Saturday, February 4, 2012


 By Lena Hart

Last month, I scoured the internet trying to find information on how interracial (IR) romances were trending in today’s market. Since those are the type of stories I’m interested in writing, I figured I’d get a sense of how IR romances were selling. Generally, IR romances seem to be thriving with small print publishers and e-pubs, and growing some traction with more well-known publishing houses. However, what really caught my interest was a forum I happened to find myself in where several black and IR romance writers had plenty to say about the subgenres and why they think one is thriving over the other.

I was fascinated to see how candid the conversations were but what stuck out the most to me was the collective belief that IR romances where doing better than black romances because the stories were more “relatable”. IR writers argued the opposite, stating IR romances were not selling because they couldn’t relate to a larger audience. This was an interesting theory considering paranormal are dominating the market right now and if readers can relate to vampires and werewolves, I can’t see why they couldn’t connect with a black protagonist.

Many discounted this idea as well. They believed instead that, thanks to Hollywood, black romances weren’t doing as well as they should because there was a preconceived misconception from readers that black romances were of the “street urban” variety. It was further interesting to see that some IR writers shared this same prejudice of black romances.

I believe their bias stemmed from being kicked out of writer groups because their stories weren’t realistic enough for black readers to relate to or didn’t represent the black community authentically. Because of these critics they believe that they need to infuse more “urban elements” into their story in order to appeal to black audiences so they decided not to write exclusively about black characters. They broaden their character’s backgrounds, experiences, cultural view to appeal to a wider audience.

These conversations went on for many threads but it was refreshing to see that, in the end, the majority of IR writers didn’t harbor such stereotypes. They write about interracial couples because that’s what they liked to read and thus that’s what they choose to write. As a romance reader, I appreciate the variety our genre offers and as a writer, I love to create a world where two people fall in love despite the odds.

Whatever hue my characters happen to be, I fully intend to flex my creative muscles and explore my range as a romance writer. For now, I’m just happy to see IR romances doing fairly well in the market and hope it continues to grow in popularity. I’d like to hope it finds a place in the mainstream market someday. Until then, I’m happy to keep writing it.♥

Lena Hart is a romance writer with her first interracial romance novella currently submitted for publication. She is also the editorial assistant for the RWANYC Keynotes newsletter and is working on several literary projects while obtaining her MA in English Language & Literacy. To learn more about Lena and her work, please visit her at

1 comment:

  1. Very informative article, Lena. I also enjoy reading and writing IR stories and as you said love creating a story where emerges despite the odds.