Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kenya Carlton Guest Post!!

Hey everybody! I'm excited to have Kenya Carlton, author of Undressed here with us today to do a guest post! This is a part of the Bewitching Book Tour. Kenya is writing about an extremely interesting topic today, how interracial relationships work in literature.


Sales for interracial romance novels have been on an upward trajectory in the e-book world for a while now.  I don’t remember seeing much of this genre in the bookstores’ Romance or African American section which could mean a few things.  But the most prevalent thought in my mind is that mainstream publishing ignored this niche; whereas, e-pubs took the ball and ran with it.  I’ve written a few interracial romances and a couple of multicultural and the appeal to me was the ‘I want it but can’t have it’ factor.

Interracial romance is the equivalent of putting ice cream and cake in front of a kid and waiting for the fireworks to begin.   

We shouldn’t diddle each other, but we just can’t help it.   Even if this plot device isn’t addressed within the novel, race is still a topic that lurks around in the patchwork of the story.  Most of the time race will either vanish entirely or not be brought up in the context of the relationship at all, but it’s still the elephant in the room especially within the genre of historicals.  Thankfully even before an author puts pen to paper, there are a lot of issues that go along with interracials that make for ridiculously fun possibilities.  

Background. Regardless of financial status, there is no way these two people have the same childhood experiences.  Whether she grew up middle class with private school education and he grew up poor, the struggles each of them faced is unique all into themselves. Money, religion, and sex-(parents still married or not) determines the person no matter what race but is amplified with interracial romance.        

Cultural stereotypes, good or bad. This is harder to explain but let me try anyway. In one of his comedy routines, Katt Williams offered a great example of these stereotypes. He talks about having called a black friend from jail and asked him to bail him out. He had been out partying with the night concluding with him in the poke. The friend proceeds to ask him a whole bunch of questions that ultimately end with “What party and why wasn’t I invited?”  Kat then gives the example of his white friend’s response to the same situation which is met not with the third degree but with outrage and the promise to bail him out as soon as possible. See, same situation but different outlooks.  A cultural stereotype is close to background but no quite.  What excludes one person from another group is the thing that welcomes the included.  

I think what draws readers to interracial romance is the differences within our races that keep us on our toes.  If the internet did not exist, these books would have an underground cult audience where you would have to go to one of those dark and dank bookstores to simply cop an interesting read. Thankfully now the choice of variety is everywhere which means the technological ushering in of e-books made a difference and the internet did something good after all.  

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