Contemporary Romance Writer: What’s Your Inspiration?

Over at my author page on the Simon & Schuster website, someone in the editorial department wrote a blurb (great word, that!) about my debut novel, Wish You Were Here.*

Within the blurb is this phrase: “WYWH … is sure to be a pleasure to inspirational romance readers.”


Yes, it’s true: WYWH is categorized as an inspirational contemporary romance because, well, God is mentioned in my book — and not  as a swear word. My characters don’t have it all together as far as faith is concerned. I wanted to portray a realistic view of people’s relationships with God and, from personal experience, I find we often walk around with misconceptions about God.

OK, I’ll speak for myself. I walked around with misconceptions about God. I probably still do.

So, yes, I am a contemporary romance writer. And, yes, part of my inspiration is my faith … and how it has affected me. And how I’ve seen others affected by faith or the lack of it, or the struggle to come to terms with God.

Here’s one of my fundamental beliefs: We all put our faith in something. Someone.

And writers — yes, even contemporary romance writers who aren’t labeled “inspirational” — are inspired by something they believe in. Or maybe something they’ve lost faith in. They wrestle with truth. And lies. Good and evil. Why and why not.

In Your Words: When considering a book, does the word “inspirational” pull you toward a book or away from it? Reader or writer, what inspires you?

* Apologies for the “No Image Available” icon for Wish You Were Here. The art department at Howard Books, the faith line for S&S, has created a wonderful cover for WYWH. You’ll see it soon!


I recommend: My friend, Camille Eide’s e-book, Savanna’s Gift, is available on Amazon for the amazing price of 99 cents! I’m reading this wonderful Christmas romance and savoring the story of second chances set during the Christmas season. Give yourself a gift this December and read Savanna’s Gift.

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  1. December 1, 2011, 7:53 am   /  Reply

    Yes, inspirational novels definitely draw me in, especially since I too like to write about God and people’s relationship with Him.

    What inspires me? The knowledge that even in the midst of a great sorrow, we are never alone, that God is right there giving us mysterious joy. I’ve experienced it myself and love seeing it demonstrated in a novel.

  2. December 1, 2011, 8:10 am   /  Reply

    I’m a big fan of inspirational romance. As a Christian, I like reading stories about characters wrestling with faith issues as I do. I want to walk alongside of them as they live their lives and learn to draw closer to the Lord in the midst of the inevitable trials in life. They serve as examples. Of course, I don’t want the Christian message to be so strong that it takes over the story. I prefer it to be organic, woven into the very fabric of the tale.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:03 pm   /  Reply

      I like how you said that, Keli: You like the faith message to be “organic, woven into the very fabric of the tale.”

  3. Loree Huebner
    December 1, 2011, 9:20 am   /  Reply

    I gravitate toward inspirational. but it really depends on my mood. I love when people overcome difficulties knowing that God was there with them, or finding Him there in the midst. In this respect, I also love reading rags to riches autobiographies. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:04 pm   /  Reply

      I agree, truth is stranger than fiction.
      And I love to see people (real or fictional) wrestling with who God is — and who He isn’t.

  4. December 1, 2011, 9:52 am   /  Reply

    I’m definitely drawn to a book with the word “inspirational” on it. No matter how much I think I know God, there’s always a new truth to discover…or an old truth that needs to be resurrected.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:04 pm   /  Reply

      So true, Sarah. New truths to discover, or old truths to be remembered.

  5. December 1, 2011, 10:35 am   /  Reply

    My faith walk and how it shapes life experiences definitely inspires me. I think that can’t help but come out in my writing, whether directly or indirectly.

    I also really like how you used “inspiration” here. Sometimes if I hear something is “inspirational,” then I sort of equate it with “motivational”…as in, inspiration for the reader. But you’re bringing it back to the writer and talking about the inspiration behind the story/writing. I’ve never thought about it that way….cool!

    As always, can’t wait to read your book!

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:06 pm   /  Reply

      And I can’t wait to read your book(s) too, Melissa!
      I truly believe every writer is inspired by something they believe in … and if you read closely enough, you’ll discover what it is.

  6. Jeanne T
    December 1, 2011, 1:15 pm   /  Reply

    Enjoyed this post, Beth. It made me think about the many things that inspire authors. And people.

    For me, I tend to b more drawn to read books that are “inspirational” because I like the “God-thread”. I also know I won’t have to worry about what’s going into the “image center” of my mind.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:08 pm   /  Reply

      I agree, Jeanne. And I do think there needs to be discernment in what we read/watch/listen to.
      That said, it’s also good to have my viewpoint challenged — widened, so to speak. Which is why I sometimes veer of the path of my “regularly scheduled reading.”

  7. December 1, 2011, 2:46 pm   /  Reply

    I’m with you, Beth–everyone believes in something, even if it’s a belief in the lack of faith.

    Loving your blog, friend!

    • Beth Vogt
      December 1, 2011, 2:48 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you.

  8. December 2, 2011, 1:42 pm   /  Reply

    I like the double meaning you’ve give the word “inspirational.” Beth. I think the term “Christian” fiction seems to mean something different to people than “inspirational,” and often carries a limited and sometimes negative definition. But “inspirational” echoes that organic sense Keli mentioned. I was pleased to hear an editor use the phrase “organically woven” when reading one of my manuscripts, because I had worked (and still work) very hard to bring faith into the story overtly through the gut of the character, like real folks do. I appreciate when the faith element is central (but not preachy) to the story, and not tacked on. When promoting or discussing my work I feel the need to say “inspirational” so there is no confusion about what the reader is getting. Yes, faith in God and his inspiration, his motivation, his fathomless grace are key to what I write and I don’t want to mislead anyone.

    • December 2, 2011, 10:32 pm   /  Reply

      ….aaaaand forgot to say thanks for the recommendation, Beth. Hope you enjoy it!

      • Beth Vogt
        December 3, 2011, 8:17 am   /  Reply

        I am so loving your book, Savanna’s Gift, Camille. It’s a sweet read of forgiveness.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 3, 2011, 8:16 am   /  Reply

      The challenge of weaving my faith organically through the story — ah, yes. Still learning that. It’s a main focus of book 2. Something I will always be challenging myself to do better and better in a way that appeals to a reader, wherever they are on their faith journey.

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