What Should be the Focus of Interracial Romance
Posted December 23, 2011on:
*has a seat on the couch* Today, I wanted to speak about a topic I love which is interracial romance. I write them all, M/F, M/M, and ménage but I’ll focus on m/m mostly.
A while back, I did two articles about interracial m/m romances. One appeared on IRM and another one on Sizzling Hot Books. The response on the IRM was greater with many writers chiming in talking about being intimidated to write a multi cultural romance because they’d get the characters wrong.
In the case of m/m and m/f and really any writing for that matter, I don’t believe you can necessarily get it wrong unless you’re doing a non-fiction or historical book where your facts should be correct.
Now by no means am I saying that you should just jump into it blindly. You can do a little research about the characters if you as the writer are of a different race than them but really, can you get it “wrong?”
When I think of people mentioning getting something wrong in this instance, I immediately think of the racial stereotypes. You know them because of the way the media portrays characters on sitcoms or even dramas. This media could also include books that might make their characters a certain way. However, in my estimation, this shouldn’t be the focus of any story, romance or not. It should be the characters and how their story develops throughout.
Since I wrote the blog posts I have found many more m/m IR romances and enjoyed quite a few. I fully intend to read more m/f in the future but for now, I’ll let you know what I’ve figured out while reading a few m/m stories.
In truth, most writers I’ve read didn’t bring any stereotypes into their tales at all unless it was part of the plot. What a welcome surprise too since the couple of books I’d read at first did exactly the opposite. I gathered that they did their stories and made the characters relatable to anyone who read them instead of focusing on the racial differences. This allowed me to enjoy the stories even further and not wince when I came across the style of dress or the way the character talked. All the characters in the books were presented as intelligent and weren’t drawn up from what the writer might have seen on TV or even on the street. Thank goodness! Nothing would be worse for me to read a story that made me cringe.
So in regards to m/m, m/f, or ménage interracial romance the focus should be on the love between them and not the differences in their nationalities. As far as the Triad is concerned, we do exactly that. BL of course has My Lieutenant where the black character is a retired officer in the Navy and talks less slang than his white counterpart. Michael’s first m/m IR romance is contracted through No Boundaries Press called Under the Gun. His character, Malik Day has been discharged under DADT but there is no mention of the differences between him or his potential lover, Camdyn Hardy.
Me? Well my first novella in the Something New on the Menu series, Time to Make the Donuts, my supporting character Andre’ is a smooth talker but doesn’t fit into the stereotypical black man. It’s true it might be easier for me to write from the “black” perspective since I am black but what of other ethnicities? I have a story on the docket with an Asian man as my main character. In this instance, I do intend to find stories about Asian or rather, Korean men just to learn something about the culture not any stereotypes. This won’t be easy but necessary so I can write the tale effectively and true we should do the same just so we give our readers reality but you can’t really get it wrong.
You’re writing about two living, breathing human beings and that, all of us can relate to.
Here is a sample from my upcoming novella, Time to Make the Donuts from Naughty Nights Press due out in February.
PG Excerpt Subject to Change due to Edits
The line inched up a little more and he took a look at his watch. The meeting would be starting in about a half an hour. Good thing the place wasn’t far from the headquarters of DD&G and since he went in the alternate direction of the traffic, he should’ve been able to arrive back at the building in no time flat. Still, Andre really hated to wait on things. Patience wasn’t one of the qualities he possessed.
Another move up closer to the cash register and his light brown eyes caught the sight of a very nice looking individual. Tall, Caucasian man, brown eyes, brownish blondish hair, sort of lanky. He grinned and moistened his lips, taking pleasure in the hunk that stood behind that counter filling the donut case with more products.
“Mhmm,” he smiled and rubbed his black goatee. This man more than held his interest and obviously his hardened muscle down below began to take notice since his trousers had suddenly become very tight. He wished he could stroke himself a little but in front of all these people it would’ve been quite an embarrassment. Andre wanted to talk to the man a little more to see if they played on the same team. They had to right since this place sat smack dab in the middle of Boystown.
Hopefully so and if he did, is he available? Andre had been lonely for quite a while. Going home to an empty apartment didn’t hold the same appeal as it did before.
* * * *
While helping someone else at the register, Christopher’s eyes drifted to the door as it always does when a customer comes in. The moment he did his jaw dropped and he gulped hard. He noticed a hunky, gorgeous specimen, dressed in a suit and tie, obviously on his way to work.
“Fuck.” He muttered under his breath and tried to continue doing his job despite the lovely distraction in line. Christopher fully checked out the hottie with his bald head, goatee, and a smile that could light up a small room. In actuality, he wished he could bring him up closer but he couldn’t justify taking him in front of these people. It would only be a matter of moments till he made it up to the counter anyway.
Trying hard not to stare, he assisted the next lady asking for two glazed donuts and a bagel. He made eye contact with the woman and gave her the bag. When she left, his brown orbs made their way in his direction again, this time, with them exchanging a wicked grin.
Chris couldn’t help himself. The man was just too sexy to stop looking at. Where had this hunk been all his life? His skin, the same color of his famous caramel crèmes; Chris wondered if the hot stranger had the same creamy center. The manager batted his eyes before catching the gaze of the next customer who requested two chocolate donuts along with coffee. Once he gave him what he wanted, Mr. Wonderful made it up to the front. They peered at each other again. Chris listened intently to the alto voice coming from the stranger’s mouth, loving every syllable he spoke. The man sounded like a radio personality when he recited his order.
“Hiya, I’ll have a carton of coffee, two dozen donuts of any variety, a cinnamon bagel and a bottle of juice.”
Chris grinned and began getting all the items the man wanted while Jesse grabbed the coffee.
Wanda took his money before pointing him to stand in front of Chris.
“Wow, that’s quite a tall order for just you isn’t it,” he laughed.
The man smiled and nodded, “Ah you know how it is. Us big men need to make sure we have all the carbs we can get,” he joked. “Naw, they delegated me to make the run for the office.”
“I knew that.” Christopher bagged up the boxes and attempted not to trip over himself.
He tried really hard to keep it professional but the whiff of the man’s cologne made this especially difficult to stay focused. “Why haven’t I seen you in here before?”
“Just hadn’t gotten around to coming here. I’m glad I did though because the boys say your donuts are the best.”
“They are. A lot better than that other place.” Chris licked his lips while he handed him the bag. “Here you go. Is there anything else we can get for you?” He wished he could ask the man on a date.
The customer raised an eyebrow and nodded, “Nope. This is for you though.” He took the package and the carton after slipping a business card across the plexiglas. “Call me.” He made the sign with his hands, backing away from the counter before heading out the door.