Thursday, August 18, 2011

Allie Pleiter on Kisses

A kiss is just a...?

Today I want to open a discussion.  I’d like to know what you, as readers of inspirational romance, think about a particular topic.  A plot element, if you will.  A kiss.

In my current work-in-progress, two characters are strongly attracted to one another.  Our heroine, a World War I Army nurse, has a strong faith despite being challenged in many directions at the moment.  Our hero hasn’t come to faith yet (but oh my, he will!), and is a all-too-sure-of-himself injured war hero.  He’s open, even insistent, about his attraction to her.  She has strong feelings toward him as well, but is careful not to let the relationship head into areas where it shouldn’t go.
If you read romance, you’ve no doubt figured out how the story ends.  
It’s the middle, however, that has be pondering.  Here’s my question:  will you, as a faithful reader, accept her letting him kiss her in a moment of weakness?  They have a significant discussion after the kiss about why it can’t happen again, and she asks him “not to press his advantage.”  He as a gentleman, complies (albeit reluctantly) until events and his awakening faith move the relationship dramatically forward later in the book.   They get their happy ending, but not before a lot of strife.
What’s your response to characters’ moment of weakness?  Are slip-ups part of believable, well-drawn characters?  Or do they hold up a bad example?  


  1. Hi Allie:

    I had strict religious training over 60 years ago (from nuns with yardsticks) and a kiss was not a sin. Even a passionate kiss might not be a sin. What was a sin was placing yourself in a situation where you were likely to commit a sin. (This was called ‘the occasion of sin’.)

    As such, I tend to favor ‘edgy’ Christian fiction. If a hero or heroine knows that a passionate kiss will not lead them further, then it is ok to have that kiss. If the hero or heroine knows, probably from past experience, that a kiss will lead to going ‘all the way’, then that kiss would itself be a sin.

    This is more a theological question than a literary one. I would like to see more passionate kisses -- without guilt -- in inspirational fiction. Passion is natural and God’s gift.

    What I would like to see less of is the stock scene where the hero and heroine kiss and then one or both of them say, “That can’t happen again”. Just one time I want the hero or heroine to say: “We have to try that again.”

    I'd like them to feel good about themeselves and then say, "I'll see you in church Sunday". I'd like to see responsible Christian passion shown as being healthy.

    Surprise me. : )


  2. I've read many a Christian romance novel where the hero and heroine kiss. Usually pretty chaste, but occasionally passionately, which may or may not add to the conflict. It's usually not a recurring thing so as long as it makes sense for these characters in that time in the midst of their circumstances, works for me.

  3. I should clarify that we're not talking about kiss between believers, where the relationship can/should continue. He's not a believer at this point, but they are both strongly attracted to each other. Does that change things for either of you?
    Vince, I'm with you--I want to see good Christians express healthy passion!

  4. That kind of kiss wouldn't bother me at all, on the contrary, I think it would be perfect for the story because it increases the angst and conflict. No matter how fantastic of a kisser the hero is, he just can't be hers due to his lack of faith.

  5. It depends on the way it is done. I don't think it would bother me as long as it is clear that such a thing should be avoided. What bothers me is when the author puts the Christian character constantly in the same situation and they never learn from it.
    Maureen Lang's "On Sparrow Hill" does it very well. I am quite sure that you can do it so that you end up admiring the heroine's strength of character.

  6. uhoh, this is tricky.

    But I'll jump Vince's boat (excuse me Vince ;)).
    If they feel the kiss could lead them to problems don't let them go ahead and for me it works that she says "This can't happen again" as at that moment she's not sure if this relation can work.
    But as long as the relation evolves and hurdles are overcame - specially after entering the smooth phase of their relations - I enjoy to read the chemistry in the peck on the farewell, the kiss on the brow when supporting the loved one, the hug that says "I'm here"... it makes me believe that this relation has a future - a happy and long one.
    Sometimes in my church I see couples that lack so much of chemistry that I'm affraid that one day temptation might knock and they will be doomed. I pray their faith is strong enough not to, but it's always better to witness a respectful but loving relation.

  7. Vince's boat is going to sink. I am jumping in as well. Ditto, ditto, ditto. But I also know different lines have different restrictions.

    While the song says, "a kiss is just a kiss" often a kiss isn't just a kiss! So much can be conveyed through a small gesture. Tender, passionate, top of head, full on lips. I never take kisses for granted.

    I will say I am thrilled you are doing a WWI story!

    Peace, Julie

  8. Interesting conversation, Allie! I always have fun writing those kisses. But it's really helpful to hear what readers like.

  9. Hi Allie,
    You know till you gave the example I hadn't thought much about it but the past couple of books are historical and there is the stolen kiss then the you must never do it again scene.
    In both instances neither were believers but did have an awareness.
    With the LI books nothing is ever excessive which I like.
    with a kiss between a believe and non believe like you described. I think it shows that we can always choose who we fall for. Being a Christian the heroine knows she should stay away but sometimes its hard and as you put in the scene she says it cant happen again this is realistic. Seeing how she handles things from there on is what is more interesting.

  10. .
    A kiss is just a kiss.
    Only by context
    can we judge the risk.

    If the spirit is strong
    and the flesh is weak
    a passionate kiss
    we should not seek.

    But if the spirit is strong
    and the flesh is too,
    then fiery kiss
    will surely do.


  11. Weee-ell, I will half-join Vince's boat (If others won't, lol!)I believe a kiss is the point at which a relationship changes, from friendship to love. It is at this point that the hero and heroine face the questions they've either been avoiding or denying.
    If one of them is not a believer, at this point there should be RESTRAINT on the part of the believer (not really guilt). And if they are both believers, they should lay their feelings on the table.
    Personally, that's my view.

  12. This has surely been an interesting discussion. Thanks so much for all your fine input!

  13. what would happen in real life? go with that.

  14. Simply put a kiss between two people make the characters real and relatable.

  15. Simply put a kiss between two people make the characters real and relatable.

  16. Simply put a kiss between two people make the characters real and relatable.

  17. Simply put a kiss between two people make the characters real and relatable.


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