Guilty

When Astrid from Ylva sent me a message on Facebook in early 2015, I thought what the actual fuck? She has to be joking, right? Blurred Lines was just fanfic even though I put all my blood, sweat and tears into it the two years or so it took me to write it. Her tongue was so honeyed that I had stars in my eyes by the time I signed a contract for it. Then, I was well on my way sharing my writing with the world at large.

It was fucking awesome.

Yet, one thing never occurred to me. It never hit me that I could make my main characters look like me. I never even considered it. I, myself, had never seen this, but keep in mind I come from fanfic I didn’t read that much published writing. I never saw a black woman on a cover and my thoughts were white sells that’s why. I want to sell too so I have to follow everyone else’s lead.

Are you sitting down for this? You should. I even went as far as to describe people from part of my culture the way many, many authors have done in the past. The black men in Blurred Lines were caramel and toffee.

Holy fuck.

imagesI was guilty. Guilty. GUILTY.

Yeah, I did that. My ignorance wasn’t really an excuse so I educated myself on what was right, on what was representative of my race and culture, and I haven’t looked back since. Now, I write what I know. I base my black characters on what I’ve experienced in various environments. I’m also in an interracial relationship and have been for 13 years as of a few days ago. That is part of my experience as well which can be seen in Between the Lines, Pink, and in my upcoming book, Drawing the Line too.

I’ll write what I know. Plain and simple. (Yes, I’m still not a romantic. Explain that!)

I don’t pen interracial couples because it’s more accepted to have at least one white woman on the cover. I don’t do it because readers say they want diversity but at times they really don’t mean it but read it anyway due to the fact that they have at least one person in their purview they can identify with. I have gotten emails being accused of this. Those all went into the trash with no response from me.

So.

Here’s what it boils down to. Brown people from my race/culture and many others, it is okay to just be that. Not caramel or toffee. While brown may sound drab to a writer, it’s the personality you infuse into your characters that make them multi-faceted. After all, when I look in the mirror I look past my skin tone to see deeper.

Isn’t that the point?

5 thoughts on “Guilty

  1. I’ve been in an interracial relationship for almost 20 years. When I came across your book, Between the Lines, I was so psyched! My wife has done the same thing as Tonya did in the supermarket – and I totally cheered out loud 🙂 Now I’ve got several more books of yours to catch up on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. K.D. like always…you are soo on target! Between the Lines and Pink are some of my favorites because they are lesroms that have touched and moved me. They’re quality reads that are honestly, powerfully and beautifully written stories. As a white lesbian who dates women of color, I have never understood or accepted racism…I just don’t get it. I appreciate that you write about experiences that are important and meaningful to you; as a fan of your writing, I’m happy that you don’t write like everybody else.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s