Today we have author Olivia Linden talking to us about Diversity in books! Olivia is a native New Yorker and has known since she was seven that she wanted to be a writer. Although she describes herself as a newbie to the book industry, Olivia is finding success with her blend of humour and big, sexy personalities. we caught up with her to ask some questions about diversity.
1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
To me, ‘diverse books’ show the world form the eyes of a of a ‘diverse’ character. Not just the main character, but the attitude and surrounding characters add a multicultural depth. The can also be books that are written by authors of ‘Diverse’ backgrounds. Their voice shapes the story.
2. You were born and raised in New York, a city of incredible cultural diversity. How has this influenced your writing?
Being of Jamaican descent, I’ve always been hyper aware of different cultures and backgrounds. Jamaican culture is a melting pot, much like New York City. Within the culture are layers of influence from the multitude of races/cultures that populate the Island. Living in New York is responsible for a large part of my cultural shaping, but also growing up in San Antonio, TX exposed me to other cultures at a young age. I grew up with friends who were ‘not like’ me and learned their ways. As a teen/adult I moved back to NY and learned even more. Living and working in the City, you can literally breath in the diversity.
3. Some of your books feature interracial romances. Is this an important aspect of diversity in fiction?
I think it is very important. This is my reality. This is what I see in the world around me. These are my friends, and family. My world is not made up of only same race relationships.
4. Your characters come from a wide range of different cultures, from Cuban to Asian and African-American. How are these characters inspired and how do you give them an authentic voice?
It’s really difficult to explain, but I’ll try. My stories are works of fiction, right? Fabricated from my overactive imagination. Once I have the idea down, then I can pull from my life experiences. I’ve dated outside of my race. I’ve worked closely and have friendships with people of other cultures. I’m a people watcher and have always been interested in how the rest of the world works. So I write what I know, and for the rest, GOOGLE. Lol!
5. Please share with us some of your favourite diverse authors and/or books.
This is such a hard question. I grew up in a home with a bookshelf stuffed with hundreds of books. I read them all because I loved to read, not thinking about the actual makeup of the authors or characters. These are some of the books that jump out. The Celestine Prophecy, Erotique Noire/Black Erotica, Beloved, Waiting to Exhale, The Count of Monte Cristo, Disappearing Acts, The Art of War, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Alchemist.
Thank you so much, Olivia!
To learn more about Olivia and her work, you can find her at the following places: