I have a mild obsession with Shifter Romances. I can’t say that enough in part because it still surprises me. My love with Romance writings were largely limited to African-American Romance for most of my life. It wasn’t that I hadn’t read other authors. I am surrounded by romance readers, or really readers period with favorite authors of all persuasions. African-American Romance appealed to me, because I could always find characters who mirrored the people in my life.
There is a beauty in representation. I enjoyed seeing women who looked, moved, and walked through their lives like the women I knew. I felt indulge when a great romantic writer would invite me in to watch these women wrestling with sometimes complex and other times sweet relationships. I was content to have a life long love affair with African-American Romance and go on with my Happily Ever After. It was perfect.
It would have stayed that way had I never began freelancing. The thing about being a ghostwriter in a fiction romance capacity is that it opens up various subgenres. At this point in my career, I have read and written everything from Historical Romances to Contemporary Romances. Clean Romances with sweet stories and dirty Erotica’s with steamy finishes. I’ve had and enjoyed them all, but not like this.
What began for research purposes so that I could learn the nuance and special details of Shifter Romances soon became something bigger. I found myself scouring the top 100 on Amazon for names I recognized and titles that jumped out to me.
I loved it. From the cheesy and utterly impossible romances to the smooth, and complexly written layered romances. Everything I loved about Happily Ever After’s was there. Almost everything I loved was there.
I was missing some representation. Surely, I wasn’t the only woman of color who would swoon over the hero’s and root for the heroines as they navigated their love stories. I was convinced there were authors out there writing Shifter Romances with people of color heroes and heroines, but after countless hours of digging I came up short. There are quite a few authors who write Black Women White Men (BWWM) Shifter Romances, and most couplings followed the trend of a women of color lead and white shifter. Beautiful stories, but not what I was looking to find.
I was falling deeper and deeper in love with Shifter Romances and all I wanted was one couple who looked like my husband and I. I wanted our stories between those pages too. I knew I couldn’t be alone. So, when it came time for me to decide what my focus would be it seemed natural to combine my two greatest romance loves.
Currently, I have several plots that aren’t just A. A. characters. There is a blend of multi-cultural characters in there with a few combinations. What remains the same is that at least one primary character is A.A. at all times. It’s important to me. I’ve been questioned about whether or not it is a smart idea to focus on minority characters in my writing. Statistically, books with people of color as their primary leads struggle to reach the heights of their Caucasian counterparts. I’ve written with primary characters in just about every race, and I’ve seen the difference first hand.
However, that little piece of information has done nothing to dampen my mood. I love stories of love triumphing. I love stories of werewolves and were-bears and dragons fighting the same human battles of love and lust with the added detail of their mixed heritage. I love what it feels like when their wolves surface and it is clear they have chosen a mate. I love writing these stories with people of color as the driving characters.
I am not afraid to thrive in a “niche” market. I’ll be writing what I love and offering up something special from me to people who love it too. My aim is just to do it justice. Romance is for everyone – even those genres built around “imaginary people.” After all, the Romance genre in all of its glory is about the perfect blend of fantasy and reality. We could all use more of that.