Open Discussion – Missing Diversity in Sub Genres

Happy Saturday, Diverse Reader Friends!

Thanks for hanging with us at Diversity today. I’m sorry we didn’t have a discussion post the last two Saturdays. My brain took a hiatus. πŸ˜‰ Thankfully, it’s back and I have a new topic to talk about.

Here’s the question: where are all the diverse characters in genres other than romance? I’m talking genres like Speculative fiction (which encompasses sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, etc.), mystery, historical, suspense, thrillers, young adults?

We’ve featured some authors who write in the historical genre and I’m thankful for them. Nothing bothers me more than the absent of people of color from historical times. But I rarely see ethnic main characters in these other genres. Have you?

What can we do to get more diverse characters in these genres? If you’ve read a Christian fiction book in these sub categories that lead with an ethnic character, give the book a shout out!


4 thoughts on “Open Discussion – Missing Diversity in Sub Genres

  1. I recently read Jazzy Girl by C.L. Wells (romantic suspense), The Blood Moons: Wrath of Elijah by Kachi Ugo (middle grade fantasy), and Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong by Joan Steinau Lester after I learned about it on this site πŸ™‚ (young adult fiction.) My Movement of Crowns series features multicultural characters with a heroine of color in the lead in the second book (technically fantasy–“low” fantasy, if you will, though it’s written in the spirit of historical fiction.)

    I’m likely not the best person for this question because I only *just* started branching out into fantasy, sci-fi, mysteries, etc., and sometimes my lack of knowledge of what’s out there has more to do with the fact that I haven’t really been in that space and looked for it before, and I don’t know where to look. πŸ˜€

    Still, I think one major factor here is the fact that romance is such a popular genre anyway, including where Christian Fiction is concerned. I’ve noticed that it’s often a challenge for ChristFic readers to find a lot of ChristFic speculative fiction, young adult fiction, historical and suspense reads with only minimal romance, etc. *in general,* let alone the added question of diverse characters. When it comes to finding ChristFic thrillers, suspense, and whatnot from the major ChristFic publishers, I’ve seen the same pattern there as with all the genres they publish (little to no lead characters of color), but even when I’m scoping out diverse ChristFic from other places, the vast majority of what I see offered is romance and women’s fiction.

    So, I think Christian Fiction doesn’t necessarily have a strong showing in certain genres in general, and much of it may have to do with precedence. Publishers mostly publishing what they’ve published before, and authors (diverse authors included) mostly writing books much like what they’ve seen and have enjoyed reading before. But as I’ve started to hear rumblings of a call for more ChristFic fantasy, sci-fi, whodunits, and such, I think more ChristFic authors will see, “Yeah–it’s okay to write that Christian epic fantasy novel. It’s okay to write that Christian space opera. It’s okay to write that Christian psychological thriller. No, you haven’t seen much like it in Christian Fiction before, but it’s okay to write it anyway.”

    Again, this is coming from someone who spent a whole lot of time reading mostly romance, historical, and classic literature and hasn’t been in the space of other genres for very long. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I read in almost every genre but it’s still hard for me to find some with diverse characters. I look forward to seeing more and more authors branching out in other genres and making them diverse. It’ll be a beautiful thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. i think as authors, we tend to write what we know – and are. it takes deliberate effort to stretch that. i write organically and don’t realize details about characters sometimes until they (ahem) tell me. current series is set in 1912 and without realizing it, turned quite diverse – it’s set in SC so there are several black characters, one couple whom has risen about the status quo of the day: the husband is a successful architect and his wife has taken her place in society even.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t read historical fiction, but I know there have been books that speak historically about diverse groups that have spirituality in them. But I wouldn’t say that they are Christian fiction. I’m thinking more specifically about literature that is set at the turn of the century, like books from Isabel Allende or Alice Walker, where they have spiritual elements but could not be considered Christian fiction.
    I think Robin is right in saying we write what we know or are and also editors want you to write to the main audience (i.e. White), but the problem with that is that there are millions of diverse individuals who are not being represented and can’t see themselves in books.
    Also I wonder if specifically for historical, people might be afraid to write it because it would be dark, due to the negative treatment towards diverse individuals. Also there is probably less information about diverse individuals’ lives in historical periods because historians wouldn’t have cared enough to write down information about commoners and servant staff. But, I think even without a lot of background information, it would be possible to use one’s imagination and create books for diverse characters, but, like I said, it might be a dark book. And for a lot of “white America,” they don’t like to reminded of their former cruelties. But, personally, I do, because I think it makes me a more compassionate and loving human being. So, bring on the dark, diverse, historical novels. It actually might be the only type of historical novels I might like!


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