During my middle to high school years when I had time to read voraciously, I couldn’t get enough of those slender paperback Harlequins. My older sister and I would go to the library on a weekly basis and check out a bag full. We’d stay up most of the night trying to finish one of those treasures and had a hard time getting up for school in the morning.
Funny how I never really noticed that all those stories were about Caucasian characters and I naturally thought, “that’s just the way it is”. I completely accepted that the main characters weren’t another ethnicity, yet I could still relate to the characters. I was pretty much westernized so I didn’t see people in terms of color. In fact, I truly believed I was Caucasian until I had a hard reality check my last year of middle school. I’d run for Student Council member for the upcoming high school year and during my campaign week someone had vandalized all my posters that I had worked tirelessly on. I won’t say which racial slur they painted across the banner but that was the moment I realized I was different. Needless to say, during my speech to the student body, I scrapped what I had originally wanted to say and gave everyone a glimpse into my head as a person who was no different than anyone in the room, except for the color of my skin. My speech not only got me elected but was featured on the front page of the local newspaper and mentioned about on the local news.
I’ve come a long way from those angsty teenage days and trying to relate to my multicultural identity. These days I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’m proud that I’m able to write ethnic characters that happen to be westernized. Personally, those growing up in my generation probably are a lot like me and we might not relate to those books that feature very traditional characters. I’ll be honest, I can appreciate the culture and all the richness of the storytelling but I can’t fully connect to the characters. That’s why it’s important for me to use my voice and write about things that I know. When I decided to stop writing straight Caucasian characters, I feared that I wouldn’t have a readership because of the cover or the unique names and be turned off by the book. I totally believe that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or you’d lose out on some quality writing that is out there.
The funny thing out of all this is that when I started writing ethnic characters, I was so ecstatic and proud that I sent out my books to all the Asian American review sites. Um, it didn’t turn out quite so well as I’d hoped. I was crucified for writing “smut” (even though I had emphasized that it was romance) and if I was “trying to carve a niche for myself in erotica literature,” I was “50 years too late”. As much as the bashings and harsh reviews had been, I didn’t regret writing those stories, nor did I ever stop writing multicultural characters because I know there is a community of women out there who are looking for this kind of storytelling. The same ones like me who needed to see multicultural books depicted in a way they could relate to. I suppose my generation teetered on the balance of eastern and western, so these were exactly the types of books I searched for even before I became a writer.
I hope that readers won’t pass on my books simply because it features Asian heroes and heroines. Frankly, at the heart of the story, it’s like any other romance out there, and will take readers on an emotional journey that would eventually lead to a happy ending.
Please check out the first book in my charity romance series. All author proceeds for SHIBUYA MOMENT will go to the relief effort in Japan.
A story set in Tokyo…
Freelance photographer Seren Takahashi wants to heal her wounded soul after a devastating loss. While embarking on a personal adventure into Tokyo’s Shibuya district, she discovers a city rich in culture and vibrant in its exoticness. What she hadn’t expected was finding closure and rediscovering the true person hidden inside. When she gives into destiny’s pull, her journey awakens a need to live in the moment, embrace her fears, and open her heart to love.Author’s note: All author proceeds from the sale of this story will be donated to the Red Cross and ShelterBox for the relief effort in Japan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings—finding Mr. Right was just an added bonus. She writes contemporary, paranormal, and multi-ethnic romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, and award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent. She is represented by Roberta Brown, Brown Literary Agency.
To learn more about Jax, visit her online: