Monday, March 9, 2015

Behind Closed Doors by Nicki Edwards


As a child I grew up reading Enid Blyton’s “The Twins at St Clare” then “Trixie Belden” books and “Anne of Green Gables”. From the earliest age I either had my nose in a book or I was thinking about the characters in the book I had just read. When I got older I discovered a wide variety of books in different genres from authors such as Danielle Steele to Lee Child to Nicholas Sparks to Harlan Coben. Then I was introduced to Karen Kingsbury and a whole new world opened up to me. The world of Christian fiction. Now, I’ll admit I’m not a fan of historical or Amish-themed books so that limited my reading somewhat, but I devoured all the Christian books I could find. And I loved them.

When I was prompted to write my own book at the start of last year I automatically figured I’d write Christian romance. After all, that’s what I enjoyed reading so surely it made sense to write one myself. But there were a few big problems with this. Number one, the market is very small, especially in Australia. Secondly, the book I wrote was a 'come-to-the-altar-and-get-saved' type of book. (In retrospect it was so evangelistic I wouldn’t have read it!) And number three was, if I wrote Christian fiction, then it needed to be sanitised. Especially when it came to romance. Didn't it?

There are many things consistent in a romance novel. Love (obviously). A hero and heroine. Passion. Tension. Sex (usually). And ultimately a happy ever after ending. But writing a mainstream romance novel as a Christian presented me with a big challenge. Namely when it came to the sex bit. Writing it. Talking about it. The hero and heroine actually doing it. How was I going to get around that? I wanted to write real-life romance with real-life characters but how was I going to do that if I had to “colour between the lines” and keep it clean? In other words, keep sex out of it? After all, as a Christian, I'm aware that whatever I write must glorify God and be consistent with my beliefs.

So I had a dilemma. I could either write Christian or mainstream romance. After much prayer, I decided to write for the mainstream market, which I did. I was thrilled when it was accepted for publication with the first publisher I sent it to.

Intensive Care is my debut novel – a medical romance set in regional Australia. It 
touches on issues of infidelity, grief, abortion and loss, and focuses on the need to forgive before you can move on. It has plenty of medical scenarios, plenty of emotional moments and a happy ever after ending without my hero and heroine ending up beneath the bed covers. 

It’s been warmly received so far and is currently sitting at #2 in it’s category on Amazon Australia (Western/Rural romance), but I’ve been challenged by some readers that the lack of sex in the book is unrealistic. And you know what? In hindsight, I tend to agree.

But what are your thoughts? Should Christian authors write romance with 'behind closed doors' sex scenes or leave sex out of it altogether? 

Intensive Care has been published by Momentum, the digital imprint of Pan MacMillan Australia. It was released in January as an e-book and is available where all e-books are sold. Nicki has recently finished writing the follow up to Intensive Care, titled Emergency Response and has just started her next book in the series, Life Support.


Blurb for Intensive Care:

Escaping to the country was meant to be easy…

On the surface it looks like busy Intensive Care nurse Kate Kennedy has it all: a long-term relationship, a great career and a sleek inner city apartment. But appearances are deceiving, and in one fell swoop everything comes crashing down around her. In a moment of spontaneity, Kate leaves her city life and takes a new role as Nurse Unit Manager at Birrangulla Base Hospital, but her dream move proves harder than expected.

Local café owner Joel O’Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he’s been scarred by love and isn’t looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another.

Just when Kate thinks she’s found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?

To read the first chapter, click here.

To purchase, click here for links.About Nicki Edwards:


Even twenty-five years of marriage, travel, children, study and work wasn’t enough to keep Nicki busy. In January 2014 she woke up and decided to fulfil a lifelong dream – to write a novel.

Nicki calls herself a city girl with a country heart. Unfortunately the only way she can escape to the countryside of her dreams is by living vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read. If she could spend her days dressed in jeans and boots out on the farm surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep, she’d be in her element.

When Nicki isn’t dreaming, reading or writing about rural life, she can be found in her scrubs in the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Unit, where she works as a nurse.

