Open Discussion: Christian Fiction only or Clean Reads Too?

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

I know it’s been a long time since we’ve had a open discussion. But today’s discussion isn’t so much about diversity, but regarding the future of Diversity Between the Pages. 

It has always been our goal to bring you diverse Christian fiction. There are so many readers who don’t know the books are out there. Our contributors work hard to interview the authors, spotlight the books, and share the thoughts in reviews.

What we are wondering and contemplating is if we should not expand that read to clean reads. So what say you? Should we stick to bringing you diverse Christian fiction only or would you like to read diverse clean fiction as well?

Sound off in the comments! Thank you. 🙂


Posted by Contributor Toni Shiloh

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Fear of Appropriation

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Happy Saturday, folks! Today I’m going to share a little about what I’ve been going through with my writing, and I would love some ideas, support, feedback, etc. Whatever you have, throw it at me. I am happy to learn!

So, here is what has been going on. About a year ago, after I released my first book, I started hearing the word cultural appropriation thrown around in terms of artists, etc. While it wasn’t about me or my work, I began to wonder if publishing my book, Vivir el Dream, was cultural appropriation. For those who aren’t aware of cultural appropriation, here is an interesting Wikipedia page about it. The first sentence of the article gives a pretty good explanation of its meaning: “Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power.”

I am a member of the dominant culture writing about members of a minority culture in a country where there is an imbalance of power between dominant and minority cultures. And though I am married to someone from the culture I am writing about, have many friends and family from that culture, go to church almost exclusively with my brothers and sisters in Christ from that culture, work with people from that culture on a daily basis, am bilingual, and in my heart feel like that culture is part of me, I know that in the end, I am on the outside looking in. There are many things I can miss or won’t ever completely understand because I am not actually from that culture. Not to mention any unconscious bias that might be hiding inside me.

To complicate the matter, I was doing research for my current WIP by asking a friend about some cultural aspects of El Salvador that I was unfamiliar with: language and food questions, etc. During this conversation she wrote something along the lines of “Gringos, always trying to talk about things they don’t understand.” I got angry about it and then got worried about it and spoke with another friend who had been writing a lot about race and bias. Her reply, “Well, she’s not wrong.” This began a complete tailspin and an overwhelming fear of appropriation. I almost trashed my WIP and since have developed a giant case of writer’s block. It has shaken me to my core. Am I writing what God wants me to write? Should I be writing something completely different?

When I prayed about my WIP, God gave me more ideas to turn the book into a series. So I didn’t chuck it. Now even though I feel in my heart that God has led me to where I am with writing and I am writing what God wants me to write, fear is hindering me. I don’t want to appropriate culture. I don’t want to misrepresent. I just want to share God’s love and create understanding within our communities.

So, what’s a girl to do? Please comment below. Thoughts and advice appreciated!

Allison K. García

Open Discussion: Token or Not?

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

I know it’s been awhile since we had an open discussion topic. Today’s topic came to me as I recalled a conversation I had with a writer friend. We were talking of diversity and the need to add more people of color to books, not because it’s a trend, but because we live in a diverse world. My friend added a secondary character that is a poc. Not for the sake of just adding a poc but that’s how the character was in her mind’s eye. So it begs the question, if you have a secondary character who is a poc and the main character is Caucasian, is the secondary character a token or not?

Personal opinions are fine but please explain why you feel this way. What makes a character a token? Is it simply their isolated state of being the only person of color or is there more to it?

Let’s talk!

*Please keep the discussion respectful.

 

Open Discussion – Cover Models

Happy Saturday, Reader Friends!

Today we’re going to be talking about covers and the cover model choices publishing houses make. You may have remembered that we touched on this a little bit last year here, but I feel that it bears repeating. Plus, it makes for an interesting open discussion! So let’s look at some covers and get this discussion started.


By Your Side by Candace Calvert

Macy Wynn is Asian American. Oddly enough, the cover model for Macy WAS Asian American. The publishers redid the Kindle cover and now the model appears to be Caucasian.


Biblical Fiction

I’ve noticed in a lot of Biblical fiction, the cover model automatically takes on a paler hue. Where does the assumption come from that people in that time where pale? Jesus himself was described as having skin the color of bronze.


When They Celebrate Diversity

New Year’s Resolutions!

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Happy Saturday, friends!

It’s 2018 for nearly a week now, so my question to you is…what are your resolutions/goals for this year and how are they going so far? Also, if you have “reading more” as one of your goals for this year, why not consider adding more diverse literature to your palate! 🙂

Comment below!

Open Discussion: Getting More Diverse Books in Your Local Libraries (and other ideas)

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Happy Saturday, folks!

In past posts, we’ve been talking about the importance of introducing more diverse fiction into Christian fiction, why we love reading diverse fiction, why it’s important, what some of the roadblocks have been, and sharing some of our own stories.

Today I’d like to focus on some things we can do to bring more diverse fiction to our own neighborhoods. Because there are many ways to give at Christmas time and sometimes that can be a few extra minutes of our time! So, here are some of the ways I thought of:

  1. Go to your local library once per month and request a new diverse book they don’t have yet.
  2. Go to your local (non-chain) bookstore and request a diverse book that you’ve read and loved but don’t see on their shelves.
  3. Have a church group or a book club? Invite your favorite author of diverse books to speak. You never know, they might say yes! It means more sales for them and more exposure, plus added knowledge for our churches and book clubs!
  4. Have connections at your local schools or universities? See about getting more diverse fiction on their shelves or about inviting your favorite author of diverse fiction for a speaking engagement.
  5. When you read diverse books, make sure to write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. This helps with sales and spreading the love!
  6. Consider writing diverse fiction, if you don’t already. Writing is sometimes as fun as reading (though it’s a bit more work). 🙂

What other ideas do you have about spreading the love of diverse fiction in your neck of the woods?

Comment below!

Open Discussion: Vanilla Questions

Hello, reader friends! It’s me again, timidly edging out of my comfort zone to ask an (innocent and hopefully not offensive) question to spark open and honest discussion.

As mentioned in the previous Vanilla Confessions, my home county is not blessed with diversity (96.6% “White alone, not Hispanic or Latino” according to Census.gov).

The only descriptions needed on a regular basis around these parts, besides hair and eye colors, are various degrees of “white” and “farmer’s tan.”

Share which comparisons or adjectives you find appealing,
which ones make you cringe, and why.

What kinds of descriptors are preferable in diverse fiction?
Is it taboo to use food to describe skin color?
Are there alternative ways to identify ethnicity without physical descriptions?

Post by Beth Erin

Diverse Holiday Books (and Movies!)

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Happy Sunday, folks!

Thanksgiving and Christmas is upon us, and for me, I love, love, love watching holiday movies, whether it’s about Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or a combo of the two. I know we usually focus on books, but movies are like books come to life (if they’re done well!).

As I was planning this blog in my mind, I was trying to think about what my favorite holiday movie and book that features diverse principal characters. And nothing came in my mind, except for the movie, “The Holiday” with Queen Latifah. So either I have a sheltered shelf of books and DVDs, or we need more diverse holiday books and movies out there in the world (or perhaps a bit of both).

My son does have a Spanish language book about too many tamales (¡Qué Montón de Tamales!), which talks about Christmas with a Mexican family and working together to make tamales. The premise is that a little girl helps her aunt make tamales but later realizes she has lost her mother’s ring inside the giant mountain of tamales, and she and her cousins have to eat them to find the ring. Pretty cute!

But, seriously, as I think about all the holiday books and movies I love: “A Christmas Carol,” “Home Alone,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Elf,” etc. there are almost zero people of color in those movies. I am literally realizing this as I am writing this. Wow, that is sad.

Please tell me good movies and books with diversity so I can expand my horizons and get in the holiday spirit! Thanks!!!

Open Discussion – Tell Us Your Story

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Happy Saturday, everybody!!!

There was such an amazing response to Beth’s post last week. Everyone shared their experiences, and I thought we’d keep that going.

Please share a little about your culture: where you’re from, how were you raised, what special traditions did your family have, what is your heritage? What makes you you?

Thanks for sharing!