Happy belated Labor Day Romance Readers’ Café patrons! Anyone else have their little (or not so little) ones going back to school today? Any tears? Maybe some cheers? Is your head still spinning like mine with the crazy busyness that is the last month of summer gone by, and like me, are you wondering where it all went?
Well, my friend, grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and take a seat and a collective breath. Settle in while we discuss a lovely and often forgotten part of the romance read—the female friendships in the background of many a romance story, as well as where I personally find female relationship inspiration for my writing.
One of the things I cherish in a good romance is not just the depth and swoon-worthiness of the budding relationship between the hero and heroine, but also the female relationships with the female lead. I know not all romance books have this, but often the full picture of who this woman is, what she wants most out of life, and where she came from is best seen through the lens of her best friend’s, aunt’s, older mentor’s (etc.) eyes. It doesn’t necessarily mean we get scenes with this person’s point of view, but through the conversations, maybe arguments, prayers with this person, we get to see a different side to our heroine than what we can see in a scene with only her male counterpart.
As a writer, I love creating these relationships on both sides, for my main character gals and guys, and find it a useful tool in making well-rounded, ‘real’ characters. Sometimes I want to bring out more of my female lead’s upbringing or a part of her past wounds. So instead of having a flashback or a narrative dump of information, I might have it come up in conversation with a lifelong friend. Maybe I need to show how she is struggling with a particular sin or is resisting the possibility of romance with the hero and through some kind encouragement from her older friend and neighbor, she’s able to confront these things.
In my own life, I can’t begin to tell you how much my friendships with other women in my family and elsewhere have meant to me and it’s where I get much of my inspiration. I will confide that there was a time in my life when I truly didn’t have many women I could call friends and perhaps I wrote the friendships I wished I had. But, as God so often does, He heard my prayers and saw what my heart longed for and answered. He’s a good and loving Father that way. On this long and winding writing road, I’ve met and befriended so many wonderful God-fearing women who’ve encouraged me and my writing when I would’ve given up.
People like my aunt, Denise, endlessly encouraging and a prayer warrior has inspired more than one of my caring friend characters. A woman who bakes for neighbors and friends, shares her home with anyone in need, who says she’s praying for you and means it, whose kindness knows no bounds. All qualities I want for myself and in different ways has spread through those character friendships.
People like my friend and Christian mentor, Judy, who came into my life, only by God’s design, at one of the darkest moments in my life. She prayed with me, spoke truth and scripture into my life, cried with me, has celebrated every victory, and hugged me tight when the going was so rough I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I didn’t know I needed a Judy in my life, but God did. And don’t we all crave that kind of acceptance? Her wisdom has found its way into my writing as well.
People like my friends Michelle and Beth, who have stood with me in the last year while facing some scary medical issues. They’ve been a source of strength, encouragement, and smiles. They’ve brought food to our family, sat with me when I couldn’t stand the thought of being alone, laughed with me, talked me off the writer’s ledge more times than I can count, and told me the truth about who I am when I’ve believed the lies of the enemy. They are the friends I’ve prayed for and God provided. They are the friends I want for my heroines as they make their journeys of love and redemption too.
(Family and friends, I love you all. Sorry if I couldn’t mention you all by name!)
Friendship is so important and as women, I think we crave to be understood by other women and have that sense of community and fellowship. Yes, even introverted writers like me. And I don’t know about you, but I love to see authentic, beautiful friendships play out in the background of my fiction.
How about you? Do you have some female friendships that have brought out the best in you and encouraged you in your life? Do you enjoy friendships in your fiction?
A born and bred Midwesterner, Mollie Rushmeyer makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. From a young age, she loved putting words to page and dreamed of becoming an author. As an inspirational contemporary romance and women’s fiction writer, she loves to bring stories of hope to messy, prodigal gals just like her.
She’s an active member of ACFW and is the Vice President of her local chapter. In her “spare” time she lives out her Lois Lane fantasies as a local print journalist, writes encouraging online content for Crosswalk and iBelieve, is an outdoors enthusiast, a passionate champion for the freedom of human trafficking victims, loves to sing and read, and enjoys full-time employment as a monkey-catcher… ahem, mommy.
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