Open Discussion – Stereotypes

Happy Saturday, Diverse Readers!

I hope you’re having a good week. I’m happy to quick off the weekend with a new open discussion topic. Let’s talk stereotypes.

Every ethnic group has them. Some were created based off the majority and some are perpetuated by the media.

So what’s a writer to do when writing ethnic characters? Do we use stereotypes when writing a character? And if we do, does it help or hurt our stories?

I’m personally found of seeing authors write stereotypes in order to dispel them and open the readers eyes. Unfortunately, not every writer uses them this way. So please, chime in! What stereotypes are you tired of seeing in writing? And please share any tips for authors, so that they can avoid using them.

Book Review: Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia

Happy Friday, diverse reader friends!

I’m excited to share my review of Vivir el Dream by Allison K. Garcia. You may have remembered I interviewed her Monday as we discussed her debut novel. Before I share my review, let’s check out the book.


About the Book

“Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.

Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.

After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.

Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Review

Vivir el Dream gives us a realistic glimpse into the immigration struggle in the Hispanic community. Ms. Garcia weaves a tale giving the reader three view points.

Linda Palacios is an undocumented college student. Brought to the United States at the age of three, Virginia is all she knows. It’s her home and the community she lives in helps define her identity.

I loved how Ms. Garcia explored the prejudice and ignorance the outside world has regarding immigration. I loved getting to know Linda and see her strengths. She taught me so much.

Ms. Garcia also gives us the view point of Juanita, Linda’s mother. You get to see the reasons behind her decision to immigrate across the Mexican border into the U.S. My heat ached for her as bits and pieces of her story were slowly shared.

And Tim. I struggled between empathizing with his plight and being extremely annoyed (that’s the nicest thing I can say) about his prejudice and ignorance of the Latino community. As a fellow writer, I admire the depth Ms. Garcia went through creating his character. You can see the stereotypes that others believe through his eyes. I think he’ll be the eye opener for readers. Will they see similar prejudices and ignorance?

Vivir el Dream really made me think about the truth of “walking a mile in someone’s shoes.” This is a must read for all who want to understand another culture and widen their views.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review is my own, honest opinion.


Review by Toni Shiloh

Author Interview: Allison K. Garcia

Happy Monday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. I’ve got the lovely Allison K. García here to talk about her debut novel, Vivir el Dream. Let’s get started!


About the Book

The Blurb: “Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.

Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.

After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.

Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


About the Author

Allison K. García is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a passion for writing. Latina at heart, Allison has absorbed the love and culture of her friends, family, and hermanos en Cristo and has used her experiences to cast a glimpse into the journey of undocumented Christians.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited to talk about your debut novel, Vivir el Dream. I get positively giddy when I talk about diverse Christian fiction, so I love that the majority of your characters are Hispanic. What made you decide to write about immigration in the Latino culture?

Allison: Thanks, Toni! I’m pretty giddy myself! I can’t remember exactly when I came up with the idea for the book. I just know that God placed it on my heart to write it after I had seen a lot of injustice with my hermanos at the church and with therapy clients and with my friends and family. I feel it is a topic that everyone has an opinion on but few know much about. I hoped to shed some light on why people come, what kinds of things they have to go through to get here, and what can happen once you’ve crossed the border. As I think back, I believe I was inspired in part by the deportation of a close friend from church.

Toni: I can only imagine how that would effect a person. I’m glad you used it to shed light on the subject. Vivir el Dream focuses on Linda, an undocumented college student; Juanita, her mother; and Tim, a Caucasian who has some prejudice towards the Latino race. How did you decide to focus on these three and provide them their own povs (point-of-view)?

Allison: I think I came back fresh from a conference where they told us that one POV wasn’t cool anymore, so it probably stemmed from that. I think this was the first story I wrote from more than one POV, but now I love it! I like the idea of it being like a movie with different camera angles, so you can see things from different people’s points of view. For me Linda is the central character so choosing her was a no-brainer. And I felt Juanita had important history that needed to be heard, and I wanted people to understand why she came and all they had to go through and how she carries the traumas with her. With Tim, I placed a lot of the covert racism that isn’t shown but is hidden under the surface for a lot of folks. Also when I started the book in 2012, it was in the midst of a lot of financial turmoil in the country, so I think some of that seeped in as well.

