When I began writing my Seven Brides Seven Brothers series, I wanted to create a family that was diverse in their racial makeup. The Donahue brothers are diverse in that two are African American and one is of Hispanic heritage. In my opinion, this makes the series even more interesting and richly textured. After all, Christian romance shouldn’t be cookie cutter heroes and heroines. Our stories should reflect our readership. And the world we live in. And for too long there has been an absence of diversity in Christian Romance. I believe that romance is romance. A good love story isn’t any less of an amazing story if the characters are multicultural.
I’m pleased to say that my lovely readers have embraced all of my Donahue brothers, which is very rewarding and encouraging. For too long I’ve heard it said that readers feel more comfortable reading about characters who look like them and reflect their own reality. Personally, when I read a book I want to be transported to another world. The very last thing I’m thinking about is the character’s skin color, race or physical condition.
Author Piper Huguley says, “People of all kinds are Christian and have been Christian for some time. It’s time we all come to understand that.” Huguley, an author of three best-selling African American Christian fiction romance novels, has beautiful covers that showcase her multicultural characters. Huguley’s novels reflect a diverse perspective and depict America’s rich, complex history. She is a two time Golden Heart nominee for her works, “A Champions Heart” and “A Virtuous Ruby”. The Golden Heart is an award that recognizes excellence in works by unpublished writers.
Mary Jane Hathaway, author of the wildly successful Jane Austen Takes the South series, created an African American heroine for her third book “Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin’ Cornbread.” The book is a modern, Southern re-telling of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” featuring heroine, Lucy Crawford, and her star-crossed love, Jeremiah Chevy.
“I’m so proud of Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin’ Cornbread. I’m proud when people say it was hard for them to read the interracial romance. I’m proud when people message me that they hadn’t thought very deeply before about issues that come up in the book. But most of all, I’m proud that Lucy chose me, a white middle aged woman from Oregon to put her on the page.”
When I use the D word I’m not just talking about race or color. In my novel “Heart of A Soldier” my heroine, Holly Lynch, is a paraplegic. When I conceived the idea of writing her love story I knew that it might not appeal to all readers. Disabled heroines are not commonplace. And not all readers are comfortable with characters that stray from the norm. After all, romance novels are usually inhabited by physically perfect people. A paraplegic heroine is far from perfect. Thankfully, I’ve received nothing but support and love from readers who have embraced the character of Holly Lynch.
What is disheartening to me is when I hear readers say they haven’t purchased a book with diverse characters on the cover. My advice to readers is…pick up a diverse romance novel. If you’ve never read anything with POC (people of color) characters or with disabled characters, make a point to do so. You may find your next favorite book.
In celebration of diverse novels I’m giving away a copy of my Love Inspired book “Forever Her Hero” which features an African American hero and heroine, Sawyer and Ava. I’m also adding a beautiful bracelet. To be entered in the drawing you have to comment on my post.