What is clean romance? I guess everyone has their own definition, but for me it means romance I could recommend to anyone--including my daughter, my mother-in-law, and the young women I know at church.
For most of my life, I underestimated the power of romance novels. I certainly never saw myself writing one. When I did get an idea to write a romance, I resisted the urge to write. I didn’t want to be a “romance writer.” But the idea wouldn’t leave my head, so I wrote it just for fun. As I wrote, I began to see how important clean romance is. I experienced the difficulty of finding clean romance writers to be my role models. There aren’t all that many of us. At the same time, I watched teenage girls devouring chick lit. Some of them read more than a book a day. I saw adult women carrying stacks of romance novels from the library. Whether or not I liked it, romance was influencing the world around me. That’s when I decided that if I have anything to do with it, romance will be a voice for virtue. Think about it: more than any other type of literature, clean romance exemplifies the values of chastity and self-control. It teaches young women to see themselves as more than objects.
Some say that if romance is clean you are not doing it right. In contrast, I believe the most beautiful love stories are about quirky characters who maintain high moral standards. One aspect of Jane Austen novels that intrigues me is her brilliant heroines. One of my favorite characters is Elizabeth Bennet. I love her wit and the message that intelligent, witty women can gain much more in life than those who throw themselves at men and devalue themselves. Elizabeth’s strength captivates Mr. Darcy so much that when he describes his feelings for her he says, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” No passion is missing in this novel. If anything, writing clean romance forces the authors to think even harder of how to articulate the feelings of their characters.
So my questions for you are:
Who is your favorite clean romance heroine?
What is it about the story that captivates you?
And what is your favorite line in the book?