Should all authors write IR or Multicultural?
As much as I hate to say it....No.
Why do I think this unsettling way?
It goes back to the old phrase that most writers either wholeheartedly agree with or disagree with: Write what you know.
Sometime ago I was part of a discussion with several prominent mainstream authors where they were asked if they would attempt to write a book featuring a African American Heroine with their Alpha Male Hero, rather than their usual Blonde Temptress. Most of them said, "No." "No way, I don't think I have the ability." Some said, "No, I know I'd insult someone unintentionally." And a precious one or two said (try not to roll your eyes), "Hey! I'm part (fill in the blank)
For some reason, only they know why, many people were annoyed with those authors that said, "No."
Personally, I'm grateful that they knew their limitations and didn't want to risk their reputation.
What limitations you ask? You're full of questions today, aren't you?
Well, I'll tell you my friend! They knew that they haven't a clue about the fact that few sisters go anywhere without lotion and not the cheap watery kind, in her purse.
I once remember reading on a board for Black Woman and White Men a comment by a widower who told the other men on the board, "If you don't know what "ash" is, find another board." This guy could write a book about loving a black woman and I'd buy it without a second thought. I'd probably buy two or three copies as a matter of fact, because I know the heroine would not find a romantic walk in the rain romantic after spending $40 or more and half the day at the salon for a wash and set prior to the date.
But unless, those authors have real friends that are women of color or members of the family, they're far more likely to insult ir readers than flatter them and in turn ruin their reputation with their readers that are women of color that they were unaware of before. Those faithful readers would immediately stop being invisible and silent the moment they read about a dark-skinned heroine not lotioning her body after getting out of a steaming hot shower. Especially if a couple of hours later, the hero commented on how smooth and clear her skin was.
Now come on....
Don't make me say it.
Okay I'm going to say it.
Two hours after I've put on lotion, I need to put more on my these chocolate legs!
So, thank you to those authors that know enough to know they don't know enough about Women of Color...be they black, asian or latin, to write our stories.
BUT....at the same time, let me not forget those authors that work it right!
Kei Swanson, Jeanne Sumerix and Suzanne Brockmann! Those three ladies deserve our undying devotion and gratitude. They know us and they know how to "write" us and I applaud them.