Today on the blog I’m delighted to welcome Women’s Fiction author Kim Golden Malmgren! Kim is an inspiration, truly living what she writes about in her books. Born and raised in the USA, she followed her heart to Sweden where she now lives. She took the time to step in and answer a few questions for me.
1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
For me, “diverse books” means books by and about people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and walks of life. I am a voracious reader. I read everything. But I do get tired of being told that “no one wants to read about black women in that situation” or that “women in the Midwest and the South feel uncomfortable about reading IR (inter-racial) love stories”. Diversity in life and literature is good. It lets you imagine another sort of life and see things from another perspective. So I am all for diverse books and it’s one of the reasons my novels and novellas always have a diverse, multiracial cast.
2. How do you think we should encourage more diversity in the literary world?
Well, it starts with agents and editors being more open-minded and not pandering to the old idea that white people only want to read about other white people. Or that black people only want to read about other black people. Booksellers can help too: stop segregating books! Stop sticking fiction by black and Latina authors in the “Black Interests” or “Hispanic Interests” section–if it’s a novel, shelve it with all the other novels! I used to work in a bookstore, I always shelved novels by minority authors in the Fiction and Literature section, because that’s where they belong. More reader + author events to help spread the word and bring people together. We authors can also help by always making sure we recommend diverse books to readers–I always do it via Twitter, Facebook and my book blog (Kim Talks Books).
3. What do you see as the challenges facing authors of diverse books?
We don’t always get the same amount of support from book bloggers. I read a lot of book blogs and many of them only feature books by white authors. If I want to do a blog tour for my books, it can be difficult finding white bloggers who will actually join. It’s really frustrating. I have a book blog and I feature authors of *all* ethnicities. It’s a cop out when bloggers assume that readers are only interested in one sort of experience. So not being able to get the same level of promotion is a problem. It means we sometimes spend more time promoting than actually working on new books.
4. You often write about interracial relationships. Can you tell us why this is an important theme for you?
I first started writing about interracial relationships because, when I was in high school, no one else was writing about them. Or, if they did, they only focused on problems and not the love between the two characters. At the time, I was in my first IR relationship, and I wanted to read something that reflected my own experience, which was for the most part positive and not very different from other relationships. Now I live overseas and I am married to a Swede. I continue to write about IR relationships because I still feel there are so many stories out there not being told. I want to see more stories that are about the love without fetishizing IR relationships. I’ve been married to a white man for nearly twenty years and our marriage has all the same ups and downs a single race couple would have–and that’s the sort of story I like telling, that shows how normal it is…that it’s not something exotic.
5. Please tell us some of your favourite diverse books and/or authors.
There are so many! The Calum by Xio Axelrod, In the Nothing by Nia Forrester, Melissa Blue’s Under the Kilt series, Nina Perez’s Sharing Space series, Sarah Phillips by Andrea Lee, Such a Girl by Karen Siplin… My list could go on. 🙂
Thank you so much, Kim! It was really good of you to join us and take part in Diverse Books Month.
If you’d like to know more about Kim and her work, you can find her in the following places:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Golden/e/B007SNV3K8/