Rawiya Erotica

Embracing Diversity in Fiction

Posted on: June 12, 2014

swirlGood morning. I’ve wanted to do another article about diversity in fiction for a while now. My first was about interracial romances and why I love writing them but with so much chatter going about the need for diversity in books, I had to speak on it again.

First let’s start off with a question for authors. Since I’m an author too, I figured I’d begin here. You’re an author and you have an idea for a story which features a character of a race other than your own. Say it’s a black male and you as a white female or male aren’t sure what to write. Do you scrap this idea, even though it could be one of your best books or do you try doing it yourself and using what you’ve seen on TV as your guide? I’ve talked with authors before who’ve said they’d rather not do the “black” character for fear of getting it wrong but unless you’re doing a historical, say something in the days of slavery or in 1920’s Harlem New York, what could you possibly get wrong?

I say this because I’m a black female who may not fit the mold of the so called black stereotype.  One example, I like rock music and not rap and I don’t talk slang like many might perceive a person of color to do. Yet, I’ve seen books with black characters who fit that description. In many publications, even those written by black authors, black characters are painted a certain way. The way they talk, dress, the neighborhood they’re from. Is it wrong? Not necessarily but does it hold true for every black male or female? No. What I’m getting at is, when you’re an author you don’t have to draw from those stereotypes unless it fits into the plot. If your story is centered around black males who talk slang and dress a certain way fine. The problem comes in when every book paints black characters that way.

What about you as the reader? If the cover features characters that aren’t like you, are you more apt to shy away from it or does it even matter? I’ve heard rumblings about covers with black characters not selling well. Even worse, publishers haven’t put people of color on the front at all because they fear it won’t be marketable. Why is this? Do we live in a world that is fully white? No we don’t so why should this even be an issue? The book should be judged on its plot and subject matter. If that’s interesting to you then you shouldn’t be deterred to read it because of the characters on the front.

I’m an author and reader who loves reading and writing books about diversity. Some people might take issue with certain books because of the race of characters but that’s not me. If the storyline is interesting I’ll read it whether it be two of the same race or multicultural. We live in a very diverse world so why wouldn’t we want more books that reflect today’s society?

In my opinion, authors should be the leaders in showing what’s outside the box. We should be writing characters whether they’re of different race, sexual orientation, religion, and or gender. Fiction is supposed to be about freedom to express yourself and it shouldn’t be held back because of what people think or say. People in general just want well written books with fleshed out characters not the colors of their skin or what religions they are.

We need more diversity in fiction for so many reasons. Why stifle creativity because of our various differences? I’m sure you’re saying it’s easier said than done but if we all do what we can to embrace diversity around us someone else might just learn from it and pass it on.

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Here is my latest Something About Jayden. An IR M/M romance

Jaydencover

Blurb: Isaac Bridges, closeted account executive for Denton & Associates, is waiting to take over the company from CEO Silas Denton Senior after he forced Isaac’s father to sign the company over while on his deathbed. Standing in the way is Silas Junior and upstart intern Jayden DeMario. Jayden’s beauty, intelligence, and commitment to excellence has wowed Isaac so much that Isaac changed his mind about the importance of vengeance for his dad into the vow to win Jayden’s heart. Will Isaac’s decision backfire, leaving him lonely and thus destroying his career?

Amira

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“How was work today, Jayden?” Lydia placed a plate of tortillas and carne asada in front of him.

Smells of freshly cooked vegetables and seasoned meat made his mouth water. Despite having lunch with Isaac, he was really hungry.  “Good. I like that Isaac allows me to give him ideas on projects. He really listens to me and gives me confidence.” Jayden grabbed a shell and put it on his plate.

“That’s great, honey. So did you see any cute guys there at the company? I’m sure a big place like that has many hot men walking around.”

Jayden chuckled just before he took a bite of his food. “Momma, please. I’m trying to make a good impression with the bosses. I’m not interested in dating anyone there.”

“Why not? No better place to meet someone at than work. I mean, you can find something in common with them for sure.”

