I traded emails last week with an editor at a small publishing house who wanted to know more about “Signs and Wonders.” So I sent off the first chapter and we continued to exchange emails.
Eventually, the editor asked if the novel had any romance in it — she was the editor of a line of Christian romance novels.
No, I told the editor, and the story didn’t lend itself to a romantic subplot. I do have future novels in mind with romance in them, but this isn’t one of them.
And so that was that. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make, not that the discussion at any time was close to becoming a publishing deal.
Turning the novel into a romance would have gotten away from the main reason I wrote it in the first place. I wanted to tell the story of someone forced to re-examine the core of their faith and figure out what it really means to have faith. There are tons and tons of Christian romance novels — many of them featuring the Amish — and I wanted to give readers something different.
So stay true to the instinct that led you to start writing your novel. Well-meaning people will offer advice and critiques and most of them will be very helpful. Just don’t forget why you started writing in the first place.