Hi all! Today on the blog I’d like you to give a warm welcome to Harper Miller, author of diverse romantic fiction. She lives in New York and has a background in medical research. She says her romantic fiction writing is inspired by her lacklustre love life and when she’s not writing, working or exercising, she’s going on bad dates. I don’t want to tell her she’ll never find anyone as awesome as a book boyfriend, but I think she’d agree with me 🙂
I asked her five questions about diverse books and her responses are genuine and informed. It’s a pleasure to have her participating in Diverse Books Month!
1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
To me diverse books means being inclusive, it means characters in stories being depicted accurately and reflecting society as a whole. That means writing books where the main characters are people of color, people of varying sexual orientations, people who are not always able-bodied, people who have differing religions. It means writing with realism in mind.
2. What are the challenges that you think face authors of diverse books in the literary world?
Well, I’ve heard that people are often scared to write “diverse” books for fear that they may be labelled racist or that they might get it wrong. I believe that’s a cop out response and a disservice to writing. I am not white, I am not a male, and I am not Japanese, but thus far in my writing career I have written all of these characters without stereotypes entering the equation. If people are afraid that they might fall into the trap of stereotyping then perhaps it means expanding your circle of friends. Travel to meetups where you can access people who differ from you but you share a common goal (perhaps a local writers group), ask people you trust questions in a respectful manner as part of you character study. With the Internet at our fingertips, there really is no excuse, even if you are the introverted type. Another challenge is getting readers to step outside of their comfort zones. There are tons of phenomenal books out there that simply aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. This is true in both the indie world and traditional publishing.
3. Are there any diverse characters (religious, ethnic, disabled), etc. that you’d like to see more of in books?
They’re already there it’s simply a matter of recognition. Take the romance genre for instance. Many mainstream romance blogs don’t promote gay romance or interracial/multicultural romance on a regular basis. I get that each blog has a preference in what they wish to post, but you can’t call yourself a romance blogger but then neglect entire subgenres. I think this is when it becomes helpful to recruit a roster of different types reviewers. People who read all types of subgenres so that most bases are covered. I’m always amazed when I see “what’s new and hot” or what makes the best of lists and not a single book features a heroine or hero of color. It’s disheartening.
4. You live in New York, a city of amazing diversity. Does that influence your writing in any way?
Absolutely, for now, NYC provides the backdrop for the majority of my stories for that very reason. It’s a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. The best city for writing, lol not that I’m biased or anything.
5. Please tell us some of your favourite diverse books and/or authors.
Some of my favorite books by diverse authors in no particular order both indie and mainstream covering many genres:
Being Plumville by Savannah Frierson
The Webster Fields series by Mercedes Keyes
Ain’t I A Woman by bell hooks
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Hot Head by Damon Suede
Packing Heat by Kele Moon
The Brothers LaFon by Joseph Lance Tonlet
The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
The Color of Water by James McBride
A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki
At Her Feet by Rebekah Weatherspoon (also her FIT series)
I’d also like to mention work by Beverly Jenkins and Shakir Rashaan. They provide a different perspective when it comes to historicals and BDSM. Shakir writes about D/s and BDSM, and Beverly writes wonderful historicals.
Thank you so much for joining us, Harper!
If you’d like to know more about Harper and her books, you can find here here: