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

DBTP - letstalk

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!

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Author Interview: Sarah Monzon

Happy Monday, Diverse Reader Friends!

I hope you had an awesome weekend and got some reading in. I’m kicking off this week with an interview with the lovely Sarah Monzon. Her latest novel, The Esther Paradigm, is a must read and a great fit for our blog.

Let’s get started!


About the Book:

The Blurb: “Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she’ll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?”

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining me at Diversity Between the pages to talk about your latest novel, The Esther Paradigm. This novel is fantastic! What made you pair an unlikely couple together?

Sarah: Well, since the book is inspired by the Biblical story of Esther, I had that foundation to go by. King Ahasuerus of Persia has a different experience in life than Esther had. Their differences included social economics, culture, ethnicity, religion, background, etc. I wanted to give my characters similar differences.

Toni: You did a fantastic job! I loved it. How were you able to write from Karim’s point of view so authentically considering the difference in gender, ethnicity, and religion?

Sarah: Haha. Prayer and a lot of research.

Toni: We don’t often get to look at the Muslim culture in Christian books. How did you research and prepare for this?

Sarah: I watched a documentary series on Netflix about the region and the people there. I read books and online articles about the religion—beliefs and practices—as well as missionary experiences and conversion testimonies.

Toni: That’s awesome! Would you ever write a sequel to this novel? Why or why not?

Sarah: I don’t have any plans to at this time, though my plans have changed before in the past. I’ll probably do another Biblical “inspired by” story, though.

Toni: Hooray! What is the overall theme in The Esther Paradigm?

Sarah: 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”

Toni: A great charge! If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Sarah: Is a trip around the world cheating? There are so many places I’d like to go!

Toni: It might be, but I agree so I’ll let it slide. 😉 Have you ever ridden a camel?

Sarah: I vaguely remember riding one when I was little. I wanted to get to the zoo and refresh my memory for this book, but it never happened.

Toni: Too bad! Then you could have had a pic of you on a camel all over social media. 🙂 Have you any missionary experience? And if so, can you tell us a little about it?

Sarah: I went on a two-week, short-term mission trip when I was about 15 to Fiji. We did a building project and helped in a school. Between my Sophomore and Junior year in College I went as a student missionary to China for 10 months and taught English.

Toni: That’s so neat! I’ve never been on a missionary trip so I love picking people’s brain. If you could say anything to the readers, what would you tell them?

Sarah: God made us all, died for us all, and loves us all. Let’s show love to one another, too.

Toni: Amen! Readers, do you have any questions for Sarah? (P.S. Look for Beth Erin’s review this Friday!)


About the Author

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.

Follow: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Book Spotlight: Hope for the Holidays

Happy November, my friends!

Can you believe the year is almost over? I’m shocked but also looking forward to 2018. I hope you’re having a great week and getting in some reading. If you’re into holiday reading, then you’ll love today’s book spotlight, Hope for the Holidays, by Cathe Swanson.


About the Book

The Blurb: “Newly arrived from her home in the Congo and armed with a brand-new degree in nonprofit management, Carrie Strough is eager to organize and improve the Unity Plenkiss Community Center. Unfortunately, no one wants to be organized, and only Micah Neresen, the charming and handsome pastor of the local church, is interested in her plans. Or is he just interested in her?

With a cast of lively and eccentric characters including a homeless vet with PTSD, a con man, an elderly couple with an over-the-top Christmas display, a feisty committeewoman with a past of her own, and a police investigation, Micah and Carrie wonder if there is any hope for the holidays this year!”

Links: Amazon, Christmas Lights, Goodreads


About the Author

Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching and fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.

Her family is growing steadily; she and her husband had three sons, and those boys all grew up and married delightful women and started producing grandchildren: four boys and three girls so far!

The long Wisconsin winters are perfect for writing and reading books! Cathe enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub, Amazon, Newsletter


Post prepared by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion: What Diverse Books Have You Read Lately?

DBTP - letstalk

Hello, fellow diverse book readers! Happy Saturday! Summer is officially over and fall has begun. The perfect time to curl up with a diverse read and drink a mug of hot chocolate or spiced cider or pumpkin spice coffee. 🙂

The question of the day is: what have you read lately in diverse fiction? And/or what’s on your reading list? We want to grow our list of diverse fiction and the only way that works is hearing from others about what they have read or have heard is awesome!

Comment below with your recent diverse reads.

Open Discussion – Historical Authors

Hey Diverse Reader Friends!

Hope you’re having an awesome weekend! I thought it would be fun to share our favorite historical authors (or two) who write ethnically diverse characters.

If you’re an author yourself, feel free to leave a link to one of your books. If you’d like us to feature it on our diverse book recommendation page, please contact us.

Me first: Piper Huguley


Post by Toni Shiloh

Book Spotlight: The Bride’s Broken Bond by Lee Tobin McClain

Hello, reader friends! Today’s featured books is from one of my favorite series! I adore this diverse group of men and their unique stories. Plus y’all can pick up a Kindle edition of Sacred Bond book 1 for free and book 2 below is currently on sale for just $0.99!

