Thursday, October 11, 2007

Interracial Relationships in Romance

Since I blogged about why it's always some white dude on The Bachelor, both Karen Scott and Charlie Horse have chimed in with their takes on Interracial Romances, which brings me to today's post. Why aren't there more interracial relationships in romance?

Now, before you leave me a comment saying but what about romances with Native American heroes, I'm not talking about those. Or the plethora of sheik romances on the shelves thanks to Harlequin Presents. I'm talking about books where either the hero is AA and the heroine is white or hispanic or the heroine is AA and the hero is white etc.

Here we are in the year 2007 and of all the books that are published that are romances, how many feature an interracial relationship? I can name two Silhouette Special Editions that were published in the last two years that featured a romance where the romance was between either an African-American man and a white woman and vice-versa, and both those books were written by Barbara Gale, who is a member of RWA NYC (and was recently featured in an interview on this blog a few weeks ago). This book, The Ambassador's Vow won a Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Award for Best Silhouette Edition.

Suzanne Brockmann of course, after many fan letters, gave Sam and Alyssa their own book, Gone Too Far and Sharon Cullars wrote a novel Again published by Aphrodisia that featured a romance with an African-American heroine and a white hero. But that's pretty much it, that I know of. I don't read a lot of e-published books or small press books, so I could be missing out.

One of my favorite books is by Sandra Kitt called The Color of Love. Leah Downey is a talented black artist dealing with a loveless relationship. Jason Horn is a white cop trying to get over the traumas of his past. When they meet, sparks fly--but can they keep it together? If you haven't read it, I suggest that you run out and try to find a copy. It was optioned for an HBO Film but never made. It's too bad, I could totally see Christopher Meloni as Jason and Sanaa Lathan as Leah. She's actually written several books for Signet that featured interracial romances.

Soaps have finally started dipping their feat in the waters of interracial relationships, most notably Prince Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital. There have been several over the years, mainly between white men and African-American women, but they've come along way since the 70's.

Maybe it's because I live in New York, but not a day goes by that I don't see several interracial couples, not just black/white but black/asian, white/asian, Indian/white etc. It's like Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition moved to New York. Maybe in the rest of the country, it's just not as prevalent.

Is there just not an audience for this type of book? Genesis Press tried to do a whole series of books that featured interracial romances that didn't last long. I know I've featured several interracial romances in my novels, so I'm certainly interested in reading them. And I've been in several interracial relationships myself. Are publishers just not that willing to take a chance on them unless the writing is amazing?

I'm curious to know what other people think?


Charlie Horse said...

the color of love sounds like an excellent read. I'm putting it on my amazon wish list. My guess why there aren't more interacial romances may be because most people still haven't dated much outside their race? hard to say.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

See this mystifies me. Reading about a man who sports fangs and has to drink blood, or extra body hair at the full moon or is from another planet is okay, but two people who are of different races is still taboo?

chandy said...

Oooooooooooooo, I got into reading romance quite late in life (thank goodness somewhat, cause some of the books make me roll my eyes with disbelief, but hey a little fantasy can be useful!), so I've catching up on all the I/Rs out there and believe me, although they're not published fast enough, they are out there. Karyn Langhorne, JJ Murray, Roslyn Holcomb (who are all interracially married) have written some lovely reads. David Handler has a whole set of Berger and Mitry Mystery that features exclusively an I/R couple (fantastic books). I could go on and on.......Enjoy

PS: Accessed your blog through Charlie Horse's

cady said...

Definitely. I am a black female and my boyfriend is white. We met on And what can I say...when you love really don't see their skin see them. And if you think that you are strong enough to be with person in the face of all those racists fools out there...then I say go for it. At the risk of sounding knows no color and you should be with the person because of who they are and not the color of their skin.