Francine Sandra Rivers (born 1947) is an American author of fiction with Christian themes, including inspirational romance novels. Prior to becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Rivers wrote historical romance novels. She is best known for her inspirational novel Redeeming Love, while another novel, The Last Sin Eater has become a feature film.
Francine Rivers is the daughter of a police officer and a nurse. From the time she was a child, Rivers wanted to be a published author. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism. After her graduation she spent time as a newspaper reporter, writing obituaries and human interest stories.
After her mother-in-law lent her several romance novels, Rivers decided that she would try to write in that genre. Her first manuscript was sold and became published in 1976. For the next several years she wrote historical romance novels.
In 1986, Rivers became a born-again Christian, and for three years she had difficulty finding plots for new novels. She spent her time instead studying the Bible, and decided to adapt her writing to focus on more Christian themes. Her first novel in the new vein, Redeeming Love, was released in 1991. Rivers considers it to be her statement of faith. Redeeming Love updates the Old Testament book of Hosea to the American West of the 1850s and tells the story of a prostitute named Angel, who is eventually reformed and converted to Christianity by the stoic patience and love of a frontier farmer named Michael Hosea. As is customary with fiction intended for a faith-based readership, the book propounds explicitly and moralistically ideas that a mainstream novelist would probably suggest implicitly.
Rivers's subsequent novels have all been in the inspirational fiction genre, as Rivers wants to "illustrate Christ and the Christian walk, to address difficult problems and write realistic stories." In a letter on her webpage
Francine Rivers refers to the books written before her conversion to [[Christianity]] as her "[[Before Christ|B.C.]]" (before Christ) bibliography. She has purchased the publication rights to her earlier romance novels so that she can prevent them from being released again, but some titles have been rereleased and others circulate in used bookstores.
Her inspirational series, The Mark of the Lion, sold over half a million copies. In 2007, her novel The Last Sin Eater was made into a feature film , directed by Michael Landon Jr. and distributed by Fox Faith.
Rivers has been honored with many awards, including the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion. Rivers is also a member of the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. She has won four RWA RITA Awards, the highest award given in romantic fiction. Her first RITA was for Best Historical Romance in 1986 for Not So Wild a Dream. Her subsequent ones, in 1995, 1996, and 1997, have been for Best Inspirational Romance.
Francine Rivers is married to Rick Rivers and they live together in northern California (where the action in many of her contemporary novels is set). They have three children: Trevor, Shannon, and Travis; and five grandchildren.