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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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

Open Discussion: Vanilla Confessions

Hi, y’all! I am an avid reader and actively seek out diverse fiction yet I am seriously lacking in the life experience department. Growing up in our small rural farming community has a lot of benefits but exposure to cultural diversity is not one of them.

HandsI was taught that we are all the same, regardless of skin color, which is true at the very core of who we are, members of the human race, children of God, residents of the third rock from the sun, yet we are also shaped by our experiences. Although I am still not completely sure why… colorblind doesn’t make it all better.

Fellow Christian fiction enthusiasts, share your thoughts and help a vanilla sister out!

What do you as members of a multicultural community want us backcountry white folks (with little to no exposure to diversity apart from the media) to know?

Open Discussion – NaNoWriMo

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, folks! We’ve had several discussions about our favorite diverse Christian reads and why it is so important to have more diverse Christian fiction out there. So, today’s blog is both a discussion and a call-to-action!

Are you tired of people writing characters from your culture the wrong way? Or not seeing anyone from your culture represented in Christian fiction? Well, there’s a sure-fire way to fix it. Write a book yourself!

November is National Novel Writing Month! It is where all over the world thousands (maybe millions) of people have taken up the torch to write a book in a month (50,000 words in 30 days). There are tons of supportive people out there to help you both online and in person. Find where your home region is on the NaNoWriMo website.

Personally, I have fallen in love with NaNo. Prior to NaNo, it took me 3+ years to write a book. Since starting NaNo 5 years ago, I have written 10 books. And my first published book, Vivir el Dream, was actually written during NaNo.

NaNo is just a big ball of awesomeness. There are so many people that have said, “Wow, you write books? I always wanted to do that.” If you’re one of those people, that could be the Holy Spirit nudging you. Does God want you to write a book? If so, don’t be like Jonah and go the other direction. Let NaNo swallow you up and bring you to authorship! (Okay, I had a bit of fun with that analogy).

Here’s the discussion part…Do you write books? Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Have you ever considered writing a book? Are you interested in trying out NaNo this year and want more info?

Remember: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. 🙂 Have a blessed Saturday!

Open Discussion – Christian Diverse Fiction Touching on Contemporary Issues

DBTP - letstalk

Happy Saturday, everyone! Lately with all the chatter about race and diversity in the news, it reminds me of the continued importance of not only having diverse characters in Christian fiction but also in responding to racism and other contemporary issues through a Christian lens.

Our question for today is: What are the pros and cons of touching on contemporary issues through diverse Christian fiction? Where have you seen it done well (please name books/authors)? What contemporary issues would you like to see covered in Christian fiction?

We very much appreciate hearing from you! Please comment below!

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. 😉 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!

 

Open Discussion – Is Change Coming?

Happy Saturday, Diverse Reader Friends!

Did you have a blessed week? I hope so! I’m happy because I get to talk diversity. What I want to explore is the question “is change coming?”

As I’ve been interacting around the bookish world in social media, I’ve noticed more and more conversations about diversity. And I promise I’m not always the ones starting these conversations. 😉

So is change coming? Do readers finally want to see diverse characters? Are publishers ready to market diverse Christian fiction?

Share an instant where you’ve noticed change or started change. Together, we can make a global impact!

Open Discussion – Diverse Setting

Happy Saturday, Diverse Reader Friends!

I hope you had an awesome week. I’ve been mulling over potential topics all week and finally, I settled on one.

Y’all, this one is something that falls into stereotypes, yet has truth with it. And isn’t that the problem with stereotypes? Which leads me to the question: what is the appropriate setting for people of color characters?

I think some people believe ethnically diverse characters can only appear in books where the setting itself is diverse. You know places like, Chicago, D.C., New York, etc. But in some genres small-town places are the ticket, and you don’t always imagine people of color in them.

Does that mean you can’t place them there? Let’s face it, there are small towns in the US devoid of diversity. It’s not a stereotype, it’s a fact and if a reader can’t imagine people of color in those locations, it’s not a big surprise.

Still, sometimes the problem is with the reader. My first book, A Life to Live, was set in Nottingham, England. I actually had a person of color complain in their review that Black people weren’t in England.

But isn’t that what diversity is about? Showing the world what’s real? Widening ones’ knowledge of places?

Nevertheless, I questioned my choice, even though I’ve been to England. Met my husband in England and saw other people of color there. After a brief time, I decided to choose more obscure places. Could you imagine a book where people of color were in Montana? Because the assumption is there are no people of color there, right? Well in my novellete in A Spring of Weddings collection, that’s exactly what I did.

The great thing about books is they widen our perspective. Loose the scales over our eyes. Setting is just as important in the diversity discussion as the people we’re portraying.

Let’s open the discussion. Authors: what is the unusual setting you’ve placed people of color in? Did you fear reader backlash?

Readers: What’s the most interesting setting you’ve read that featured people of color? Was it unbelievable or did it give you a deeper perspective?


Discussion written by Toni Shiloh

Open Discussion – Who Writes Diverse Christian fiction?

Happy Saturday, friends!!

Thanks for stopping by Diversity Between the Pages. Today, I wanted to share a list of authors who write ethnically diverse Christian fiction. Some of these authors write other books as well, so if you’re looking for just diverse fiction take note. I’m only including a few authors for brevity’s sake, so please, if you know of an author or two (or more), please add them in the comments.

Also, remember to check out our Diverse Book Recommendations page. You can click on the cover to go to Amazon and learn more.

  • Piper Huguley
  • Connie Almony
  • Alana Terry
  • Stacey Hawkins Adams
  • Allison K. Garcia
  • Ruth Logan Herne
  • Melissa Wardwell
  • Varina Denman
  • Neta Jackson
  • Cynthia Marcarno
  • Nadine Keels
  • Tessa Afshar
  • Kim Cash Tate
  • Michelle Stimpson

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.