About the Book

The Bride's Broken Bond by Lee Tobin McClainAs the wedding music starts playing, poor little rich girl Hope DeMille learns that her husband-to-be loves someone else, but her domineering, high-society father won’t let her back out of the expensive wedding he’s funded.

Enter Rock Anderson, a former inner-city kid mentored by Hope’s parents, who’s always wanted Hope. After helping Hope escape, Rock gets her a job at his urban mission and helps her find meaning in her life.

But when Hope’s powerful father seeks revenge and one of the inner-city kids goes missing, it’ll take the best efforts of the Sacred Bond brotherhood to help this opposite-sides-of-the-tracks couple overcome their differences and commit to love.

goodreads | amazon

 

About the Author

Lee Tobin McClainLee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of fifteen contemporary Christian romances, she enjoys crafting emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings.

When she’s not writing, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

website | facebook | twitter

 

I have a huge soft spot for stories and series centered around a dedicated group of male friends. Are YOU a fan of these “band of brothers” or “brotherhood” type storylines?

Review by Beth Erin

Book Spotlight: Color Blind

Happy Wednesday, Diverse Reader Friends!

Hope you’re having a good week! In case you need a book to help you through, I’ve got a suggestion. 😉 Today, we featuring Michelle Lindo-Rice’s Color Blind. Check it out!


About the Book

The Blurb: “God had to blind him for him to truly see.

An accident has robbed Saul Sweeterman of his sight. Angry at the world, Aniyah ‘Annie’ Hays is the only person who can reach him. Her voice draws him like a siren. Saul falls for Annie hard and fast, not knowing that she’s of a different race.

As a physical therapist, Annie prides herself on her professionalism. But one glance into Saul’s deep blue eyes and she’s a goner. She’s falling in love and loving it, until she learns Saul opposes interracial relationships.

Since her heart refuses to cooperate, Annie wonders, Will Saul reject her because of the color of her skin? Loosely based on the story of Saul and the prophet Ananias, Color Blind promises to answer the question, Can you tell your heart who to love?”

Links: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads


About the Author

Michelle Lindo-Rice is the bestselling author of the “Able to Love” and the “On the Right Path” series. She enjoys crafting women’s fiction with themes centered around the four “F” words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness.

Michelle was nominated for Author of the Year 2014 in Building Relationships Around Books book club. Her first published work, Sing A New Song, was a Black Expressions Editor’s Choice featured selection. My Steps Are Ordered, the second book in the “On the Right Path” series made the AALBC bestseller lists on May/June 2014 and August/September 2014. My Steps Are Ordered was also #1 in UBAWA’s 2014 Top 100 list.

The Fall of the Prodigal made Black Christian Reads Fiction Top Ten List several times in 2015. Michelle was honored to a nominee for Christian Fiction Author of the Year with AAMBC Book Club. However, her proudest accomplishment to date is that of Black Writers and Book Clubs Literacy Rocks! 2015 Female Author of the Year. Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Lindo-Rice calls herself a lifelong learner. She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University, A pastor’s kid, Michelle upholds the faith, preaching, teaching and ministering through praise and worship.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Spotlight posted by Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Door to Freedom by Jana Kelley

About the Book

door to freedom“It’s rough and it’s smooth. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s a masterpiece. It’s us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.”

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister’s sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom—the freedom that only comes when you trust God’s sovereignty more than man-made security.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

goodreads | amazon

My Thoughts

Door to Freedom is a compelling story about two women and their experiences with Jesus in a country opposed to him.

Rania is a Muslim girl who wants to be an artist. She has access to the book of John (though secretively) and finds it captivating, the almost poetic words filling gaps in her heart. Mia is an American woman living in Sudan with her young family, Christians who work with a refugee aid organization.

Given my friendships with several Muslim women, I smiled at many scenes in this story and wept at others (the baptism!).  It reads almost like a memoir in many ways and is inspired by the author’s own experiences, which makes it all the more poignant in my opinion. Readers will get an inside look at Sudanese and Muslim culture as well as a more personal perspective into Muslims as people, not just news reports.  We also see what it’s like to be a Christian in a hostile country – and two opinions on how to approach it. (Side note: Several years ago, before I started working with Muslims, I would have totally been Beth.)

This is a quick read but a powerful one. Hopefully readers will finish the story with a softer heart toward Muslims, a greater understanding of the importance of relationship in introducing them to Jesus, and more appreciations for the freedoms and conveniences we so often take for granted. I was inspired by Michael and Mia and their courage as well as their honesty. I’m looking forward to book 3 (which comes out in September)!

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed are my own.
THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED ON READINGISMYSUPERPOWER.

About the Author

jana kelleyJana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After thirteen years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys, moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live. Jana has authored two novels (soon-to-be three) and two devotional books.

Learn more in Jana Kelley’s Author Interview.

website | facebook | twitter

 

Review by Carrie

Book Spotlight – Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett

Happy Wednesday, Diverse Reader Friends!

