By Lena Hart
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.
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 www.lenahartsite.com.