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!
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
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
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
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!
- 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
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
And another lucky person can win:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
The first four novels in The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy in paperback
The rules are simple, my friends!
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.
Collect all the clues and submit the full phrase at the last blog stop via the linked form to enter the giveaway.
While you’re at each stop, be sure to comment, as each comment wins you another entry in the Blog Tour Giveaway.
Deadline for entries is Monday, January 31st, at 10 AM Pacific Standard Time.
Your clue for today is...
And now onto the next stop!
Just in case you missed it...
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,
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