Narelle, tell us a bit about your book, Seaside Christmas.
Seaside Christmas is a contemporary romance novella set in Sydney, Australia. Gus works for an Australian senator and Chelsea hates politics. They met years ago, and Gus didn’t leave a good first impression on Chelsea. Can Gus prove his faith has changed him and he’s now worthy of Chelsea’s love?
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
Seaside Christmas is a standalone romance story that is positioned as book 3.5 in my Sydney series. Gus was a very minor character who I found intriguing in an earlier book in the series. I knew that Gus would one day need his own romance story after he met Jesus and started turning his life around. As a reader, I’m drawn to stories where the characters are redeemed from their messy pasts and discover that living their new faith isn’t easy. Chelsea knew the old Gus, and during the story she must learn to put aside her preconceived ideas and trust that Gus is a changed man.
I’m intrigued by the 3.5 – a fun way to identify a novella! What is the primary focus of this book?
I explore the themes of redemption and forgiveness in the story. At the start of the story, Chelsea could not see herself exploring a romantic relationship with Gus. He’s now a Christian, but that doesn’t automatically make him good husband material. She’s attracted to Gus, but she knows that a lasting, God-centered marriage will need a stronger foundation than romantic feelings. Can Chelsea forgive and let go of the past, and be open to the possibility of loving Gus?
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I believe the greatest challenge in writing a romance novella is keeping within the shorter word-count limit. It’s challenging to write a complete romance that’s satisfying for readers who are looking for a light-hearted and entertaining story that can be read in one sitting.
As a Christian author, how do you share Christ in your stories?
Fiction provides a wonderful avenue to share Christian themes in a light and subtle manner, and also in a stronger and more overt faith thread in the story. My characters will be in different places in their faith journey, and the events in the story will challenge their faith, or lack of faith. The parable of the sower comes to mind. When life is difficult, will my characters turn to Jesus or turn away from Jesus? Will their faith grow or struggle when facing overwhelming challenges?
How has being a writer impacted your own relationship with Christ?
My writing has deepened my relationship with Jesus. I’m wrestling with the challenges my characters are experiencing and questioning a range of issues from different perspectives. To write realistic stories, I’m seeking His will and wisdom to help me create compelling and relatable romance stories that also share His love.
It sounds like you take your writing to heart. Why this genre?
I love writing and reading contemporary Christian romance. I love experiencing the highs and lows of the romance journey as the main characters fall in love and seek a Christ-centered marriage. I want to believe that the characters will grow in their love together and seek God’s will for their lives.
Is there anything in particular that you like to read for pleasure?
Yes! I’ve been an avid reader since I was a toddler, lol. Since we’re in the Christmas season, I’m reading Christmas romance novellas. I’m currently reading Upon a Midnight Snow, Tari Faris’ new Christmas novella in her Restoring Heritage series.
Do you have pets that inspire or hinder your writing?
My cat, Miss Daisy, is wonderful company when I’m writing. It can be challenging to stop her walking all over the keyboard when she thinks it’s food time, but she usually behaves herself and sleeps nearby.
With the New Year so close at hand, what do you have planned for 2022?
In 2022 I’ll be releasing my six out-of-print books that were originally published by Harlequin Love Inspired Heartsong Presents back in 2014-15. I’m releasing Her Tycoon Hero first, and I’ll be revealing the new book cover for Her Tycoon Hero to my newsletter subscribers in my December newsletter that I’m sending around December 10.