I was leafing through blogs today, and came across this blog called blogher, which I later found out was a sister of blogger. Anyway, it was by a woman named Laina Dawes and she posited this;
Over the past decade or so, many people of color found that the heavily marketed romance novels contained stories and situations that did not reflect their personal experiences. With Fabio on the cover clutching a willowy blonde in his arms, served as a reflection that the contents of the book were directed towards a market that didn’t include them.
Most of the post was on African-American writers, and how what was early on the scene like Terry McMillan only reflected mostly Black middle class, that didn’t reflect the true lives of African-Americans. There we went our separate ways, because every African-American did not grow up in a violence fill neighborhood. I was surprised at some of the answers that she got to this post, but I wanted to join in at the same time; because she did raise some good questions. I feel some of the stuff that she said I could agree with, but at the same time, why should I be defined by my race? Being a writer is who I am and my race Should Not matter.
For those of you who don’t know, my book Teaching Between Midnight and Dawn was published on Aug 7th of 2011 for Eternal Press, and it was a hard row to hoe. I write interracial romance, and it took me forever to get this book published.
I love the Paranormal, but I didn’t see myself reflected in the works that I read; and if I did it was a side character, a supporting character, or a villain; so I thought I’d write my own. Being multi-racial (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Native American, Irish and African-American) I wanted to see a character like me, and the fact that this is rare spurred me on. Authors like me tend to get pigeon holed into one specific genre like Minority literature, Latina, African-American, or Ethnic, who hardly ever move out of that to become main stream; and I think that this is completely unfair. I hoped by writing what I believe the genre should encompass, people would see the book for the story and negate the race of the character; that being, anyone could place themselves in the shoes of the character, not just someone of a minority background.
However, I find the fact that we have to be billed as African American, Native American, Latina, or even Asian almost contemptible. When I walk into a book store seeking a book on Milton or Shakespeare, it isn’t billed as old ass British White dude, ( and don’t get me wrong, I love my classics. I teach British/ American Literature and Art History) but I think that its sad that we as minorities must be displayed that way. Love is love, and color shouldn’t matter when it comes to affairs of the heart. I write paranormal romance, and the fact that my characters are Scottish wolves and British vamps who have a thang for color, shouldn’t matter one way or the other when dealing with love and romance. Having a multiracial character who speaks Spanglish, and has a ghetto side, if that’s what you want to call it, has gotten me a few harsh reviews for the book. My entire series, 12 books so far, each have a main male character that is of a different race; from Japanese, to African and white, to Romanian, to Native American and so on; because true love is color blind, even if people still don’t accept that.
It is in my opinion, that many times white America will look at a book and say “Oh, that’s a black writer, or a Latin writer” and they believe that they have nothing in common with the character, so they can’t see themselves reading the book. This is completely biased, because we as minorities do it everyday. As far as publishing is concerned 90% of their business comes from white America, which is the reason that minority authors have such a hard time getting their works published, and if they do its almost stagnate in its movements.
Unfortunately, many Publishing companies continue to hold onto that bullshite antiquated idea that the average soccer mom, (mostly who romance novels are aimed at) won’t want to read a book like that, unless its Jorge the pool boy, or Malik the thug that happens to be very articulate to her surprise, and tutors her daughter (but it is acceptable for her to have some secret fantasy about either one, because that is not openly interracial. It’s just a lil nookie on the side). It all goes back to that taboo system, and even in the 21st century, people are still too terrified to touch it. But I notice that when it comes to books, only minorities have their race put out before their name even appears. I shouldn’t have to be billed by Latina author, Native American author, or black author. I am a writer, and that is all that should matter.
I can’t wait to see the reviews that I get for my new book A Lad’s Trousers, because its set in the 1800s and the main male character is a White northern Aristocrat. I’m lovin that!