I’ve had the question posed to me recently–why go interracial?
This was something that started with the reveal of the Picture Her Bound cover that was in the Midnight Ink boxed set. The hero, Jacques, is obviously a black American. I mostly shrugged it off and explained that I saw Jacques as black from the inception of the book.
What has become increasingly interesting is the idea that suddenly I’m diving into the interracial pool. I’ve been congratulated and ridiculed for this choice. I’m not overly concerned with either reaction. I’m telling love stories. People from all walks of life and backgrounds deserve love, in my opinion. What amuses me is the idea I’ve just started writing interracial.
Flirting with Rescue was my first title as Sidney Bristol. I still to this day love the cover, because it encompassed everything I wanted it to. A sense of fun, how it touches on the country lifestyle of the heroine–and the hero isn’t white. He’s actually the son of an immigrant, single-mother Cuban. I get that at a glance, Scott’s character does not appear far from white, but his race really isn’t an issue in the story.
My very next novella was Personal Adventures. A story that to this day is still one of my all time favorites because of how hard it pushed me during revisions. My editor really encouraged me to tell a much deeper story than what I first turned in. And it payed off so much! The heroine, while she simply looks very tan on the cover, is actually an Asian-Native American. There isn’t a drop of “white” in her, and her cultural norms do play a role in the story, especially the romance.
In the So Inked books there’s a variety of cultures mixed in. Kelli is half Korean. Mary is Cuban. The love interest in the third book is Iranian. The male love interests of the fourth and fifth books are actually all non-white characters.
Picture Her Bound was not my first interracial book. I guess it appears that way simply because a black skin tone shows up so much bolder than many others. When I announced my book deal with Loveswept, I mentioned that it was an interracial book, and the hero was a mixed ethnicity that includes black.
I feel like fiction should embrace real life. And that includes having people of differing heritage on the page. As a very white author I do feel self-conscious about writing people who aren’t the same ethnic as me. Will I get it right? Could I do the characters justice? There’s a lot of things to consider when writing someone so very different from myself. But I do that all the time. There are lots of my white characters I’m nothing like. Take Bianca from Collar Me in Paris. She’s a white woman–and I would have nothing in common with her. I probably have a lot more in common with Elise from Personal Adventures, to be honest.
The people in my life aren’t all white. They’re a beautiful rainbow of colors. Yes, that is in part to tattoos, but I also mean the skin you’re born in. I’m not writing non-white characters to make a point. I’m writing them because that is who they are. That’s their background and heritage. Do I think we should see more diversity in romance fiction where ethnicity is concerned? Sure. But I also say let the characters be who they need to be.