Friday, February 23, 2007

Real Romance

My husband is a lucky man…. I went to the video store last night hoping to find a good movie for us to stay up late with. I came home empty-handed and went to bed early. Every movie I was even slightly interested in, we’d either already seen or was a “chick flick.” And there’s why my husband is so lucky. I rarely bring a chick flick home, and almost never do I ask him to watch one with me or take me to one (though he would because he’s sweet). Out of our vast DVD collection, I think we own maybe three that would be considered chick flicks.

I figure why subject my husband to them when I rarely enjoy them myself anymore? When I do watch today’s romance or romantic comedy, I’m usually disappointed, disgusted even. I’ll admit I get my fill of the genre by working on Heartsong and trying to keep up with what else is on the inspirational market. But mainly I just hate the way Hollywood typically portrays “romance” these days. No matter how great the story, I often find myself so annoyed with the characters for hopping into bed so casually that I end up not caring what happens to them. That’s why in our DVD collection and most things we choose to watch, if there is romance, it’s usually on the sidelines to good adventure, mystery, suspense, and/or comedy.

Working with teen girls at church and trying to help them battle all the world tells them is “right” about “love” leaves me with little tolerance for most movies’ (not to mention TV and secular publishing’s) mockery of God’s truth about real love and romance.

So, thank you, inspirational romance authors, who write great love stories that are based on God, who is love, and His undeniable Word. You make my work so meaningful, and I hope you realize how meaningful your work is, too. Lest you forget some days in the midst of writer's block or endless edits, here’s a little reminder from a letter I received from a reader awhile back:

“Dear Heartsong,

I would like to start by saying thank you. I have been reading romances off and on for years. I always had a relationship with God but I usually kept him at a distance. My daughter and I were at the library and found a lot of your books on a for-sale shelf….

Well I had never heard of a Christian romance book. So I looked them over and chose a few of them and bought them to read. Well let me tell you I haven’t been able to stop reading them to this day. These are the most awesome books I have ever owned and here is my blessing: My relationship with God has gotten so much stronger since I started and I also read my Bible more as well.

So I thought I should write and tell you what a change in my heart and peace of mind your books have helped me with. So thank you for publishing them and I look forward to buying more in the future.”


Mary Connealy said...

JoAnne, this is a great, beautiful post. I think the growth in Christian fiction is a direct result of the over the top, ridiculous portrayal of sex as love in movies, tv, books, etc. today.
I just think it's the modern day tragedy that sex has become so casual, so lacking in a connection and deeper meaning.
The worse it gets, the more market this is for Heartsong, because a lot of people are disgusted by it.

Carrie Turansky said...

JoAnne, thanks for this interesting post. I recently read a newspaper article that said it is very difficult for screenwriters to come up with good romantic movie plots today because the acceptatnce of premarital sex has taken away the mystery and passion that was common in the past. I think that's true for both movies and novels. That's one reason I love reading CBA books and writing for Barbour!

L. Harris said...

Wow, I so agree with your view of today's romantic comedy. I'm one who loves both the romance and the laughter of a great movie, but as you've pointed out it is so hard to find a really good one that doesn't make true love cheep. I want my own daughter to see love and romance the way God created it to be, and I'm thankful for Barbour's dedication to promote high quality stories that glorify Him!

Kristy Dykes said...

Great post! You said, "I’m usually disappointed, disgusted even...I often find myself so annoyed with the characters for hopping into bed..."

K: I agree. Thank you, JoAnne and Barbour, for producing quality romance novels. And thank you for letting me write for you. It's a privilege. I often get reader mail telling me how grateful they are to Barbour for producing stories that are "clean."

Lynette Sowell said...

I know what you mean. I love humor, but why dirty it up to make it marketable? I usually go to the web site to check out movies before going or renting. I don't like unwelcome surprises.

As far as books go, my mother was so happy to share novellas with her friends at church. They had NO idea there are books like this on the market.