15 comments:

  1. Very thoughtful post, Nicki. Don't be overly concerned about criticism about lack of getting your hero & heroine between the covers. After all, your book is rated highly without that. You've certainly covered a whole lot of other relevant issues which have gained readers. I usually love to read about sexual tension, without the couple giving way. I reckon that treated cleverly, it can be even more gripping. Just my opinion.

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    1. Thanks Rita. Yes, I've certainly touched on a lot of other issues that don't usually get touched on in romance. I will experiment with my next book and perhaps introduce some more sexual tension, but I don't intend to have any "between the cover" scenes.
      I agree with you, tension, treated well, is very gripping.
      Thanks for your comment today. x

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  2. Congratulations Nicki on Intensive Care doing so well :) And thanks for a thoughtful and interesting post.


    If you believed Hollywood, it seems, everyone falls into bed with strangers on the first date or encounter (more or less), sex is always fantastic and promiscuous behaviour is simple fun with few consequences. Isn't that just as unrealistic? Yet in many respects it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as consumers begin to see consequence-free one night stands as "normal". In my mind, fiction is not just about "realism" (though it probably need to be grounded in reality) but also about imagination of the possibilities.

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    1. Jeanette, you're so right. We are totally misled by Hollywood style "romance" and love aren't we? One of the things I was criticised for by one reviewer is that my characters had more of a friendship than a romance, but I would argue that the best romances are those that develop from friendship.
      I love your comment about fiction being grounded in reality but imagining the possibilities.
      Thanks for your comments x

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  3. Great post Nicki. Good on you for writing a book that obviously appeals to readers without the need to jump between the covers. I've come across a few mainstream books like that lately that have been well-written and engaging (e.g., The Railwayman's Wife). A lot of mainstream readers also like romance without all of the graphic details. Sometimes it's more romantic to leave it out. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

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    1. Thanks Nola. One of the things that surprised me was a 20-something work colleague who came up to me quietly at work and told me she'd read my book. She said she reads lots of romance novels and loved the fact that my book was clean. She said she was tired of reading the same "beneath the covers" scenes in every single book. At that moment, I was glad I'd stuck to my guns. I remember Narelle Atkins telling me it would just take time to find my "tribe".
      Thanks for your comment today. I'm glad my post has got people talking about this important topic in romance.

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  4. Congratulations Nicki on your debut novel. Must have been excellent too for it to have been accepted by the first publisher you sent it to. I prefer romance without graphic details. Using our imaginations is part of the joy of reading so it a writer is too explicit it leaves out a great deal I think. I totally agree with you about leaving out the sex in romance. Far more romantic to leave it out I agree! :) Well done Nicki on following God's path for you and doing it well.

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    1. Thank you Anusha. I must admit I was very surprised when the publisher didn't ask me to include a sex scene in it - she was happy to let the story speak for itself.

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  5. Great post Nicki and I have to say I love your book! Congratulations on your success. You've raised some intriguing questions, ones I have thought about often - thank you for your thoughts :)

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    1. Thanks Andrea. So glad you loved my book! They are some big questions aren't they? Some Christian authors won't even include scenes where couples kiss but I think it's realistic that non-Christian characters kiss so I'm happy to include it. I may even include a behind closed doors scene in my next book.Thanks for your comment. x

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  6. Congratulations on your novel, Nicki. I am one who would rather not read sex scenes in any fiction, Christian or mainstream. Sex is a great gift of God but I know what happens and don't need to read all the details. Let's people use their imaginations, is my view.

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    1. Thank you Dale. I don't like sex scenes in romance novels either - I tend to flick past them and then wonder if I've missed something vital to the story. Totally true what you say - sex is a gift from God and nothing to be ashamed about or to hide. But, as you said, we don't need to read the details of other people's sex lives, we can use our imaginations. Thanks for your comments.x

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  7. I think if your writing is strong, people don't realize there aren't any in-depth details! An interesting discussing in light of 50 Shades. Less is probably more in this case. As others have pointed out, imagination is an amazing thing.

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