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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Romance Q&A Pt. 4: Love Songs, Heroines, & Christian Content

This just might be my last installment, guys! I'm out of questions now, so unless y'all have more (BRING 'EM ON!), I'll be taking a break from romancifying y'all for a while!

Seriously, though, I am so excited about this mostly-final post! Kayti, Rylie, and Riley's questions were PHEMONENAL, and even though I've included my usual amount of rambling (y'all see now how I was able to write a 200k novel), I hope I've offered some helpful tips and tricks! Thank y'all again for submitting so many fabulous questions! This has been SO fun!

(And it's also made me realize how little I actually know about things. Like, I have experience, but no "technical" knowledge, you know? So suffice to say I literally make these things up on the fly after examining how I've done things/seen things done before. *chuckles nervously* Hence why nothing makes sense.)


kayti's questions

How do you build romance between a character who is hardened/distant and one who is extremely tender? (If that makes sense)


Anyway, yes, that makes PERFECT sense, Kayti! In part because this is actually a very popular trope/dynamic in romances that pretty much everyone adores…but it can be tricky to pull off in a way that’s realistic, authentic, and healthy!

I think I’ll try and answer this two ways. First, we’ll go over common mistakes in writing sunshine x grumpy romances and how to avoid/fix them…then I’ll give y’all some examples from my own work! (Rina and Xavier are grumpy and sunshine, respectively, and so are Keaton and Daisy!)

Mistake #1: The characters are inauthentic. Your gruff hero is either too gruff and your fluffy heroine is too fluff. Or your hardened heroine isn’t so hard after all, and your gentle hero is just brutish as the next guy. Sometimes, balancing such starkly contrasting personalities can be difficult, especially when it comes to making their personalities shine without being forceful. The main problem is usually telling.

Instead of saying “He was a tough, cold man” or “She was so sweet to everyone and quiet as a churchmouse,” show your readers their personalities. Show the hero grunting rather than speaking, shrugging things off rather than facing them head-on, turning everything into a fight, or getting annoyed with everyone (especially the heroine). Show the heroine being gentle and calm with the hero, playing with kids, noticing little things that upset others that no one else would notice, sacrificing her time or money to help out, or being exactly what the hero’s been missing in his life.

On that note, you’ll have to balance what’s their personality and what’s baggage (so to speak). If they have a character arc and the other character influences them, some aspects will change–but not everything. Be aware of what’s innate to your character and what they learned through life experiences, and only change what’s necessary. They can be kind and thoughtful and still be as grumpy as heck. Or the tender character might develop some thicker skin, but she’s still gonna be compassionate and caring.

The best character development is done through exhibition, not explanation. And if you can lay a strong foundation for their characters early on, their dynamic will be stronger, their relationship will flow more smoothly, and their arcs will be spot-on!

Mistake #2: The romance is unrealistic. Opposites may attract, but like marries like–so to make a romantic relationship flow well and actually progress beyond “oh, they’re cute,” you need to establish a connection between the two characters. Whether it’s a physical connection (i.e., they work together on a project or she’s his children’s governess) or something more personal (i.e., they both are quiet or enjoy the outdoors), as long as you give your characters a reason to stick with it and see past their differences, you’ll find your romance becoming more real by the minute!

I highly recommend giving them some common ground on both a tangible and abstract level–they should share values, standards, and convictions, while also sharing interests and likes. No, they don’t need to be carbon copies, but they need to have something to talk about and relate to apart from the weather.

Mistake #3: Their relationship is unhealthy. In a similar vein, a relationship that is founded only on something superficial or on the surface isn’t going to end well, nor is one where one party gives and the other takes. With a sunshine x grumpy romance especially, it can often seem unbalanced. The grouchy, broken character is always taking comfort from the optimistic, compassionate character and only giving grief in return. Or the only reason the sunshine character likes the grumpy one is because they’re (1) good-looking or (2) a charity case or pet project.

They need to have a healthy relationship, where there is connection, change, and consideration. If you can avoid the first two mistakes–having flat characters that have no real connection to each other–then you should be able to knock out this last one by utilizing the characters’ commonalities and character arcs to make them into the partners they need to be. In most romances, their relationship is tied up into a neat bow at the end of a book, but even if you continue their story and leave room for improvement, you need to show a level of healthiness in their relationship before you wrap up the story–otherwise, why write about it and romanticize a relationship that visibly toxic?

