Yesterday Angela T was blogging at Romancing the Blog about how
Here we are in 2009 and the case of “separate, but equal” rules how AA romances are treated. [...] I for one feel that acknowledging the issues romance writers of color face is the first step to understanding, and ultimately, supporting the inclusion of romance writers–and characters–of all colors, creeds, and nationalities into the romance genre.Also yesterday, over at Dear Author, Handy Hunter had up a guest post about "Cultural Appropriation in Romance." Sunita added a very detailed comment which gave examples of many different possible scenarios for historical romances set in India with Indian protagonists. The discussion is still ongoing and it broadened out from the initial topic of cultural appropriation to include examples of "issues romance writers of color face." Jade Lee wrote about her personal experience:
Harlequin recruited me into the Blaze line specifically to add a dimension of multi-culturalism to it. I’ve written 3 books for them, one historical, two contemporary, all with Asian characters. No paranormal elements. Harlequin promoted me well, especially The Concubine which was the second historical Blaze ever, not the first. I think I write good books, but The Concubine was especially good and fit perfectly with senior editor Brenda Chin’s vision for the Blaze line.Despite the failure of this experiment, many readers on the thread expressed their wish to read romances written by "romance writers of color" about protagonists "of color." I thought I'd add a few links to some online short stories which might fit the bill:
After 3 books, Harlequin considers the experiement over. The sales were extremely poor. It was not the fault of promotion or marketing. I got a TON of promotion. It was also (according to senior editor Brenda Chin and the few who read the books) not the fault of the writing.
Shobhan Bantwal - Seeking a Six-Foot Bride about Rajesh Sanwal, who is "seeking a six-foot bride."
Barbara Caridad Ferrer - For You I Will and a sequel, about Adam Cardenas and Milagros Acevedo.
Roslyn Hardy Holcomb - Rock Star Wedding, a novella and sequel to Rock Star. If you haven't already read Rock Star, you might want to just focus on the protagonists of this novella, Naysa and Twist.
Going further back in time, I suppose one could think of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda as a romance by a white author about characters from a different racial background:
George Eliot's final novel, Daniel Deronda, was also her most controversial. Few had a problem, upon its publication in 1876, with its portrayal of yearning and repression in the English upper class. But as Eliot's lover, George Henry Lewes, had predicted: "The Jewish element seems to me likely to satisfy nobody." (Owen)If you've got more recommendations or links, please do leave a comment.
Both illustrations come from Wikimedia Commons. The first is "Attributed to Manohar" and is from "India, Mughal dynasty, ca. 1597." The second "was painted by Chang We-Che'ng who lived in the 8th and 9th centuries."