At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.
But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them ....
Topic of Choice: Whites-Only Paranormal Fantasy Genre
Now before we begin, this is not just an attack on any single author. I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes for her fresh ideas and her writing style. Same thing with a lot of my favorite paranormal romance or paranormal fantasy authors which include Andrea Cremer and Stephenie Meyer just to name a few.
However, I do have a problem with the fact that no author (except for Dia Revees and maybe some select others) have minority characters in this genre as the lead character. It's almost like there's a rule about not having any minority there.
Now of course, some authors have minority characters as side characters which is okay. Except it's like not getting the lead role in your favorite play. You want the lead role, but at least you're included int he play int he first place.
What I seriously don't get though is that a lot of kids that read these genres are minorities. I'm not saying that European American males and females don't read these books. They do also. However, as an African American female reading these types of books it's discouraging (to say the least) to not find any minorities in the books at times as the lead or even minorities as the side characters.
Am I saying all of the famous authors should now suddenly rush to put minority characters in their books? Absolutely not.
I'm saying that more authors should consider that the lead in paranormal romances don't have to be white. They can be Hispanic, African American (or even African, that would be fascinating!), Asian, Native America, Samoan or any other type of minority or even mixes of all different types of races.
Let's even take it a step further: How many reader's of Jennifer Lynn Barne's books are represented in her novels?
Is it not fair that Hispanic American females read her books constantly yet they are never represented in her books? Sure, it's nice to get a thank you for reading my books from an author. But how awesome would it be to have a character named after a reader? Or even have a character inspired by a reader?
Or even take it at the very base value: How cool would it be to have strong minority role models that are not stereotypical in paranormal fantasy or paranormal romance books?
Now let's take a step back. I know some authors might be intimidated by the huge weight this puts on their shoulders. They may wonder how they write an Asian American character without making her or him stereotypical.
And you want to know the answer: Research.
Authors do research all the time, especially paranormal romance or paranormal fantasy authors. Why? Because they need to know the original origin of these myths and bring them back to life. How much harder would it be to research a culture?
How hard would it be for Becca Fitzpatrick to go into a community of Native Americans and ask them a few questions about their culture? Or to simply talk to them or even at the basic level, visit them every weekend?
I can't say for all minorities (since I'm only part of one minority group) but for the most part, if you ask me how it is to be an African American female, I'll tell you. I welcome questions, as long as it's not taken as a joke or even a big fat waste of time. If I can see that you are at least trying to understand African American culture, then I am more than welcome to answer questions.
Additionally, the African American community is pretty wide open to talk about experiences being African American, especially about discrimination. All you have to do is ask or even say hello once and a while.
Anyway, I'm veering off into another rant or even another topic altogether. My main point of this whole discussion: Authors need to consider including minority groups into their works.
I think sooner or later, minorities will eventually figure out that the character isn't like them at all. There are huge cultural differences between African Americans and European Americas. Just on the basic level on speak and tone. Then some will simply walk away from an author.
It's just that simple.
After a while, I get tired of reading about white females always getting into trouble with some mysterious white hero. I do. I seriously get tired of seeing the same people in novels. Where are the black heroes? Where are the Asian heroes (other then ninjas)?
And I'm not the only one asking these questions or simply walking away.
A student of mine, Javon, simply walked away from a novel because he couldn't identify with those characters. At one point, I was mad at him because I gave him one of my favorite series, Time Warp Trio. He was so into the book that he didn't speak the entire time of MIRP (Monitored Independent Reading Program).
Then the next day, he didn't want to read it.
"Because it's boring!"
"Why is it boring?!"
"No really, Javon, you were so into it yesterday. Why do not want to read it?"
"Okay, Javon, I'll tell you what. Write me a letter (that has to be at least six complete sentences) about why you don't want to read this book."
And he did. He basically told me he didn't want to read the book anymore because it didn't pertain to him or his culture (African American). So he picked up the Bluford Series instead which features African Americans.
You see what happened in a matter of a day!?
Authors may not want to see this change occur, but I'm right in front of the students who are constantly hungry for books that feature characters like them. Characters that speak like them, run into realistic problems like them, and relate to them.
I wish some authors could come in and see what's happening, but instead they write with characters who are not relating to students who are different. Who aren't the drop dead gorgeous girl but can throw a mean right punch. Girls who may not be the prettiest or even smartest, but they can dress better then any celebrity.
Where are the authors who relate to them?
Where are the role models in paranormal fantasy and paranormal romance for minorities?