Creating Realistic Characters in a Christian Romance Novel

Posted by on May 27, 2015 | 2 comments

Creating Realistic Characters in a Christian Romance Novel

This week we take a look at some practical tips on creating characters that make a Christian romance novels believable. Christian romance writers have the great privilege of revealing the greatest love story of all, the love of God for humankind, and telling it through the characters we create. 



Wandering Wednesdays

I’m a romantic. I write romance. I read romance. I look at life with a view of love and happily ever after. In spite of occasional criticism, I hold to my excitement over stories of love and happiness that lasts forever.

My heart has been broken. I have friends whose marriages have fallen apart, and some who live in the misery of a messy marriage relationship. I feel blessed to be married to the love of my life, realizing that in today’s world not many can say that. So why do I cling to romantic ideas when more than half of marriages don’t last.

I believe God was the first proponent of romance. One of the most romantic lines I know is Genesis 2:23, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh ….” Adam recognized that the woman God made for him was special, created to be part of him. Unlike any other being on the face of the earth, she was able to complete him as close as it gets this side of heaven. She was to be his primary relationship, only superseded by God, for as long as he lived. They could be completely open and vulnerable with each other, physically and emotionally.

Many people refuse to read Christian romance. The main reason seems to be a feeling that it’s not realistic. They can’t identify with perfect characters. So what can Christian authors do to make their stories and characters believable and meaningful to readers? I did some research and came up with a few tips for romance writers to reach the hearts of readers.

  1. Know scripture well and write from a biblical worldview that can impact readers spiritually. The story must be entertaining and subtle enough that a non-Christian can be drawn in because the story draws them in. Make biblical principles the backbone of the relationships and decisions. As a writer, our relationship with God must be on solid ground if we hope to lead our readers to see love as God intended it to be.
  1. Create imperfect characters who stumble, fall, and struggle to get up. Show them learning that love is a choice, not a feeling, and sometimes it is just messy and plain hard work. Marriage is a lifetime commitment that God intended to withstand any assault.
  1. All characters need not all be Christians, though the main characters should be by the end of the book. Their primary relationship and fulfillment needs to come from God, not another person. God created romance and our characters should experience His love and demonstrate it to others as well.
  1. Make God the hero of the story, and reveal through your characters that faith is an integral part of life, not just church on Sunday and arrow prayers in emergencies. The greatest romance of all should develop through the character’s crisis of faith as they come to terms with God.
  1. Create plots that involve friendship, respect, loyalty, and tension over issues that people struggle with in the real world. It’s okay to show real temptations. It’s okay, in fact preferable, to show the character’s doubts and mistakes.
  1. Stories with a happy ending are the hallmark of the romance genre, but don’t give the impression that things become perfect as soon as the vows are said. Make it clear that while relationships are not flawless, commitment to Christ provides a basis to work through problems and creates a strong foundation to ensure marriages can survive hard times.

Readers of Christian romance need to see people they identify with facing the same problems that afflict characters in a non-Christian book, but solving them with scriptural principles. One of the main tasks of a Christian author is to present the gospel in a way that entertains, while pointing the way to truth in an uncompromising manner. By the end of the book, the points of a gospel presentation need to be made in an understandable way.

As literature, along with other forms of entertainment becomes colored by worldly ideas, Christian literature of all genres needs to stand strong in affirming that God makes a difference. Christian authors are missionaries to a hurting world where many look on faith and love as fairy tales. They need to be shown that God’s standards for love and marriage still exist and work well, even in a fallen world. Readers need to see romance as the creation of a loving God who wants to bless them with relationships that are deeply satisfying and last a lifetime.

© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, May 22, 2015

About the author:

Norma - LoMD 2014Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico released in April 2014. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 19 years. Her devotionals, poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.

Connect with Norma:


Book trailer:







Book Links:


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Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Bookstore:


  1. LOVED this: “Christian authors are missionaries to a hurting world where many look on faith and love as fairy tales.” So true! Pinned and tweeted! Blessings! Great topic to write on!

    • Thank you, Bonnie! You are an encourager!

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