For example, the sunshine character needs to see the grumpy character for who they truly are and love them unconditionally, inspiring change instead of fixing them (*coughs* otherwise you have a mother character like moi). And the grumpy character should learn to let their guard down and let others into their life to love and cherish them…and even though being grouchy can be part of their personality, they should also learn to respect and appreciate others and treat them well!

Now, for le exemple (BEWARE OF SPOILERS)…

Rina & Xavier. (Just gonna do them since this answer is already extremely long.) In Rina’s case, being grumpy was not part of her personality, but her way of adapting to and coping with grief (plus Xavier kinda ticked her off by upending her world, so I’d totally be smarting off at him too). And for Xavier, his sunshine tendencies came specifically from his kind, Christian heart…and he was seriously intrigued by and attracted to Rina right off the bat, so naturally he was gonna be nice to her. By identifying how and why their personalities were what they were, I could write them more strongly and authentically!

Their connection started off physically, since Xavier had been charged with bringing Rina back to her birth father, and therefore they were on the same ship together. But, they began to bond emotionally over family stories (they were both raised by pirate captains) and shared experiences (*cough* Xavier was a murderer too). By giving them common ground and having lots of character interactions, their relationship was given time to develop and blossom naturally. (I say naturally, but keep in mind that this book was only 25-ish chapters and 75k words, so I did do a little bit of rushing, but no more than is typical for most romances.)

Their change began when Xavier realized he couldn’t fix Rina and needed to let God work on her rather than (1) forcing his beliefs on her and (2) forcing her to like him back. (Granted, this was all in his head and he never really did any actual forcing.) Then, because Xavier had made headway in Rina’s life and prompted her to rethink some of her life decisions, she made an effort to do better and seek mercy and change, thereby finding it in the arms of Christ, thanks to her family’s and Xavier’s guidance. Once she was born again, she was able to work past her grief and rejoice rather than mourn. (Plus, she was reunited with her birth father and learned the truth about her past, which diminished most of her grief over her uncle’s death.) By allowing them a moment away from each other, they were both able to contemplate how they’d been treating one another and what their true feelings really were, and of course complete their character arcs for this novel, giving them a fresh, healthy start to their romantic relationship.

Hopefully all that makes sense! It’s actually really easy to work with this dynamic, because there is SO MUCH CHEMISTRY that can be developed when you create deep characters and establish an emotional connection, so if you can focus on giving them a great foundation and work towards a strong character arc, you’ll find the romance flowing perfectly!

How do you write a good romance from one POV? And it's the girl...(Rissy wanted to know this)

To be honest, I have never done this, and mainly because of how you do it (gimme a second and I’ll expound). Writing a single-POV romance from the heroine’s perspective is actually very common (AND works perfectly for love triangles), but I find it falls flat because I absolutely must have as many POVs as possible and fully develop literally every relationship and subplot.

However, such convoluted stories don’t work for everyone, and in many cases (like with YA/coming-of-age novels or a romantic subplot), you only need one POV to develop the romance smoothly and authentically.

So, to break it down for ya, here are the main things you’ll have to do to ensure your one-sided romance really works.

Focus on the heroine. Obviously…but also not-so-obviously. When you can’t get inside your love interest’s head, you don’t need to be pushing to flesh him out and give him this long story–you need to keep your focus on the main character, your heroine. Her arc, her backstory, her emotions, her thoughts, her ideas, her dynamic, her relationships, her experiences, her personality…that’s all that matters. The love interest is literally just a side character, as secondary as any other. So remember that. Don’t try to pour too much into your hero, or your story will feel incomplete.

Make your love interest perfect. Okay, okay, not really perfect–he needs a few flaws. But giving him too many flaws or trying to give him an arc will basically ruin your story. Your heroine will get lost in all the dude’s issues, and you’ll find yourself struggling to emphasize him as much as you can without including his POV–which is HARD. Instead, give him a strong, straightforward but unique personality that will shine through and stand out. Use him as a helper and “sidekick” for the heroine, guiding her and offering her something and helping further develop her and her character arc. For example, even though Xavier does have a POV in Held Captive, he honestly doesn’t need one. He doesn’t have a character arc, and he only serves to take attention from Rina, who is supposed to be the focal point of the story. Because of that, he falls flat as a hero, but he would’ve made a perfect love interest because of his bright personality and compatibility with Rina. Make sense?

