Monday, May 2, 2016

A Whole Lotta Words on Doing Things By Halves

Romance author and Washington Post columnist Sarah MacLean put out a call on Twitter earlier today, asking for India-set historicals featuring heroes and heroines of color. Maybe it's because I kind of understand Sarah-speak by now, or because I have a lot of hope, but I automatically assumed she was asking about stories by authors of South Asian origin writing about South Asian people. The answers that came back were all recs for books by white women...and at least four white authors volunteered that they're writing stories with half-Indian characters.

Sophia Duleep Singh, actual biracial person and
 suffragette, in 1910
White authors are writing historical romances with half-Indian characters, and all I can ask is "Why?" Because you care about the biracial and marginalized experience at the time or because you think it's sexy and the right touch of angst? If it's the latter...I thought we were past that two decades ago, aside from a few authors here and there who still love to drop in a half-Indian peer. If you claim it's the former...show me the receipts. I would love to see a fictionalized take on Sophia Duleep Singh. Or Merle Oberon (yes, I know Michael Korda already did that). But I know that the reality of romance writing is much different. What we're told and what we actually get are often seas apart.

And, let's be honest, why isn't the character 100 percent Indian? Is there something wrong with that? Will it completely change your story? Or is the half-Indianness just a tool, an easy source of conflict? A dash of spice? Biracial people, whether they're on the page or picking up the book, deserve FAR better than that.

With diversity and inclusivity very much part of the romance publishing conversation, I really question intent. Is this about being cool and trendy? Are you trying to jump on a bandwagon? Because I've talked about that. So MANY of us have talked about that. We're not this hot new thing. And we're not demanding diverse characters from everybody. You seriously don't have to include POC...especially if you're going to half-ass it. Because another part of the conversation we're having is about harm. Is your portrayal going to cause someone pain?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Where to Find Me at #RT16...

...unless you want to kick my ass. Then ignore this post in its entirety!

That's right, folks! I'll be attending this week's RT Booklover's Convention in Las Vegas from Wednesday, April 13, through Saturday, April 16. I will have rabble-rousing buttons, but no other swag, and probably some mid-level anxiety!

My schedule's pretty light — it is, after all, Vegas and one needs to make allowances — but you can find me at TWO panels during the conference!

Historical: Look Around, Look Around: Exploring the Exciting New World of Inclusive Historical Romance
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 2:45pm-3:45pm,  Conga
Moderator:
Suleikha Snyder
Panelist(s):
Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Courtney Milan, Genevieve Turner

HEA For All: Writing Multicultural Romances
Thursday, April 14, 2016 1:30pm-2:30pm,  Palma G
Moderator:
Alisha Rai
Panelist(s):

Rebekah Weatherspoon, Suleikha Snyder, Alyssa Cole

Aside from these two panels, I have no set plans — except supporting my pals at their panels and then following them around like a duckling.