“True, but the company discourages on the job relationships. Besides, I’m only an intern right now. If I did want to be with someone who worked there, there’s a chance we won’t work together any longer.” Jayden was full of self-confidence but wanted to squash the conversation about his love life very quickly.

Lydia eased down in her chair and leaned her cane against the table. “Ah, Jayden, I wish you’d look just a little, hmm? You need someone in your life to pass the time, mi hijo.” Lydia fixed her own plate and filled it with rice and beans. “Life is too short to only worry about working, you know? Mi esposo, all he did was worry and look where he ended up? I always told him to take time out for more important things. That business he had run him into grave too quickly.”

Jayden nodded in agreement and wiped his mouth. “You don’t have to worry about me, Momma. I’ll enjoy myself after I get my career going, okay?”

Lydia sighed heavily and didn’t meet Jayden’s gaze. “You say that so many times, but I know you won’t do it. I just want you to be happy, Jayden. When you came to me all those years ago, you were so heart broken. You deserve happiness in your life after what you’ve been through.”

“And I have it, Momma. Now, let’s talk about something else. Like your appointment at the doctor? I’m going to request next Friday off, so I can go with you and Mr. Murdock, okay?”

Lydia waved her hands. “Bah, Jayden. I wish you hadn’t made appointment for me. I’m fine, just getting old. I’m already in my eighties, why shouldn’t I be forgetting things?”

Jayden finished his water and set the glass down. “You forget too many things, Momma. Other than your regular check-ups for your diabetes, you don’t go to the doctor enough. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“I am okay,” she snapped and mumbled something in Spanish. “It’s time you stop worrying about old people like me, Bertha, and Alan and worry more about yourself. You have your whole life ahead of you to enjoy and no time for me and Alan.”

“Oh, but I do, Momma. I’m making time. Actually, I’m going to sit with Alan on Sunday and watch the game.”

“Well, at least you care. Those no-good kids of his don’t give a damn if he lives or not. They always go by there, asking for money or borrowing things from him. He tells me all the time how he wish his kids were not deadbeats.”

Jayden frowned and wrinkled his lips. He’d seen Alan’s sons many times and none of them said a word to him. They seemed like they were jealous of his relationship with their father, but they never took the time to spend with Alan like Jayden did. “Yeah, well, he needs to stop giving them things. I know they’re his children but he is on a fixed income and needs his money to take care of himself.”

“True, but try telling that hard-headed old man that,” Lydia chuckled. “He’s so stubborn, just like an ox. He’ll do anything for those knuckleheads.”

Jayden nodded, knowing his mom was right. Often he wished he had a loving dad like Mr. Murdock who stood by him no matter what, but he was never blessed with that situation. “Just like someone else I know,” he chided and fixed another tortilla. “Anyway, would you like to come with me to watch the game or will you be okay here?”

“I’ll be fine, Jayden. Perhaps I will go out for walk or something.”

“No, no, not without me. The last time you went to the park, you forgot your way back home. Thank goodness Mrs. Delaney saw you there to bring you back to the building.”

“I was no lost!” Lydia yelled at the top of her lungs and pushed the table away from her. “I am not a child. I am a grown woman who can take of herself, Jayden. Stop treating me like baby, okay?” She grabbed her cane and plodded away from the kitchen toward her bedroom. “I don’t need more doctors only for my diabetes, Jayden. I am fit, in good mind and health!” Lydia slammed the door, grumbling in Spanish.

“Ay…” Jayden winced and took a bite of his tortilla. “You just don’t get it, do you?” He’d been observing his mother for the longest, noticing her mood swings, forgetting to turn out the lights, not eating for quite a while. He’d made appointments for a mental status test a couple of times but when he scheduled it, she talked Mr. Murdock out of taking her. Jayden knew he had to go, so she’d actually show up for it.  Despite all her complaints, he’d take her anyway to find out more about the possibilities of Alzheimer’s and how he could make things more comfortable for her.

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