||Who I'm Talking To:
Affaire de Coeur-Interracial Romance
It seems that I am always interviewing authors and readers
either for my website, blog or the monthly Romance Slam Jam
newsletter. So it’s a nice little surprise when I participate in an
interview. In this month’s issue of Affaire de Coeur I was asked
to participate in a discussion about Interracial Romance. Some
of my excerpts are featured in the magazine. The piece was
thought provoking to say the least.
In fact I found it so thought provoking that I decided to post the
questions as given to me and my complete answer. You’ll need
to buy the magazine for the complete article and different takes
on the same questions. I have my copy and thoroughly enjoyed
- For a topic that has been taboo for such a long time, why do you think the
popularity of it is rising?
Louise, that's a question I've asked myself and friends countless times. The
answer I receive when I ask the question is because so many people are in
interracial relationships that they enjoy stories that include their situations. I
would venture a guess that it's on the rise because the increase of couples
crossing racial lines to date and marry is on the rise.
- Do you think reader attitude has really changed about interracial romance or do
you think they think it’s inevitable so why complain about it?
I honestly don't know if ALL readers have changed their attitude about
interracial romance. I have readers who will not read anything I write that is
interracial. Then again I have readers who will only read the interracial
stories that I write. Whenever I have a book coming out I will get dozens of
emails asking me if it's interracial. I never hear what is the story about?
Granted, readers have a right to read what they want but I will admit it
greatly disturbs me that readers are limiting themselves to only one type of
writing. I'm not sure if you're aware of all of the e-publishers that are
publishing interracials, but the stories are being gobbled up a fast as the
authors can write them. I've had friends tell me in the past that they would
never write an interracial but they have proven the old adage, never say
- The general feeling is that AA women feel that they have to take a back seat to
Caucasian women as well as other ethnic groups, and they resent. On the other
hand AA women are the target audience for interracial romance. Can you
Louise, let me tackle that last question first, please. I believe it's a
misconception that AA women are the target audience. That might be the
case with traditional print publishers but for e-publishers from what I've
been hearing women of all races are buying the books. Again this is just
my opinion. I believe an e-book interracial can give the women who crave
to read them the anonymity they seek, and that they don't have to explain
why they're reading it.
Now for the first part of your question. I would agree that AA authors are
extremely frustrated that the larger publishing houses are not publishing
stories for the most part about AA couples. Yes, there are a few AA
authors who have managed to cross that elusive bridge. And yes Harlequin
is now publishing AA romances. Though I do remember less than ten years
ago when an editor from Harlequin spoke at a conference I attended and
said that was something they would never do, because it wasn't wanted by
their readers. I think the color green changed their mind.
As far as the taking a back seat part, AA authors are looking for larger
audiences and a bigger payday like any other author. That in itself might be
why some AA authors have chosen or are thinking of taking on a different
pseudonym and writing non AA characters.
- Old school AA often state that AA women had no choice but to succumb to their
Caucasian master, overseer, etc. during and post slavery and when given a
choice, they should not have relationships with Caucasian men. Comment on
You know Louise, I'm thinking that that saying originated with AA men who
will sleep with whomever they please. I fell in love and remain in love with
my husband Bill (39+ years of marriage, 3+years of dating) He's AA. But, I
believe when love hits you don't think about the skin color. At least I hope
you don't. I think if a man places a woman above all but God and treats her
as his most cherished gift, and of course if he sets her heart racing, why in
the world would race matter.
- In the interracial books, who is more likely to be AA, the man or the woman?
When I write an interracial it's the woman who is most likely to be AA. I've
noticed it's the same in the books that most of my friends write. The why of
it I believe is simple. We're women writers and we write from the female
point of view. In romance, the woman is the star. If we're AA so is she.
- Many AA authors have told AdC that they don’t like the intrusion of interracial
romance. Some have even gone as far as to state that unless they writing an
interracial romance as opposed to an AA romance, they are not supported by
their publisher. Do you think there is a push? Why?
I wouldn't say I believe there is a push for authors to write AA romance. I
was told early on in my career that I should write one AA and one interracial
per year. I wasn't ordered to do so, but was given a reason that has proven
to be true. I was told there would be readers who wouldn't read my
interracial and readers who wouldn't read my AA romances. That has also
proven to be true.
- There is a decline in the number of books where both hero and heroine are AA.
Do you think it is attributable to the interracial romance?
I will give you this one. Yes, I attribute the decline in the number of books
where both hero and heroine are AA to interracial romance. But I will go
farther. A lot of readers who only read interracial romances have now
become writers and they write what they love to read. Interracial.
- Conflict and heroines and heroines—are they true to real life in the interracial
romance? For example, in many instances, the AA family of the hero or heroines
is not going to go along with said hero or heroine being in a serious relationship
with a Caucasian partner. Is this realistically portrayed, or is that AA family
welcoming with open arms?
I can't give you a blanket answer on that one. It depends on the writer. In
my first novel, The Color of Trouble, the AA family was dead set against the
relationship. The situation was exaggerated but I pulled on the problems
that arose in my own family when a cousin started dating a Caucasian
woman. The point of the novel was that AA have their own prejudices and
that not all AA are looking to cross the racial lines to find a mate. I was
called a racist more than once after that book came out.
- Make any comments you like on real or fictitious interracial romance.
While I applaud couples for finding love without worrying about their mates
skin tone, I do wish readers would open their minds to all kinds of stories.
Some of my friends and I have talked in great details about this. This isn't
just the AA reader that I'm referring to here. I've heard too often from
women who are not AA that they can't read AA stories because they can't
relate. Now AA writers have to worry that AA readers are saying the same
things. They can't relate to an AA couple if they're in an interracial
relationship. I just don't get it. I can't wait to read what the others have to
say. Maybe they can spread some light on this for me.