Toni: Camera angles, yes! That’s a perfect way to describe it. I loved how you did that. Did you fear that you would paint the Latino culture with stereotypes considering your own ethnic background?

Allison: I both love and hate this question. I love it because it is an important and hard question to ask. There are so many stereotypes out there for different people of color, I don’t want to add any more to the mix and it is something very much to be aware of. I also hate this question because as a white person in the majority, I know I need to tread carefully in this realm. Really, what I did was write with my heart. I just hope that I am enough enmeshed in the Latino culture with my husband and his family, with my church family, and with my friends, that I have accurately portrayed the beauty of Latino culture and the struggles that Latino people experience. It’s so hard because my heart wants me to be Latino, but deep down I know I’m only a white person with European roots and I can’t. I’m only on the outside looking in. So that’s a hard question for me.

Toni: But you answered it so eloquently. 🙂 What made you choose a Spanish title?

Allison: I went through a thorough choosing process. I wanted Dream in the title because of both The Dream Act and “the American dream.” I felt Vivir gave it a cool vibe and helped showcase the authenticity of Spanish language used within the book.

Toni: I love the title! What is the message you hope readers will leave with after reading Vivir el Dream?

Allison: That despite all the things going on in your life, God is there. He has a plan, and your faith in Him can carry you through.

Toni: Amen! How about some easier questions?

Allison: Yes, please! You put me on the spot before! Haha! But in a good way! It is good to have the experience of feeling singled out and put on the spot. Helps you understand others who experience it every day.

Toni: I like to just dive right into the diversity topic. 😉 Maybe I’ll use more finesse in the future, lol. Beaches or mountains?

Allison: I like beaches and mountains! I live in the Shenandoah Valley so the mountains are right there, but I still think I might choose beach!

Toni: They are both beautiful in their own ways. Coffee or Tea?

Allison: Normally I might say tea but I’ve gotten into coffee lately. So…both!

Toni: I recently started drinking ice coffee, so I hear you. TV or Movies?

Allison: Also both! I love bingewatching TV shows but I also love a good movie!

Toni: Netflix is my friend for both of those options. Last but not least, what’s next for you on your writing journey?

Allison: I plan to translate Vivir el Dream into Spanish (with the help of several native speakers)! I also have another completed Latino fiction book, Finding Amor, that’s ready for editing, plus I’ve written 6 out of 8 books of Prince Miguel and His Journey Home, a children’s fantasy series.

Toni: Wow! That’s awesome. Praying you success in your writing endeavors. Readers, do you have any questions for Allison?


Interview conducted by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion – Internal Racism

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

Hopefully, today’s title drew you in, but you’ll have to wait a moment before we jump into the discussion. First, let’s take a moment to recap this past week’s blog posts. Monday, Terri interviewed Vanessa Riley as she talked about her book, Unveiling Love. Wednesday, I (Toni) shared a book spotlight on Paulette Harper’s Secret Places Revealed. Friday, Beth Erin shared her review of Lee Tobin McClain’s Secrets of the Heart. It was a great week for diverse Christian fiction, so be sure to check those posts out if you haven’t already.


Today, I want to discuss internal racism. Of course, some people argue if that is a real thing, while others may have no clue what it is. The idea behind internal racism is a minority group is racist (or prejudice) against that same minority group. For example, African Americans being racist against other African Americans. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up. How in the world does this relate to diversity in Christian fiction?

I’m glad you asked. You see as a Black author, it is assumed by people in my community that my characters will be Black as well. It would not cross most people’s mind that I would venture out of that. So what happens if I decide to write Caucasian characters, or any other characters that fall into a majority ethnic group? If I chance it, Black readers will either 1) applaud my writing (if they like it) or 2) complain that I’m not giving them Black characters. After all, diverse characters are lacking in the majority of fiction genres. So does that mean an ethnic author HAS to write ethnic characters?

