Race in Romance: Affaire de Coeur

The Romance Slam Jam is roughly five months from now. I’m really looking forward to it, not the least because I get to return to Chicago for their hot dogs and pizza, but because I get to see the largest gathering of black romance readers and writers on the planet. If you want to join in the party, meet a bunch of romance writers, and take a bunch of workshops, register a group of 5 or more get a discount and pay just $175 per person, or individual for $200 until December 31st.

Isn’t that a bargain for a conference?

Anyway, author Dyanne Davis had an interview with Louise Snead, the owner of Affaire de Coeur. You can check it out on Dyanne’s website or the Romance Slam Jam’s newsletter.

In the I-told-you-I’m-not-crazy-department, Ms. Snead makes this observation:

If you poll the average romance reader, they don’t read African American romance. Why? Romance readers indulge passionately in this genre because they want escape and fantasy. They want to believe there is a partner out there for everyone. They want to fantasize about who this person is. If you can have a heroine with all her foibles be loved by the end of the book, then there is hope for the reader. Many readers accept and love romance with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, faeries, elves, and the like, yet cannot accept a hero and heroine of color.

I know this is true. I’ve actually had a reader tell me so. Black people in any other genre, she can read about them and enjoy the story. A black heroine? Not so much. I think that’s sad, but then I also know some readers who only read black woman/other ethnicity male romances and won’t pick up one with a black hero.

Sigh. There are days when I think I’m only writing for myself. Then again, if I were writing for the market, all my heroines would be blonde.