Romance novels deliver the happy endings that don’t always happen in real life. Christian romance novels have something more to offer – a redemption story based in Biblical truths.
“It (faith) is the basis of what we do,” said Malory Ford, the author of a new historical Christian romance series. “We do not have a story without the Christian faith. There is a redemption story. There is a growing in faith story. There is something in there that encourages your walk with the Lord and that shows you a little bit of yourself. There is sin, but it is either defeated or redeemed. Ultimately, it’s not a Christian romance if you can take the faith out of it and it’s still a story.”
Ford, who has family ties to Walker County, released her debut novel in October.
“The Grace Legacy” is set in post-Civil War Texas. It follows two sisters who are on the run from their father, a notorious outlaw. One of the sisters, Karissa, falls in love with a U.S. Marshal who is tracking her father and his gang, which also includes their brother.
Ford had the idea for the series several years ago while watching the Hallmark series “When Calls the Heart,” based on the books of Janette Oke, a pioneer in the genre of inspirational fiction. One episode featured a gang of a father and two sons.
“What would happen if he had daughters instead?” Ford wondered.
She worked on the book sporadically. Her grandmother, Patsy Capps, who lives in Boldo, paid for it to be professionally edited around two years ago.
Last summer, Ford decided that she wanted to honor the gift that she had been given. She self-published “The Grace Legacy” through Amazon. Seeing a book born into the world gave her the boost in confidence she needed to continue the series.
Ford followed up “The Grace Legacy” with “The Faith Legacy” and “The Hope Legacy,” which tell the stories of Karissa’s sister and brother. Ford also has a free e-novella, “A New Legacy,” written exclusively for subscribers of her newsletter.
Now that the story of the first generation has been told through “The Legacy Series,” Ford is working on another set of books about the children of Karissa and her siblings called “The Waymaker Series.”
The first book in that series, which is expected to include nine titles in all, will release in April.
The four pillars of Ford's fiction are faith, family, romance and adventure.
Though Ford's audience is primarily Christian women, male and female readers alike have reached out to Ford to let her know how much they have enjoyed the first novels.
“The reception overall has surprised me. I thought it would sit there and my mom would buy 10 copies and very few people would buy them after that, but they’ve done very well for a debut series, which has been a huge blessing from the Lord,” she said.
Ford has also enjoyed networking with other authors, many of whom are Christians, who write in the related “sweet and clean” romance genre.
“There aren’t that many self-published Christian authors write now. It’s still dominated by traditional publishing. It’s been really nice to have those authors willing to share their platform,” she said.
During the pandemic, romance novels have been a safe space where readers could retreat.
Though there is a stigma around the genre, specifically that it is cheesy, Ford has known plenty of teens, adult Christian women and men who make no apologies for their fandom.
"Especially in a time like the one we're living in now, it's been encouraging to read lots of books where there are difficult times but this too shall pass because the Lord is in control and ultimately, He wins," she said.
Ford worked as a high school English teacher and adjunct professor before turning to freelance writing after her daughter was born.
She shares a love of history with her parents, Mike Green and Sabrina Carmichael Green, both of whom were raised in Walker County and taught history locally.
Ford, is particularly intrigued by the period from the 1860s to the early 1900s, the period in which she predominantly writes. Not only do the events of the Civil War and Reconstruction lend themselves to redemption storylines, but the way Americans lived during that time is also a draw for Ford.
She jokes that she was born in the wrong century. At 29, she grows her own food, cans, makes clothes and practices other traditional crafts taught to her by her mother.
“I think there was an incredible idea of resilience. You had to coming out of such a brutal war. It's a time period of redemption where the country has been torn apart but must be put back together stronger than it was before," Ford said.
In the future, Ford expects that she will delve into some contemporary Christian romance. As her daughter grows up, she may also try her hand at young adult Christian fiction.
“One of the benefits of self-publishing is that I do have the freedom to write whatever interests me in that season of my life. I’m always going to be true and loyal to the fans that I have in historical, and I will continue to put out content for them, but the nice thing about being able to put out five, six and seven books a year is that you can explore those different interests without taking anything away from the fans you already have,” she said.
Ford’s books are available through Amazon in paperback and as e-books. Her website is maloryfordbooks.wordpress.com. She is also on Facebook at Malory Ford-Author.