has a new home at two single point-of-origin URLs:
More info soon about the re-launch festivities!
Ah, how to write about the subject without waxing all, 'hey, some of my best friends are African-American romance writers..."
Here's the deal. How often to you see black folks on romance novel covers when you're heading through your local bookstore? If you don't live in a "diverse" community, you probably don't see a lot.
In truth? I've asked publishers to send me more urban/black/African-American romance, but receive sah-limmm pickins, if any at all. And I say it all the time: romance is a business, and when marketing is done well and demographics are paid attention to, everybody wins. So I guess it might make sense that publishers market "black romance" to black folks.
But I'm not sure I buy that white folks don't want to read about folks who aren't white falling in love. Yet I could be wrong and it would have nothing, not one damn thing at all to do with readers exhibiting prejudice.
It could all be about placeholding. For example, I love short heroines cause I am short and easily and happily enjoy placing myself in that romance fantasy. Lots of tall women dig tall heroines for the same reason: it feels good for us to be seen as desirable, rather than as extremes.
But is it easy for a reader to place herself inside a skin that's different from her own? If you asked black women who for years only were offered romances with white h/hns, you'd probably have gotten a resounding, 'well, it gets pretty tedious, that's for sure.'
Now, way back when RBtheBook first started, I remember some online reviewer chick jumped on the chat board -- cause that's all we had in the beginning -- and went off about how when she read an "urban" romance, she graded it down, because she couldn't stand how poor the grammar was, that she thought a command of the English language was de rigeur -- my words, not hers -- for a novel to be good.
I thought, 'hey white girl, would you grade down Shakespeare cause he spelled funny?' I mean, I live in suburban Minneapolis, but I'm not foolish enough to believe that everyone everywhere else says, 'Gol, doesn't that lutefisk smell good?"
Sometimes, reading well is about being open to learning how people live and talk and love. And even white chicks like me can get jazzed over hearing colloquialism and dialect and elocution come to life on the page.
What do you think? How do you enjoy romances in which the hero/ine isn't your race? What buttons does it push for you?
Got any favorite romance authors who are African-American?
Encore! Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King...
Encore due! Read Laura Vivenco's excellent piece on "African-American Romances: A Brief History," at Teach Me Tonight.