I recently figured out that I’ve been writing romance for the past 20 years. I’ve written countless short stories and published nine novels. And in every single one of them, all of my characters are white. Why is that a problem? I’m as WASPy (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) as you can get, so what’s the big deal? Write what you know, right? Except that my world, my family is no longer entirely white. (I doubt we ever were. My grandmother’s side of the family has some Native American features no one will talk about.)
Several years ago, my sister introduced my bi-racial nephew to the family, and a few years later his brother joined us. They’re great kids, and I wish I got to see them more often. When my husband and I filled out our adoption questionnaire, we decided we’d accept a child of any race since our family already had a splash of color. We fell in love with Energizer Girl the moment we saw her. Didn’t matter that she had glowing brown skin and tiny black curls. Love has no limits.
When I started writing novel number ten, I needed a name for my heroine – a looney free spirited artist, a blonde Phoebe Bouffay type. A friend suggested Destiny and an image popped into my head.
She wasn’t blonde. But she was exactly the woman Kurt and I were looking for. We both fell in love with her.
Last summer Hubs and I binge watched The Walking Dead, and I developed a crush on the gorgeous badass. Not Daryl. Michonne.
So when I needed a strong woman to take Dash’s shit and give it right back to him for novel number eleven, Simone told me she looked like my TWD fave. I didn’t argue with her. Would you?
Novel number twelve will have two African-American characters, the heroine, Bree, and a smooth, cool, charmer who hasn’t told me his name yet. Dammit Hardison! I like him already.
Write what you know? Yes, but only to a point. I know very little about people outside my race except what my daughter is teaching me. Love has no limits. I’ve learned to use what I love to bring my stories to life. Took me 20 years, but I’m getting it. I can no longer ignore the color in my life, so expect to see more of it in my writing.
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