Develop the dynamic. So you can’t really develop your love interest’s character without (1) including his POV or (2) convoluting the story and taking away the heroine’s spotlight…which means you’re gonna have to develop their dynamic instead. The dynamic is how the heroine and her love interest interact with each other, their chemistry, how they compare and contrast. Their interactions are going to reveal so much more about his character than trying to info-dump backstory is going to. Make sense? So focus on crafting a few extra scenes that showcase his personality and how he and the heroine interact, developing their relationship, rather than trying to develop his character. For example, one of my favorite dynamics is Keaton and Julius. (Yes, it’s just a bromance, but it’s so good.) Keaton has a POV, but Julius doesn’t, so it’s all “one-sided.” That said, Julius’ character comes through so strongly through his interactions with other characters, and by focusing on Keaton and how he sees Julius, I’m able to make their dynamic stronger and their relationship even better.

Include other characters. Like I mentioned with Julius, having other characters who know him and interact with him makes his character much more developed–which thereby makes his relationship with Keaton stronger. The same goes for your heroine and her love interest. Include other characters who lend insight into the love interest and help shape their relationship. (And that sums up my shortest tip ever…)

There’s a lot more that goes into writing a single-POV romance, but when it comes to making it strong and developed without it feeling incomplete or messy, these tips should give you a great foundation! (Hopefully. You can take it with a grain of salt since I don’t really have much experience with single-POV romances. Just drawing from observation, past mistakes, and whatnot. *winks*)

How do you blend a romance and redemption arch?

NOW, you have come to the right place, my dear! I could probably go on…and on…and on…and on…about this topic, because it’s (1) what I have ALWAYS written (for the most part) and (2) SUCH a multi-faceted aspect.

But, since I just TMIed you with a ton of info in my last two answers, I’m gonna stick to the main tip you’ll need when it comes to blending romance and redemption arcs.

(This one will surprise you.)

Drum roll, please…


*coughs* Yeah, that wasn’t surprising at all…and I know it seems like a no-duh…but I’m serious. So many romance-redemption combos are written like each aspect should be separate parts of the same story. Like, they can be blended into one book, but they shouldn’t be a direct result of each other, if that makes sense.

For example, you’ll find a lot of romances that have a bad-boy hero who works through his struggles on the side while dealing with a heroine who gives him a ton of crap but admits she’s attracted to him. OR a broken heroine who gets all her problems resolved in the background (with the help of secondary characters) but puts her relationship with the hero in the limelight. OR where one or both of the characters have issues but never really talk about them with each other or actually confront them in their relationship.

Guess what. That’s (1) unrealistic, (2) unhealthy, (3) not actually blending the two elements, and (4) just not a good idea story-wise.

To really and truly, and most important, accurately blend a romantic relationship with a redemption arc (or two) is to have them interact and correspond with each other. The heroine needs to witness the hero’s problems, the hero needs to see the heroine at her worst state, and together they need to build each other up, inspire one another, and be lights. No, they can’t be each other’s savior…but they do need to point each other to Christ.

They also need to be a driving force behind the redemption arc. Either the heroine gives the hero an ultimatum or the hero won’t pursue a relationship with the heroine because they’re unequally yoked (y’all please keep that in mind when writing redemption arc romances) or the hero wants to become “worthy” of the heroine… Whatever works for your story, of course, but as long as the romance actually plays a part in the redemption arc and vice versa.

*sighs* I just rambled my way through that, didn’t I? Here, lemme break it down.

  • Make the character’s (or characters’) struggles an active part of the story.

  • Reveal their problems/struggles to their potential love interest.

  • Use the love interest as a motivator in the redemption arc.

