Posts Tagged ‘diversity in fiction’
See No Evil, book 6 of the N’awlins Exotica series is done.
It is now on the editor’s desk
I blogged about the experience of writing a character who isn’t you.
My story from the Don’t Read in the Closet event
is on All Romance books
Shar and I decided not to release it as a standalone because we want Thaddeus and Seth to have more story
And they will, sometime this year.
In the meantime, you can read this and other stories in the Goodreads MM Romance freebies!
Good morning. Thank you Kassanna Dwight for bringing this up on Facebook and I hope she doesn’t mind me taking it a step further.
I’ve done quite a few posts on interracial romance in books and since the last one I did, I’ve seen a lot of changes. IR seems to be hot at the moment with more people writing them regardless if they are people of color or not. A lot of the storylines are similar, Caucasian billionaire takes a girl straight from the hood and treats her like a queen. Sort of like Pretty Woman but the female MC in there was white and the ladies in our stories aren’t prostitutes. And then there’s also been a small boom in m/m interracial which makes me very happy since I write a lot of interracial gay romance.
However with any boom, especially in the publishing industry, there comes problems. As I mentioned up top, the same storylines, the misrepresentation of characters on covers as well as some of the terms and/or dialogue used in stories. Now, I’m not going to gripe here. The more interracial romances there are the better. We need more diversity in all genres whether it be romances, sci-fi, horror, children’s books, whatever. The world is not fully one color and the publishing world should reflect that. Still, when we do these romances, we as authors must take into account who reads these stories. Again, not everyone is schooled on how every culture is. We don’t need to be, because again every culture is different. You can’t base characters or settings on what you see on television. Every black person isn’t from a bad neighborhood, they aren’t always poor, and they don’t talk slang. Every Asian isn’t meek or overly suspicious, nor is every Hispanic person a hot head or an illegal alien. While it’s true some minorities fit the so called “mold” not every person of color is the same. Think about it, a lot of people take what they see on TV or read as the truth and when you paint people in a certain light you run the risk of offending them.
Here’s another thing; you’re not going to write the perfect book that doesn’t offend someone because everyone takes things a different way. In my own book Something About Jayden, the person reading found my comments about Caucasian blonde to be troublesome. Not only that, he or she said my character was a racist because he wanted to work for a minority own company. Even though I didn’t find any issues with this, the reader did and as I stated you run that risk every time you put pen to paper. If I can answer to that without pissing anyone off, I’m a black woman married to a Latino man. I have a biracial child so I know a little bit more about Latino culture than some. A lot of minorities whether they be black, Asian, or Latino want to support their own. That’s not true in every case, but in my character’s life, he felt close to his heritage and wanted to support a minority owned company. I don’t see an issue with bringing that out but again, it’s all how someone takes it.
In thinking about what I’ve wrote and read, I’m trying not to sound hypocritical. While I do love the boom in IR, I just want people to look closer at what they say. I’ve read books that bothered me when I see things like the white mc saying he or she had never been with a black person before or even a black character asking the white character that question. Or even the assumptions that all black characters talk slang. Unless these characteristics are essential for the plot it isn’t needed. I’ve used it myself with black and white characters from the south to give it a little “color” but even those things could bother a reader while they peruse your book.
So what am I saying here? Be more conscious in writing interracial romance and how you show your characters but don’t let the “unknown” or fear of getting it wrong bother you. Just don’t make assumptions. Write this character the way you want but don’t dumb them down or make them a “lesser” being because of their differences. While some stereotypes are true of some people of color they aren’t the norm. If they aren’t going to be used to advance your plot, you don’t need them.
I hope this post clears up some confusion about interracial romance. Keep writing them and hopefully, multicultural and or interracial won’t be a “fringe” or boom, it will be mainstream.
On the surface, Isaac Bridges has it all; wealth, a beautiful wife, and a successful career. But deep down, he desires Denton & Associates back under his family’s name and a male lover he can call his own.
Enter Jayden Demario, a handsome college student looking to make a career in advertising. Underneath the pretty exterior, Jayden is a very damaged young man. Thrown out on the streets by his stepfather at 15, Jayden’s only concern is to make something of himself to move his “madre” from the tough neighborhood.
Jayden has no time for love, especially not with a closeted married man who runs the company he interns at and Isaac can ill afford to out himself to the homophobic CEO at Denton.
Will the sparks between the two men cost them their livelihood?
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Good 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
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?
“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.