As an author, I refuse to compromise my beliefs or sell my soul in order to sell books. I realize that in a perfect world readers would not be racist, sexist, homophobic, classist or religiousist. But even xenophobes like to read . . . and review books.
Though I am mindful about cultural appropriation, my stories will always include characters who are not white, not Christian, not heterosexual and who are comfortable with who they are. My main characters are liberal-minded folks who fight the good fight, so readers who–for example–are anti-indigenous will dislike my book for its inclusion of First Nations peoples and sacred, traditional art. They may see this kind of inclusion to be baffling, unnecessary to the story, and/or out-and-out annoying.
I have forced them out of their comfort zone.
My second novel includes a lesbian married couple, POC and activists. It will address both domestic abuse and the patriarchy. Art will again play a major role in the mystery, as will how women have been and are still being portrayed in works of art.
I’m not playing it safe. I refuse to whitewash my fiction. My novels are loud and proud. Yeah, so there be dragons, over there, ugly ism-dragons that resent the fact that I am mapping my worlds with diverse characters. In a way, I am daring those dragons to fire away, fire away, try ‘n burn my books or discourage others to read them with smoke and mirrors.
I know my book will not be enjoyed by everyone, even by those who share my convictions! (I want to make that abundantly clear!) My genre-blending Gothic mystery will be too hybrid for some.
Now, as far as those ism-dragons go? They can huff all they want. I’m not scared. Why? Because I know that readers are as diverse as my characters. I will trust in the power of perception, and the wonders of open minds. First reviewers have said my novel is ‘unique’, ‘fresh’, ‘refreshing’, ‘a good mystery’, ‘interesting’, and unputdownable. (I was so touched!) I am grateful and amazed and excited and thrilled that already some readers have enjoyed my book.
Wait till you see what comes next!