Make sense? Some AMAZING examples of books that accomplish this are ANYTHING by Julie Lessman! *winks* Y’all know I’ve gotta throw in the Romance Queen…but seriously. All of her novels include a spiritual redemption and/or growth arc…and they’re so well-done! In her upcoming release, A Hope and a Prayer, the heroine Hope provides the alcoholic hero Bren with, well, hope, and something to fight past his struggles for. She prays for and with him, always seeks the best for him, upholds her standards and sets boundaries for their friendship, and eventually offers an ultimatum when she fears she can’t trust him. In the end, Hope’s endless love and faith in God–as well as her refusal to bend–soften Bren’s heart to the prodding of the Holy Spirit!

(And, you know, same goes for my novels. *winks*)

These were great questions, Kayti! I hope my answers help! *grins*

rylie's questions

Ok, so I know there's Enemies to Lovers and Love Triangles as romantic tropes, but I was wondering, what other tropes are out there and what is your favorite trope to write? What is your least favorite trope to read? (cause I figured you won't be writing romance with tropes you don't like)

Let’s see, here’s a list for ya!

  • Friends-to-lovers

  • Forbidden love

  • Second chance

  • Marriage of convenience/arrangement/obligation

  • Secret identity

  • Royalty/billionaire

  • Small town

  • Good girl, bad boy

  • Sunshine x grumpy

  • Secret baby

And I could go on. There’s tropes for each type of romance (historical, contemporary, fantasy, YA, Harlequin, Love Inspired, etc.), and some tropes have tropes. *facepalm* It’s legit, peeps.

As for my favorite…ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As if y’all didn’t know or haven’t noticed yet…

I haven’t necessarily written a marriage of convenience/arrangement yet, BUT I know it’ll be one of my favorites when I do!!!

And I don’t mind love triangles either, but I go about them much differently than most people.

Now, my usual disclaimer…when it comes to least favorite tropes, it’s really hard to claim a certain one as a “least favorite.” Because I’ve read books with that trope that were extremely well-done and others that were just very poor. Same goes for my favorite tropes.

So, most of the time, I don’t particularly enjoy forbidden love, secret identity, secret baby, and second chance tropes. BUT, again, some of the best novels I’ve read employ these tropes in a fantastic way!

(All this said, there are TONS of other tropes that I like/dislike…these are really just some of the main ones.)

What does the bible say about romance?

Man, I could be here all day with this one…two of the main topics (yes, main) of the Bible are none other than love and marriage. From “love stories” like that of Jacob and Rachel, Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, Esther and Xerxes, David and *coughs* Michal/Bathsheba/Abigail, etc., to the greatest love story ever told–God and His people, Christ and His Church, the Bible is full of examples of romance and what it should (or shouldn’t, in some cases) look like.

To boil it all down, the Bible says that “love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a). It commands husbands to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25a). It reminds us that it is better to marry than burn with passion–for passion and sexual desires are a natural part of how God created us, but it should be reserved only for marriage (1 Cor. 7:9)!

It records God’s creation of and intentions for marriage–that the woman be a helper for the man (Gen. 2:18), that God has put the two together as one flesh and are not to be separated (Matt. 19:4-6), and that marriage is to be held in honor above all (Heb. 13:4).

Marriage is also used as a symbol of God’s relationship with us–that as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, God rejoices over His people (Is. 62:5), that we have been given to Him as a virgin bride (2 Cor. 11:2), and that we will be presented to Christ as His Bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). Of course, it’s also used in reference to God and the Jews, such as in the book of Hosea, Isaiah 62, Ezekiel 16, and multiple times throughout the book of Jeremiah.

BUT, whenever someone brings up romance in the Bible, my absolute favorite place to point them to (and one of my favorite books in the Bible period) is Song of Solomon. This book has it all–mushy poetry, physical attraction (yes, it’s biblical, believe it or not!), and beautiful declarations of love. Most importantly, however, it is a reflection of how God loves us, longs for us, and sees us as beautiful and worthy…and how we ought to seek after Him, yoking ourselves to Him eternally, and loving Him above all else!

(It’s also just a great reference if people start bashing romance and saying it’s evil.)

So there you have it, folks! That’s what the Bible says about romance–love, marriage, sex, etc.–in a nutshell!

You mentioned this as a question, but I want to know what YOU believe about romance in books.