We’re featuring a new book today. Have you read Hollywood Homicide? It released August 8th and looks like it’ll be a great read! I seriously love this cover!

Let’s get started!


About the Book

The Blurb: “The Surprise Hit of the Season!

Actress Dayna Anderson’s Deadly New Role: Homicide Detective

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money—she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it—until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.”

Links: Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, Goodreads


About the Author

Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, will be released by Midnight Ink in August 2017. It was a Library Journal Debut of the Month and described as a “winning first novel and series launch” in a starred review by Publishers Weekly.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest


Spotlight posted by Toni Shiloh

Interview with Terri J. Haynes

Happy Monday, Diverse Reader Friends!

Today I’m interviewing one of our co-contributors, Terri J. Haynes. We’re talking about her novel, Love Simplified. Let’s get started!


About the Book

The Blurb: Tempest Day is an expert on helping others find love through her Connection Parties matchmaking service and the methods outlined in her bestselling book, Love Simplified. She’s one step away from becoming a celebrity matchmaker, the pinnacle of her career dreams.

But when a seemingly simple interview on the nation’s most popular daytime television show takes an ugly turn, Tempest is forced to admit a secret she’s carried for years: She’s never been in love. The fallout is immediate and severe. So severe that the only way to fix the damage is to use her own methods on a reality TV show.

Tempest soon discovers that love is anything but simple. The show and its cranky but handsome associate producer, Lance Moretti, challenges all that Tempest thought she knew about relationships, even her relationship with God. What starts as a desperate attempt to repair her reputation turns into Tempest’s biggest love connection ever.

Links: Amazon, Goodreads


Interview

Toni: Thank you so much for joining me today. I absolutely adore the blurb for Love Simplified. Where did the idea come from?

Terri: Watching late night TV, something I rarely do. I was watching a reality TV show about a self-help guru helping others with their relationships. As I watched, I started to wonder what would happen if the guru had the same problem as the people she’s supposed to help. I imagined someone who could say all the right things but didn’t actually do them. I was fascinated by that irony.

Toni: That’s what interested me in the blurb! Tempest is African American but Lance is Italian. Was it hard to write a story with an interracial relationship?

Terri: Not really because my marriage is cross-cultural. My husband is originally from Barbados. I know what it’s like to fall for someone who was raised in a different culture. Even more than that, I know what it’s like to bridge the gap between cultures. Interracial relationship was a small jump in my imagination.

Toni: Love it when life’s experiences help us in our writing. Here at Diversity, we hope to bring more diverse Christian fiction to the readers. Our world is diverse, so are books should be as well. But I wonder, do you think too much emphasis is placed on ethnic backgrounds?

Terri: Actually, I don’t think there is enough emphasis on ethic backgrounds. One of the key pieces of good fiction is characters, their background, how they were shaped and their fears. A truly moving story can’t be told without considering someone’s ethnic background. If we take away the emphasis on ethnic backgrounds, we will have the same stories told by the same characters.

Toni: Yes! I completely agree. How about some easy questions? What are you currently reading?

Terri: Yeah…I read 3-5 books at a time! I’m reading a book to write a review and I’m a sensitivity reader for another. I’m really excited about that one. In my devotional time, I’m reading Unlimiting God by Richard Blackaby. I’m also reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I just finished Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and A Shattered Tree by Charles Todd. I’m about to start In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear.

Toni: Wow! That’s a lot of reading! Skittles or M&Ms?

Terri: Both depending on my mood.

Toni: I hear ya! Rain or sunshine?

Terri: Sunshine. Rain and bad weather often triggers migraines so I sometimes dread rain.

Toni: Boo. I love a great rainstorm, but having your health react is no fun. Flip flops or sandals?

Terri: Either. I love shoes so I’m take pumps, boots and espadrilles, too.

Toni: Lol. Summer or Winter?

Terri: Winter! I love blizzards and have been known to swoon when the forecasters call for thundersnow. Every time there is a heavy snow that shuts the DC metro down for a few days, I watch the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Toni: Blech! You lost me with that one. I lost my mind during the last blizzard in DC metro area. No more! Last but not least, how can readers help support you in your writing journey?

Terri: Pray. Pray and pray hard. I am facing some hard circumstances with it comes to my writing. First, I have many manuscripts in many differ genres. I read broadly so my ideas are all over the place. I don’t quite know if I want to brand myself or write whatever I want. Second, traditionally published diverse Christian fiction has been slow to materialize. Although there is a lot of talk about diversity, I’m not sure I see in fruit of that yet (but I do have hope). Third, Love Simplified is self-published, so I have that option and do plan to self-publish more. It is hard to decide what direction to take, but God knows where I need to go next. He’ll open the door and I trust Him to do just that.

Toni: You have our prayers! Blessings to you! Readers, do you have any questions for Terri?


Interview conducted by Toni Shiloh


About the Author

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband). She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As she grew, her love for writing grew as she tried her hand at poetry, articles, speeches and fiction. She is storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers in the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and a certificate in creative writing and graphic design, meeting the minimal requirements of being a geek. She and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader.

Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill of their favorite characters.

Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter