I was leafing through blogs one day and came across this blog, (I won’t name tee-hee) which I later found was a sister blog of blogger. Anyway, the owner of the site 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, and did not reflect the true lives of African-Americans. There I’m afraid; 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 she got to this post, but I wanted to join in at the same time; because she did raise some good questions like the one above. I feel some of the things she said warranted a full discussion and I agreed 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.
My book Teaching Between Midnight and Dawn was published 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. Since then I’ve published six new titles.
I love the Paranormal from Trueblood to Underworld, but I didn’t see myself reflected in the works 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 it to become main stream; and I think 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.
Moreover, I find the fact that we have to be billed as African American, Native American, Latina, or 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. Surprisingly, I have not found this section in the bookstore yet. At the same time, I find it hysterically laughable; the three shelves which encompass minority literature in most bookstores today; when you have hundreds of thousands of minority authors out there today.
Now, do not get me wrong I love my classics. I teach British/ American Literature and Art History, but I think it’s sad we as minorities must be displayed this way. I write from paranormal to historical romance and the fact that my characters are Scottish wolves, British vamps, northern Aristocrats and Mythology Professors who have a thang for color, shouldn't matter one way or the other when dealing with love and romance. Paranormal should be with Paranormal, not brand named as Minority Paranormal.
Having a multiracial character that 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. I have two series; fourteen books so far in my paranormal, three contemporary and three historical. Each has a main male character of a different race than the main female character. From Japanese, African, Greek, Caucasian, Romanian, to Native American and so on; because true love is color blind, even if people still don't accept this.
I postulate that many times Caucasian America will look at a book and say "Oh, that's a black writer or a Latin writer" and believe 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 statistics reflect that 90% of their business comes from Caucasian America, which may be the reason minority authors have such a hard time getting their works published. Not to mention, whom did they actually poll in the first place to get these statistics? As well, if they do get their works published, it’s almost stagnate in its movements into the mainstream.
Unfortunately, it seems as if many of today’s Publishing companies continue to hold onto that bull-shite antiquated idea. They still believe the average soccer mom won't want to read a book like that; unless it’s Jorge the pool boy or Malik the thug which happens to be very articulate to her surprise, and tutors her daughter.
However, 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.
Equally, I notice when it comes to books only minorities have their race put out before their name even appears. I should not have to be tagged as a Latina author, Native American author, or African-American author. I am a writer, and this is all that should matter.
When we look at the Romance industry, Multiculturalism, as it’s often called is very limited. The voice of the minority character is almost faceless and vacant in the mainstream reads of America. What’s seen as truly Romantic, without the archaic stamp on medieval history is very limited. I am more incline to look at it from the “Romantic Period”, and encompass a wide variety of tastes to whatever we deem this Romantic genre truly is.
Similarly, when the masses of America see Romance it’s often labeled as Pride & Prejudice, EverAfter, Kate & Leopold, Cinderella, or some antiquated picturesque ideal of the Happily Ever After. I do like these films, and yes it is romance, “Romance at its finest”, but I would also put forward; what about Interracial Romance, Minority Romance, LGBT, or any Romance where it isn't just two straight Caucasian people?
By the same token, the dictionary defines Romance as; A romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire. It defines Love as; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. It also defines Love as; A sexual passion or desire. A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart. Yet, in each of these descriptions, I did not see once where Color, Race, Creed, or Sexual Orientation came into play.
Moreover, Love is Love, as the marvelously talented Boy George once said; and I believe he is completely and totally on point. I feel like whether you're a Caucasian guy who has a thang for Sustahs, a Japanese guy who has love for Latinas, a Mexican guy who just can't get enough of Arab women, or an African- American guy who just loves him some Caucasian women. Who Cares, as long as "you do you", and you feel comfortable in your own skin. True love sees no color lines, is pure in its truest form; and is only tainted when narrow-minded haters infiltrate it and make it something it is not. My ideal of love, includes er' body!
A Gorgeous Hot Yummy is just that. Furthermore, his race does not matter one bit to me! Just my opinion on the Romance Genre of Yesterday and Today ;)
Alexandria teaches English Literature, American Literature and Art History at the college level in sunny California, and has five amazing children, three of which are collage age. Writing has always been her passion, and to be able to get paid for it as well, just rocks her boat. She’s the author of Teaching Between Midnight and Dawn, Midna’s Farie Tale (paranormal) A Slow Time to Love, A Lad’s Trousers, Fire & Ice ( historical) and Mendacity ( contemporary); all available on Amazon. You can find Alexandria Infante @
www.poisonedpin.webs (paranormal romance)
www.alieinfante.webs.com (historical romance)
www.contemporarylove.webs.com (contemporary romance)
www.poisonedpin.blogspot.com (book blog)