Loree Lough

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 70 books, 59 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed “edgy, heart-tugging adventures” by reviewers, her stories have earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, government agencies, book clubs, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to ‘learned-the-hard-way’ lessons about the craft, and 600 (and counting!) of her former students are now published authors. Loree splits her time between an Allegheny Mountains cabin and a home in the Baltimore suburbs, and shares both with her husband and a formerly-abused, now-spoiled Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname ‘Cash’. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to write her at loree [at] loreelough [dot]com. “And please,” she adds, “visit my blog (www.theloughdown.blogspot.com) and my soon-to-be-improved web site (http://www.loreelough.com) where, if you’re patient, you’ll hear some hauntingly beautiful music.”

What Would Jesus Say...
(About the Romance Genre)?

I was at a conference not long ago and heard an uppity speech about the uselessness of the romance genre. You can be sure the speaker’s—ahem—“mindset” sparked numerous negative emotions in the minds and hearts of authors like me who write romance for a living. But how to counter such arrogant prejudice without underscoring his so-called theories about the genre?

I prayed and prayed, and today, while going through a typical delivery of reader mail, the answer came:

“I was a backsliding Christian until I read Suddenly Reunited. Gabrielle reminded me so much of myself, and her problems mirrored my own! What joy to read that she solved her problems by turning to Him. It made me want to go back and read all five books in the series. Thank you for helping me find my way back to God!” (Lisa E., Alberta, Canada)

“My pastor and his wife were a little upset that after trying and trying to help me deal with my past, a line from one of your books opened my heart back up to Christ. Bless you, Loree, for writing Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania!” (Julie D., Atlanta, Georgia)

“I get so excited every time I hear a Loree Lough book is about to come out because I know God will speak to me through your characters in surprising ways. The Wedding Wish was no exception. I laughed and cried and felt touched by God!” (Jeannine B., Russell Springs, Kansas)

“You have shown me through your characters’ struggles that anyone can overcome anything by the grace of God Almighty.” (April Kewer, Scottsdale, Arizona)

“I love that your stories are about things that seem to come straight out of today’s headlines, and how your characters overcome obstacles without being weak.” Colleen Anderson, Fort Wayne, Indiana)

I could quote from more letters, but I think you get the idea.

Let me paraphrase that speech, delivered in a very public forum: ‘Romance’ is a simplistic genre, written by hobbyists and gobbled up by bored housewives, that’s a waste of time for the reader and the writer, and a misuse of spiritual muscle.

Trust me when I say that those present got more than just a li’l bit fired up! Between us, we’ve read the Bible a couple hundred times, and we remember all to well the story from Genesis, where God put Adam together with Eve . . . and didn’t give up on man-woman partnerships just because the silly broad partook of forbidden fruit. Instead, He taught the couple how to communicate in loving ways. Did they encounter roadblocks and pitfalls? You bet, but He got ’em through every rough patch because He is the God of relationships!

Every one of God's children finds Him in different ways, at different points in their lives, for different reasons. If you’ve known me longer than five minutes, you’ve likely heard me say that I’m not the type who’s equipped to visit deserts and jungles spreading His Word. But because He does expect me to spread His word, He blessed me with a gift for storytelling. Specifically, stories that unite hearts and lives and put people back in touch with their Maker. That is my God-appointed ministry.

Maybe my readers need help getting through a crisis. Perhaps they’re hurting after the loss of a loved one. They might be angry at God for some painful stuff that has touched their lives. Or they’re sick. Or lonely. Afraid. And blaming God for whatever it is that’s hurting them.

Everybody knows somebody who, for any one of a thousand reasons, has hardened his or her heart against our Lord. And, oh, but aren’t they tough to reach! Fire and brimstone sermons only add height and breadth to the walls they’ve built between themselves and the Almighty; self-righteous, judgmental missives underscore their imagined “proof” that God doesn’t care about them or what they’re going through. The Bible, at that point, is the last book they’d pick up, let alone read!

Enter the Lord, in a quietly surprising way . . .

Sometimes He reaches them through poetry. Other times with song. And a whole lot more often than that speech-maker dude would like to believe, God reaches His children’s hurting hearts through the pages of romance novels.

The message of that so-called “literati” and others like him who have convinced themselves that what they write is far superior, has more merit, and is more pleasing to God than “simple little romance stories”? That mindset is arrogant at best, egotistical at worst and certainly not borne of Christian love!

During His years on earth, Jesus told dozens of simple little stories, and each changed hearts and lifted spirits. Those of us who serve God by writing romance have nothing to be ashamed of! We’ve humbly answered His call and willingly do the work He’s asked us to do.

I think it’s time for the “literati” to ask themselves what Jesus, Son of the Creator of relationships, thinks of romance novels!

And in the meantime, I hope they’ll excuse me, because I have a couple hundred letters from readers to answer, each expressing gratitude to the Creator for showing them a new way to find Him.

Love Finds You In Paradise