That’s actually the lovely title my Harlequin Love Inspired editors chose for my January 2021 book and I’m super excited to see what they do with the cover, which will be the heroine with her golden retriever Sissy.
But today it’s my own heart I’d like to open, baring my soul, so to speak. Frankly, this is kind of scary for me because I’m serious in my endeavor to discover reader input and yet I know my questions may be sensitive for some, which is exactly why I’m asking here on the blog, with readers I love and trust. And because these are tough questions, I’ll select one commenter to send a copy of my Harlequin Love Inspired July book The Black Sheep’s Salvation.
It all started when my prince story was flat-out rejected by my traditional publisher. I wasn’t really surprised, although I personally disagree. Do you all like royalty stories or not? I can’t imagine Disney did as well as they’ve done, not to mention Hallmark, without stories about royalty. So you tell me—yea or nay on the prince?
And now comes the question that I’ve been tiptoeing around ever since my rejection. We’ve all heard, and I believe, that there is a serious lack of diversity in romance novels. So here’s the thing—I would love to write more diversity into my novels. It’s not going to happen in my traditionally published novels because of something known as Own Voices, meaning if I’m not Asian, I should not be writing Asian characters, and so on. And while I deeply respect that I cannot fully understand what it’s like to be Asian or African American, neither have I ever been a man, yet I write the male point of view as honestly as I can.
So here I am looking forward to writing a self-published Christmas novel with a hero who hails from a fictional island south of India. I intend to approach diversity with the utmost respect. But because of Own Voices, I’m hesitant. So I would appreciate your thoughts on diversity in literature, specifically as it relates to the author writing the story.
What do you think? Is this an issue for you, or would you be willing to read books about diverse characters written by authors of different backgrounds?
The Black Sheep’s Salvation will be available starting June 16th online and at retailers wherever books are sold.