundaries around historical figures that didn’t exist. They were human, too, and despite some societal rules being more strict … uh, I’ve found that kissing wasn’t one of them?

Yes, yes, lots and lots of religious circles in every era have had specific standards. Very

strict, often non-functional standards. (This is actually one of the main things I’ve heard

people tell me have driven them away from the church.)

But you can find a historical stories written during almost any era, depending again on

when you’re writing, during which a kiss or two will be mentioned. Usually tastefully,

which is a mark we should all have to hit, but still. Think of the Brontë sisters, for

instance! They were not unusual amongst their peers.

That said, be very careful that you’re not erasing history. If you’re writing a romance set

on the Mayflower and in Plymouth, uhhhh … well, you know. I think Puritans might be

the founders of purity culture, actually*.

*this was a joke—purity culture is a modern invention


4: ANY level of detail is optional.


In fact, why go into a lot of detail? What’s the point? Like I said, tasteful writing often

leaves out the more step-by-step descriptions, and that’s probably for the best.

Besides, if you haven’t kissed someone, it can be rather pointless to try to describe it

anyways. Not that it’s a super complicated, but that you might come off sounding a little silly, gross, or immature. It’s okay to just say, “they kissed” or even imply it. In fact, it’s a

test of your good writing skills.

I’ve heard quite a few people say that it’s possible that a kiss could put inappropriate,

lustful thoughts in someone’s mind. Well, it’s scientifically true that most women (e.g.

the vast majority of romance readers) are emotionally awakened by such things—but for

most, lust doesn’t enter the equation until repeated exposure of more shady materials

(steamy romances).

However, it may make some people uncomfortable, based on their background. That’s

okay. If you feel like it’s okay, they can stop reading.

And, for a slim few, it may cause inappropriate thoughts and feeling—if their brain fills

in the details for them. As someone who is more attuned to such things than most and

therefore did need to watch what I read when I was young, I know that the fault

eternally lies with me, not the author. If the human brain wants to sin, it will sin. You

could write as pure as the driven snow (my great-grandma used to say that, so I’m going

to use it) but STILL cause issues for someone who is giving themselves over to lust.

But is that your fault? No. It can’t be. Follow your personal convictions, pray about

everything you write (not just the sticky spots!), and let God take care of the rest.


5: It can also be a great opportunity to show Christian self-control.


One thing I really hate is this fallacy that Christians don’t have any self-control.

We have God’s Holy Spirit within us! We should be able to have control over our thoughts, feelings, and so on. It may not feel like it to some people (and I definitely understand the feeling of being out of control!), but it’s a lie Satan tells us to pull us away from God.

I’ll admit that one thing that does bother me about some aspects of chaperones and

courtship is that it allows little opportunity for Christian men and women to overcome

their sin natures, with the help of Jesus Christ.

In fact, when we are held in a plastic bubble, unable to even taste sin, we become bitter,

longing to take another bite into that apple. It’s much the same with various aspects of

parenting—when you give your children independence, you allow them to make the

choice to choose goodness. If you make that choice for them, they never learn the lesson

and never realize how good and holy God’s ways are.

There are no grandchildren in Heaven.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice for a lot of people. It just wasn’t the

right choice for me (and in my books, wouldn’t be the right choices for my characters).

But that is non-universal, and I’ve known a lot of people for which that really works.

But this applies to all aspects of Christian fiction writing. Let’s show our Christian

characters being faced with temptation, struggling, and expressing self-control!


Well, that’s my ramble. What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear myself

contradicted in the comments! After all, what is life without differing opinions? And

how better to be challenged to think through our convictions than to sharpen our iron

against that of our Christian brothers and sisters?


Thank you for your time!


TTFN!

- Kellyn Roth

 

About the Author

Kellyn Roth is a historical romance & women’s fiction author who writes about the empty places where hope has the most room to grow. Her novels include the inspirational Victorian family saga, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, and the Kees & Colliers series, which follows a broken family in the tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century.

Kellyn is a student of the Author Conservatory and a writing coach. When not building her author career, she is likely getting lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with her friends, watching period dramas and facetious comedies, or spending time with her husband.


 

About the Book

Ivy Knight feels that her life may never start. Though her loving family assures her that her place in the world is close to home, she still feels a push to move out of her comfort zone. Hoping against hope, she travels to her old friends at McCale House, seeking a purpose.

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. He fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he can’t be a good doctor, let alone a good man. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

When an old friend decides to travel to Keefmore and visit a relative, Ivy follows. She soon finds herself drawn to Jordy, but as their attraction grows, they both face doubts. A relationship between the two of them feels improbable—and might just require a step of impossible faith.

This novel is the fourth book in The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, a historical family saga.

 

Snag Your Copy

 

Giveaway

One lucky person will win:

  • Beyond Her Calling in paperback

  • The first three novels in Audible (audiobook) format

  • A painted ornament by Painted Prose Designs

  • Tea



 

Scavenger Hunt

And another lucky person can win:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card

  • The first four novels in The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy in paperback

  • Bookish socks


The rules are simple, my friends!

  1. Begin at Stop #1 and continue on to the final post. At the end of each post, you’ll find a CLUE and a LINK to the next stop. Progress to each stop in order.

  2. Collect all the clues and submit the full phrase at the last blog stop via the linked form to enter the giveaway.

  3. While you’re at each stop, be sure to comment, as each comment wins you another entry in the Blog Tour Giveaway.

  4. Deadline for entries is Monday, January 31st, at 10 AM Pacific Standard Time.

Your clue for today is...


way


And now onto the next stop!

Just in case you missed it...

 

The Tour

Missed the last few posts? Not to worry! Here's the full schedule!


Saturday, January 22nd

1 — Kickoff Post by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries

2 — “Why Christian Fiction is an Important Genre” — Guest Post Written for Jane Mouttet @ Library Lady’s Kid Lit

Sunday, January 23rd

3 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Hannah E.M. @ Precarious Bookstacks

4 — Interview with the Author by Grace A. Johnson @ Book Nations

Monday, January 24th

5 — A Post about Ivy & Jordy by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries

6 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Jane Mouttet @ Library Lady’s Kid Lit

7 — Interview with the Author & Review of Beyond Her Calling by Esther Jackson @ The Lost Review of Odd Books

Tuesday, January 25th

8 — “Handling Tough Topics with Respect to Historical Accuracy” — Guest Post Written for Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up in Writing

Wednesday, January 26th

9 — A Post about My Other Characters by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries

10 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Grace A. Johnson

Thursday, January 27th

11 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Vanessa Hall

12 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Hannah Killian @ The Writerly Worm

Friday, January 28th

13 — A Post about Scotland by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries

14 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Marguerite Martin Gray

15 — “Why Christian Fiction CAN End with a Kiss” — Guest Post Written for Grace A. Johnson

Saturday, January 29th

16 — “My Least Favorite Christian Fiction Tropes” — Guest Post Written for Merie Shen @ Imperial Scribis

17 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Megan Jones @ Why I Read

18 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Katja L. @ Old-Fashioned Book Love

19 — Review of Beyond Her Calling by Alexa Mintah @ Thus Far

20 — Final Post by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries

Monday, January 31st

Wrapup Post by Kellyn Roth @ Lilacs and Reveries



Yours in spirit and script,

Grace


#guestpost #kellynroth #blogtour #giveaway #scavengerhunt #beyondhercalling #kissing #kissscenes #writing #christianfiction #romance #writingromance

138 views16 comments

Recent Posts

See All