ionR: Diversity in Romance

Posted January 9th, 2015 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 7 comments

ionR: Diversity in romance



A couple of authors writing an article for RWA’s Romance Writer Report (RWR) on Diversity in romance, asked me a couple of really thought provoking Questions about Diversity in romance, I thought I would extend their reach and get your feedback on this topic.

Here’s the Q&A

Q: We’ve heard that readers in our ever-changing country want to read stories with characters who look like them (more people of color), are you hearing this?
Sara: Not at all. As a “Romance” reader I’m more interested in the romance than the race/color of my characters.

Q: What’s the best way to bring attention to books with diverse characters?
Sara: Treat it like any other book. The more you segregate, the more you stand to loose. IMHO


I love traveling the world and learning about new cultures through my books. Thanks to Harlequin Presents, I am now Multilingual….well I have all the endearments covered in Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.

When I think of diversity in books, I relate that to reading about a different culture and learning about their customs not so much about wanting to read about a character that “Looks like Me”

Now I’m intrigued, Are readers looking for more diversity in romance? Characters who look like them (more people of color)?

I’m really interested in your feedback and hearing what you have to say, So Please hit the comments with answers to the questions below.

  • We’ve heard that readers in our ever-changing country want to read stories with characters who look like them (more people of color), are you hearing this? What are your thoughts.
  • What’s the best way to bring attention to books with diverse characters?




7 Responses to “ionR: Diversity in Romance”

  1. Joan V.

    Being active on social media and book reviewing for some authors, I can’t say that I have heard from any book buddies that they are disappointed in the heroines because they aren’t “more like them”. The concensus of complaints are usually about the heroine or heroes character and morals not their color or nationality. I love traveling the world through reading and learning about cultures and foods. I don’t think I understand the second question because many of the books that I read, romantic suspense, mysteries, paranormal romance and contemporary romance, are filled with diverse characters now and marketed within their own genres.

  2. Timitra

    Yes, I’ve heard this and I’d love to see more books with people of color. To me the best way to do that is by shelving with other books in their genre, if they’re contemporary shelf them with other contemporaries, if they’re paranormal shelf them with paranormals, if they’re post-apocalyptic do the same that way people who like these genres will be able to find them.

  3. marcyshuler

    I read romance for the story. If it’s good I’m all in whether the character ‘looks like me’ or not. I enjoy learning about different cultures through characters in books. I do agree with Timitra’s suggestion above: to shelve all comtemporary books together no matter the imprint.

  4. Tammy Y

    I read for the story and plot. The humor and emotion. The characters can be any race. I want romance or mystery

  5. belindaegreen

    Denial is still alive and well! If you look at all the thousands of romance books that are published, the percentage of IR, AA books is out of proportion. Also quite a few are solely available in certain imprints or indie published. Authors who write IR are not the prevalent. AAs do want to see themselves depicted in the same situations as all other cultures are in romance stories. Why is that so difficult to do? I’m not talking about Urban stories, just typical romance stories. Multicultural characters, not IR, do seem to be more readily seen in storylines. These seems to be more acceptable.

    If what most are saying, the plot is the key and race has no baring on the story, why aren’t more authors, who are white, not writing IR stories? We know why…their readers can’t identify with a character that they feel they don’t know.

    Don’t get me wrong, I read whatever strikes my fancy but I also give my support to those authors who do write IR/MC as should the industry. More time and effort in marketing the books that are “diverse’ as you said, to a wider audience. Raising the awareness that these books are out and are just as good as any other romance.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    Belinda G

  6. Leanna

    I would love to see more books with characters that are African American. We may see Europeans, but they are still usually white. I would like to see more black characters. There are some African American writers that I enjoy, but they are still writing white characters.