I believe it can–and should–be God-honoring and healthy, giving readers an example of how God loves us and how a Godly romantic relationship should (or shouldn’t) be. It’s also a relationship like any other that deserves authentic, natural, genuine representation in fiction–especially beyond ticking off all the boxes on the “romance genre” list or being a tool for temptation/immorality.

I’ve also noticed in recent years–both in my life and the lives of other readers–how romance novels can have a deep impact on people. Now, I don’t mean a negative impact or influence (although, if you’re reading erotica, secular, or Harlequin novels, that’s exactly the case…but those also aren’t real romances; they’re the devil’s cheap version).

Personally, they’ve helped me strengthen my convictions and standards. They’ve given me examples of relationships I can learn from (y’all, I have learned a LOT about the importance of communication and honesty, lemme tell ya). They’ve prompted me to get deeper into the Word of God and seek Him in everything–especially romantic relationships. They’ve inspired me to grow as a person, specifically a potential partner/spouse for someone in the future.

And I’ve witnessed in other’s lives how they’re a reminder of God’s love, and are relatable and relevant for what a lot of readers are going through/struggling with in their personal lives. And this goes for anything in life…but it seems that romance, marriage, sex, love, etc., needs to be talked about more, because it’s a part of everyone’s life in some way, whether they ever marry or are in a relationship or not.

Make sense?

So that’s what I believe. What about you?

What is too much romance?

Is there such a thing? *gasps*

Seriously, though, I gotcha, girl, and there’s two ways I can answer this question.

First of all, having too many romance elements is definitely possible, and it’s when the story becomes repetitive and cheesy. What exactly is too many differs from story to story, author to author, but typically having one or two elements repeated three or more times in one book OR having one or two common tropes repeated in three or more books by the same author is typically repetitive to me.

Second, you can have too much sexual content (entirely different from romance in its essence, by the way), and for that, that’s when we (1) start to go outside of God’s boundaries (like sexual immorality, either glorifying it or just being gratuitous about it) and/or (2) writing explicit sex scenes. You can write non-sex scenes that are still romantic and what have you, and you can write about sex without actually describing it (“they made love” is my preferred way of putting it)...but once you cross that line and get detailed about it (even between a married couple), I’m gone. Fortunately, I’ve never heard of a Christian romance going that far.

(That said, some “Christian romances” have seemed to glorify or at least be “netural” about sexual immorality, and that is a BIG no-no.)

Otherwise, I’m not so sure you can have too much of it. *winks* There’s so much of it all around us–in our own lives and others–and it’s such an integral part of life itself! *cues “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”*

What is a Godly romance?

According to Grace’s Comprehensive Writer’s Dictionary: a romance novel and/or romantic relationship within a novel that provides the readers with a healthy example of a romantic relationship and brings glory and honor to God by following His precepts and exuding the traits Paul praises in Philippians 4:8.

And that can take many faces, but that’s the gist. That’s what readers should gain from the story, the takeaway, so to speak. That God has ordained marriage and blesses those who follow His commands, that sex is reserved for marriage and is beautiful within those bounds, that a threefold cord (God, man, and wife) is not easily broken, and that when you seek God and delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart–especially marriage to a spouse who loves Him with their whole heart.

What do you NOT include or read in books as a Christian?

LANGUAGE. Like, I know that was probably not what you were expecting me to yell at you, but let’s face it. I’m pretty lax on a lot of content–there’s plenty of violence, alcoholism, murder, piracy, prostitution, etc., in my books. All portrayed biblically, of course, and never glorified, but it’s there. And y’all know I love me some romance, so of course I can get mushy sometimes. Naturally, I enjoy reading other gritty but biblical Christian fiction!

But one thing I absolutely do not like–I will never include it nor do I approve of it in Christian fiction–is profanity. I hold to Philippians 4:8 and the many Scriptures that call profane speech, unwholesome talk, and swearing wrong.

I also don’t tolerate nor include explicit sexual content or even non-explicit content that glorifies immorality. I won’t shy away from issues like lust, rape, trafficking, premarital sex, etc., but it ain’t pretty, folks. Just like in real life.

Lastly, the BIGGEST no-no is homosexuality. If y’all have been following me on Instagram, y’all may have noted my *coughs* fiery opinions about that…but seriously. The Bible is quite clear about homosexuality being a sin–just like anything else–and therefore I don’t see it as something in need or deserving of “representation.” We don’t give murder represention or rape representation. Same goes for homosexuality. THAT SAID, I greatly appreciate Christian novels that actually talk about it biblically and boldly. Whether it’s like Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy that portrays a culture saturated with immorality and spotlights a beautiful redemption story or a novel that follows someone’s struggles through that sin–whatever the case, if you’re bringing glory and honor to God and you’re following His Word, BRING IT ON! Otherwise, no, thank you.

(And you can argue with me all. day. long. or say whatever you will, but you won’t change my mind. Trust me. The peeps on IG already tried, and I ain’t budging.)

So, yeah. Basically, I won’t include anything sinful. I’ll portray it (y’all can learn about the difference here), but I won’t glorify it or romanticize it. It’ll always be written from a biblical perspective, whatever the issue. Same goes for what I read!

riley's questions

How do you write a likable romance heroine that isn't basically letting the hero pull her along through the story? (A struggle I'm going through right now with my own WIP, XD)

Easy. Switch the focus onto the heroine.

Give the heroine a monumental decision to make…have her rescue the hero (emotionally and/or physically speaking)...put her in danger…make her fight…literally ANYTHING. Put her in direct conflict with a central aspect of the story or something.

That said, to me personally, it really isn’t what the heroine does that makes her likable or active in the story; it’s simply who she is. So many of my favorite heroines don’t really do anything grand—Ivy, Hope, Elsie, Lizzy, Ella, Em—they’re just themselves. Not focused on being the boss or the hero or getting into all kinds of trouble. They’re just unique, amazing girls who make a huge impact by helping the hero. Even if that means giving him a kick in the pants, they still help the hero, point him to the Lord, and inspire him to become a better man, one worthy of the heroine’s love.

That said (again), I LOVE a heroine redemption arc (Rina and Charity), in which the heroine is a boss, gets into trouble, and needs the hero to help her. Again, though, it’s not really about what these heroines do; it’s their internal struggles, their personalities, their flaws and redeeming qualities, etc., that make them shine.

So, start by creating a heroine who’s unique and makes an impact not by what she does but who she is—whether that’s a positive or negative impact. Then, give her some extra page time and put her in the spotlight to either showcase how she helps the hero or how the hero helps her!

Is there any song that, just, when you hear it, it gives you "waltzing around a ballroom with your dream guy (whether he's fictional or not, lol)" vibes?

For a minute, I didn’t think I could answer this question, BUT THEN.

I remembered.

My all-time favorite classical song that literally gives me the warm fuzzies and sweeps me away every time I hear it…

Fur Elise.

I don’t know why, but this song speaks to my soul and I adore it and it would be a dream come true to dance with my fictional-and/or-nonfictional dream guy.

What's your LEAST favorite romance trope?

If I had to pick one least favorite…probably forbidden love. There are a few forbidden love romances that are well-done, but only a few. To me, I just feel like this has potential but isn’t ever handled correctly. So perhaps it’s less than I dislike the trope and more that I dislike how it’s written.

Who are five of your favorite fictional couples? (besides the ones you've written. ;) Yes, I realize that probably made it 3 million times harder to answer.)

Dude, yes, it did!!! Let’s see…classically speaking, Scarlet and Rhett from Gone with the Wind and Lizzy and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Modernly speaking, Charity and Mitch from A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman and Beth and Sheridan from To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White and Ella and Jack from A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano. OH, and to make it an even six, Roxanne and Cassius from The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz!

Man, that was hard.

What's your favorite thing about romance in fiction?

WAIT. Only one?

No, seriously. I don’t think I can pick just one thing. Omgosh, girl. Gee whiz.

Okay, okay. Lemme try…

Probably just the romanticness of it. I know that’s such an obvious answer, but humor me. I love being swept away into a love story that’s beautiful and chaotic and heartrending and sweet and passionate and stressful (for me at least). I love getting so caught up in the emotions of the story, in the hearts of the characters, in the whirlwind of their relationship. I love shipping and fangirling and gushing and getting those warm fuzzies, you know?

It’s like Christmas…just more Valentine’s Day-ish.

(*groans* That stunk. But…that’s exactly it.)

So, yeah. My favorite thing is getting to be a part of something wonderful. It’s only fictional, but that’s the best I can do until I have an actual relationship.

(Anybody know any cute guys that are strangely reminiscent of Mr. Darcy? Because it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman who loves romance must be in want of a husband.)


What about y'all? Any favorite - or least favorite - tropes? Top romance recommendations? Additional advice? More questions? Feel free to gab it up in the comments!

I dunno about y'all, but this has been the most fun, and I've been so grateful for this opportunity to share all about one of my favorite things - and so astounded by how many AMAZING questions I've received!

If y'all've missed my previous posts, find them here, here, and here!

Thank y'all so much for joining me for this lovely Q&A (see what I did there?)! I hope y'all have enjoyed it as much as I have! If there's anything else y'all'd like to see full-length posts about, topics you want tips for, or an entirely different subject you'd like a Q&A for, just let me know!

yours in spirit and script,


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Joelle Stone
Aug 24, 2022

I kinda want to try a marriage-of-convenience just to pull something new off. XD

Great post! I came up with one more question: "What do you do when romance comes in to your book AND IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THERE?!!?" XD

Joelle Stone
Aug 25, 2022
Replying to

Awesome! Can't wait. :D


corrie s.p.
Aug 24, 2022

Also, I hate profanity and cussing as well. I really don't like them, never had. If I meet someone and they cuss it tends to turn me away from them even if they are a really nice person. I do have a couple friends with cussing problems, they don't do very much of it around me though and I try to see the love of Christ and look past that part and keep loving them though.

I also am entirely against homosexuality. Don't worry about me trying to change your mind on that. I do hate it when people put that in books.

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Aug 24, 2022
Replying to

Ah, yes. I totally understand, girl.

Whew, good. Same here.


corrie s.p.
Aug 24, 2022

Yeahhhp, Forbidden love. One topic I feel can be managed well but has so many ways of going wrong. For instance, making that certain love (whatever it is) forbidded just tempts people. Think back to creation, Adam and Eve in the garden. Humans are naturally inclined to want things we can't have. David and Bathsheba, Amnon and Tamar, ect.. Especially if the heroin or hero are young, young people tend to want to rebel since they do not have much experience.

I find that Enemies to Lovers works well if combined with Forbidden Love.

Excuse my little tiny crazy brain for putting this out there but I found one example of this is in the Warrior Cat books. (spoilers for…

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Aug 25, 2022
Replying to


Awww, that's so sweet!!


Saraina Whitney
Aug 22, 2022

"Opposites may attract, but like marries like." That is SUCH a great point!!! And I love what you said about the characters inspiring change instead of just fixing each other. There is most definitely a difference lol.

And amen, Julie Lessman's books are AMAZING examples of the romantic arc blending pretty seamlessly with the redemption arcs! 😍 (I can't wait to read A Hope and a Prayer!!!! I finished AWAAP a few days ago and absolutely loved it. SO GOOD!!!)

*sings Can You Feel the Love Tonight at your cue* Oh girl, I am with you - Fur Elise is so beautiful!!! Haha and I completely understand what you meant about reading romance being like Christmas, just more Valentine’s Day-ish.…

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Aug 23, 2022
Replying to

THANK YOU!!! (Credit for "like marries like" goes to Gone with the Wind, though. XD) Absolutely! And it's something I've been learning a lot about lately!

YES!!! (AHHH!!! You're gonna love it even more, believe me!!!)

LOL! It is!!!

You are SO welcome! It's my pleasure! Thank you for reading!!! <333333


Kaytlin Phillips
Kaytlin Phillips
Aug 22, 2022

Ack! Your answers are like incredibly helpful! Thank you so much...ack, I am doing something right! Yes! *fist pump* not messing this up as bad as I you so much for your advice, maybe I'll actually be able to finish this book...after I finish getting UF ready for publishing that is...but thank you a million time! I am going to be coming back to the post, this series of post when I need help with romance (no guarantee you won't be getting messages from me with pesky questions Wow! So much info...I! Thank you so much! As for a least favorite romance trope...probably gonna go with you on forbidden love. Lol... Awesome post series! I enjoyed gleaning from you wisdom.…

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Aug 23, 2022
Replying to

Absolutely! :D


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