The Crossfire series
The Hardwired series
The Submission series
The Seductive Nights series
Ava and Gideon
Erica and Blake
Monica and Jonathan
Michelle and Jack
Complex and intelligent characters written by talented writers, with interesting storylines, compelling back stories, and of course, loads of panty-melting, fabulous, raunchy, dirty sex.
And not a single one of those books contain diverse main characters.
In fact, despite all of the books I mentioned taking place in large cities like New York and Los Angeles, I believe the only diversity in any of those books is found in the secondary characters, the outliers. The characters that add some spice and perhaps a side storyline or two, but nothing too memorable and certainly nothing noteworthy.
No brown girl falling for a white guy. No black guy falling for a Asian girl. No black girl falling for a brown guy. No white girl falling for a black guy.
In cities teeming with all types of people – paraplegic, Indian, Chinese, Muslim, amputee, Sikh, transgender, Japanese, overweight, Spanish, atheist, Black, lesbian, Buddhist – all of the couples and almost all of the secondary characters are white.
Yes, yes, I know, I know. Here and there a gay best friend or an Indian attorney is thrown into the mix, but for the most part, the diversity comes in the form of service positions, such as maids and drivers, instead of CEOs and Editors-In-Chief.
Which, to a brown girl like myself who loves her some gorgeous, diverse people having all kinds of mind-blowing sex, screams so much fuckery on so many levels. Just like Cindy Pon, Ellen Oh and their friends who came together to push for more diversity in young adult books and traditional publishing, creating the badass We Need Diverse Books movement, so, too, does there need to be a push for more diversity in romance.
And girl, please – do not throw Zane at me.
I know Zane – I knew Zane back before she was “Zane” and I was devouring anything she self-published on her AOL account. I love me some Zane.
But that was 1996.
Damn near twenty years ago, folks.
Has there been another Zane-type writer in the romance genre since Zane scored her deal with Simon & Schuster? Based on my research, I really don’t think so, leaving me sitting here, shaking my head at the dearth of diversity in the genre. I figured there had to be someone out there, some badass, raking in the dollars, pumping out the hot stories, contemplating the movie deals, putting some sexy, dirty-talking, spanking, sucking, fucking diverse men and women out there for us to fall in love with, devour, and demand “please, yes, more.”
And no offense, but I’m not talking Indie – I’m talking mainstream, I have a major book deal with a big time publishing house. Just like Zane. But again, not Zane. Give me some new names, and names, not name. Not just one, but plural, a few.
Maybe I looked in the wrong places but I found nothing. So then I hit the romance and erotica blogs, not looking for many or much, because my expectations were already diminished, but just one. One man of color. One woman of color. One diverse couple. Anywhere.
And guess what?
Admittedly, my search was not exhaustive – I scanned about fifteen blogs and I know there are hundreds if not thousands out there. But shit – for real? Come on. Please. Not one Black or Spanish or Indian or Asian man or woman?
Sylvia Day, Meredith Wild, CD Reiss, Lauren Blakely, Laurelin Paige, JS Scott, JC Reid, Maya Banks, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Gail McHugh, Tara Sue Me, Katy Evans, K Bromberg, Lorelei James.
Some of the women steaming up the charts, selling millions, and not a single one of them a woman of color. And when the writers themselves aren’t diverse, you know the likelihood of the characters being diverse is slim to none. As if women of color don’t want to read about a beautiful Black woman walking into a bar, ordering a scotch, striking up a conversation with a sexy, Asian man, and winding up pinned against the elevator wall as his lips inch up her thigh. Or a gorgeous Indian man and a Spanish woman hidden in the shadows of a dark alley, pressed against each other, his hand under her skirt, his lips on her breast, her hands tangled in his hair as she arches into his touch.
Trust me, they do.
And you know what? I’m going to lead the charge. I’m already doing it with Wyatt and Dev, Darby and Abha, Ryker and Jools, Sam and Qi – diverse, hot, and so freaking sexy. And I’m going to keep doing it with Dutch and Juma and Dasha and her many lovers because it matters, it’s important, and seriously, it’s reality. The world is diverse and our romance novels, writers, and publishers should make a better effort at reflecting this truth.
Look out world, I am not playing – I’m ready for my close-up.
Madhuri is that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black, or Spanish, or Black and Spanish. She’s from down South, has lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and is proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.
She loves Old Scout bourbon, tattoos, french fries, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her mom’s Indian food, all kinds of naughty, filthy things, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha’s Vineyard. She can wiggle her ears, flare her nostrils, and curl her tongue.
She is an introvert who can fool people into thinking she’s an extrovert, all the while wishing she was home alone, not having to speak to a soul, lost in a fantastical world of her own creation.
As the great Charles Bukowski said, she writes because it comes bursting out of her. She cannot stop it, nor does she want to.
She’s the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and the upcoming urban fantasy romance duology, The Nine Deaths of Dutch Mathew. In a past life, when she was much sweeter and kind of shy, she developed and published the middle reader series, Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files.
She does other things to pay the bills.
You can find her on:
Read on for more about her newest series, including an excerpt from the book!
Arrogant, handsome, and detached, deadly assassin Dutch Mathew has an insatiable appetite for bourbon, cigarettes, and women. A Keeper for The Gate, the shadowy organization designed to control Death and her Poochas, those reclaimers helping the dead cross back to life, he has three simple rules for anyone sharing his bed: no talking, no kissing, no touching.
Juma Landry is all about talking and kissing and touching. The more talking and kissing and touching, the better.
And as one of Death’s Poochas, the best in fact, she is Dutch’s next assignment. He is tasked with ending each and every one of her nine lives but with her sharp banter, beautiful smile, and hips made for all kinds of wickedness, she isn’t going to make that easy.
Set in New York City and Trivandrum, The Nine Deaths of Dutch Mathew is a unique and sexy urban fairytale – a must read for anyone who likes their raunch with a twist of romance and a hint of magic. Watch for it to hit shelves this Fall 2015.