Time to join in! Please answer the below questions and/or share your thoughts.

  1. Does a minority author owe it to their community to add diversity?
  2. If they don’t, would you be surprised or assume they couldn’t accurately portray that culture?

*This blog was initially titled “Reverse Racism.” I used the incorrect term and have since updated it.

Discussion started by Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: Secret Places Revealed by Paulette Harper

Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. Today, I’m bringing you a book spotlight of Paulette Harper’s Secret Places Revealed. Let’s get started!


About the Book

He wasn’t looking for love.

She was running from the pain.

One encounter changed everything.

Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken.

After losing her fiancé in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She’s built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Author

In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine and The Sacramento Observer. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows. Paulette resides in Northern California.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram


Post created by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion – First Diverse CF Read

Happy Saturday, y’all! I pray you had an awesome week of reading and relaxing. If not, that’s what the weekend’s for. 😉

Before I move on to the discussion topic, I just want to recap our blog post from this week. Monday, Terri interviewed Leslie Sherrod. Wednesday, Jamie shared a book spotlight for Sushi for One. Friday, I shared a review for Signs of Life. Now on to today’s topic!

Today, I thought I’d be real informal. I want to hear from you! Share when you first realized that Christian fiction was lacking in diversity AND share the first diverse book you read.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I really “noticed” because I’m used to not seeing diverse characters. It’s one reason I’m so passionate about writing them. I do remember my first diverse read. It was Ronie Kendig’s Firethorn. (Author Interview here.) Never have I been so happy to see a book cover with a Black man on it.

Your turn!


Post by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Signs of Life by Valerie Banfield

Happy Friday, Reader Friends!

I hope you’re having a great week. Today, I’m sharing a review of Valerie Banield’s Signs of Life. But first, let’s share a little info about the book.


About the Book

Maybe Zach Hoyt’s expectations were overly optimistic; the business he inherited from his father wasn’t exactly booming. He might also concede that he was a tad naïve to imagine that his past would remain buried, along with his sullied reputation. Now what?

Juanita Hoyt wants a do-over. She shouldn’t have yielded to her husband’s unrelenting pleas to move to this ghastly community. Now Zach has hatched a harebrained scheme to save the business and, once again, he hasn’t heeded her objections.

Stan Benton collects trouble like a magnet picks up stray nails, and he reaps disorder as often as he dispenses justice. Every little thing fuels his bitterness and his anger—dangerous traits for an officer of the law.

When hoodlums set out to overturn the good intentions of the neighborhood watch, why do they heap their efforts at Zach’s feet? Why him? And why does Stan get stuck babysitting the community where his notoriety makes him about as welcome as the hooligans he’s charged to deter? Is anyone in control here?

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Review

This was my first read by Ms. Banfield and I enjoyed it. First, let’s talk diversity. The book takes us on the journey of Zach Hoyt who is Caucasian; his wife, Juanita, who is American Indian; and Stan Benton, who is African American. There are also a diverse cast of secondary characters. I would have loved this book alone for that reason, but Ms. Banfield added another element: Juanita is deaf.

I adore that Ms. Banfield tackled this subject. Her deafness is what ties all the stories in together. I would categorize this book as general fiction, because it’s not just one person’s story. It kind of reminded me of a TV show and then you find out how it all intersects together.

I also loved the faith element. To see where another struggles in their faith helps you realize you’re not alone. It also shows you where your lacking in trust. This book is realistic, captivating, and full of diversity.

*I received a free copy of this book. This review is my own, honest opinion.


About the author

Valerie Banfield is a talespinner to the lost, the loved, and the found. When she isn’t making up stories, she tangles with basket weaving projects, defies thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles, immerses herself in good books, and enjoys early morning walks with her dogs. She counts her participation in international short-term missionary campaigns among her life’s most blessed and humbling journeys, and firmly believes that when we give God control, He rocks our world. These days the Central Ohio transplant enjoys the warmth and sunshine of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Some day she might adjust to the humidity.

Links: Website, Facebook


Review by Toni Shiloh