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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stumbling into Diversity - Pippa's Journal

With both Donna and Greta posting about diversity, I had to chip in since the topic had come up not too long ago in regards to one of my own titles. My SciFi romance Tethered got a mention on The Galaxy Express HERE in February as being a diverse book. Heather commented on how she'd read Tethered (in which, despite the rather ironic incidence of a white male on the cover in contradiction to her findings, the heroine is black skinned) then gone onto her next read only to be confronted by an all white future universe.

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Now, I'm not going to claim I'm any less guilty of writing a non-representative future for humanity. I'm white, British, brought up in a white society and currently living in a 99% white area. My home town does have a large Chinese/Asian community due mostly to the local university, but they tend to be in the student digs on the other side of town. Ethnic minorities here are very much exactly that - a minority.

That's not an excuse, but when that's your reality every day, I guess it's inevitable it shows in my writing. My 'diversity' was writing aliens and their culture.




But I wasn't deliberately trying to correct that fact when writing Tethered either. Tyree is what she is. A black skinned, black haired but blue eyed cloned succubus-like assassin. I didn't make her a POC to make a point about racial issues or diversity, although there are conflicts in the story between the ethics and morals of her people - the Inc-Su - compared to the futuristic human society (you can read my post about that over at the SFR Brigade blog HERE). I'm not trying to point score on the diversity element. I am petrified of offending people, but in this day and age it seems even being politically correct will offend someone.

However, I am more conscious of trying to represent a future that I hope will be less crippled by discrimination, sexism, racism, misogyny etc that still pervades our supposedly civilized 21st century society. While my upcoming YA dystopia - Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened - starts out with a white male hero (he's the only character other than zombies, lol), I enjoyed sharing my character snap shot of the three central heroes to my editor. Parts two and three of Zombie Girl will hopefully reflect the multi-cultural society I'd expect to see. And I'm going to admit to having a lot of fun while at the same time having a mental meltdown researching languages to help bring my characters and their ethnic origins to life.

From left to right: Connor, Zee, and Jonathan
I've also got a novella I hope to release late this year/early next where the white hero is the exception to the rule. Again, it wasn't a conscious decision to include non-white characters - it was the way the story panned out (Revived, a novella in the shared Venus Ascendant universe).

In the future it may well be that other worlds are colonized by specific ethnic groups rather than an amalgamated race of humans, or that we all become one united, mixed gene species. Who knows? But it's fun to play with, and as SFR authors I definitely think those are possibilities we should explore. And since diversity has been a running theme at Spacefreighters Lounge this week, check out Donna and Greta's posts HERE and HERE respectively.

Pippa's Journal

This week I had some excellent news ahead of my print release for Tethered (the pre-order went up at Breathless Press HERE on Friday. Yay!). On Saturday it hit number TWO in the Breathless Press bestsellers list (it's been at number one on the Cyber top sellers list for a while, and in the lower region of the overall bestsellers since Christmas).


Now, while this isn't Amazon or the New York Times, I'm still blown away. BP have about 700+ books on their site, and I've always known SFR is quite a niche genre. Add to that my conviction that my superhero romance When Dark Falls would do far better because the cover won 3rd place in the JABBIC SF/FPNR category, and superheroes are very 'in'. So while I love all my books and my covers (aside from the usual periodic author angst that all my stuff sucks), I'm bewildered. Is SFR about to become the in thing? Did I just happen to have the right book at the right time? Did I just get lucky? My marketing tends to be somewhat haphazard in that I have my usual methods but will grab any new opportunity if I see it, while keeping it all low key. I haven't done anything different with Tethered than any other book - in fact if anything I've probably pushed my other BP titles more. Maybe I did those too much? Chances are I'll never know what did it. But you can bet I'm happy about it!

I also had a lovely chat with award winning Scifi Encounters contributor Veronica Scott in HEA USA Today HERE. I got the chance to talk about how music inspired my superhero romance When Dark Falls.

On the downside, my YA SF Gethyon didn't win me an EPIC eBook Award this year, although I'm still chuffed to have made the finals (my second entry, but the first to place). There's always next year!

And I can't let the death of Sir Terry Pratchett go without comment. I've read his books for over twenty years, and reviewed many of them. My recent zombie book paid tribute to the fact that his zombie characters differ greatly from the classic Hollywood monsters, and I regret that I never tweeted it to him. I had the very great privilege of meeting him twice at book signings. A rather reserved man from what I remember. I also remember reading the last Night Watch book very much with a sense that I was saying farewell to one of my favourite Discworld characters, Sir Terry having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I said as much in my review, but I always hoped that I was wrong. Unfortunately not. It was the last book of his that I read, as I found the next one - Nation - far too dark and grim for my taste and gave up very early on. I've not been able to blog about his death because even the thought of his leaving the world chokes me up. This weekend I found myself reading the only book of his that I have on Kindle (and therefore readily on my phone), which so happens to be that same last Sam Vimes book. Rather unfortunately the book is called Snuff, one meaning of which is in reference to "arbitrary and unpleasant deaths". A sad book fitting to a sad occasion.

Events

It's a biggie! The Science Fiction Romance Brigade is celebrating its 5th Anniversary with an out of this world party on Facebook. Currently over 40 SFR authors have signed up to chat, play games and do giveaways during a 24 hour event guaranteed to fit into your schedule somewhere. Why not stop by and check out the roster of authors by clicking on the banner below? It starts tomorrow at 12pm EDT.


You're invited to the SFR Brigade House Party, a celebration of our 5th anniversary!

When: March 18, 2015
12 noon EST - 12 midnight EST
Where: Facebook

The party will be packed full of fun! Here are some of the festivities you can look forward to:
* Chat with authors
* Giveaways
* Meet 'n' greet with fellow readers
* Informative posts about sci-fi romance
* Topical discussions
* Interactive activities

PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED

I hope to see you there!

2 comments:

  1. It's good to get another take on Diversity. There's nothing at all wrong with being white :) I find it fascinating how we've each diverged (!) in our approaches.

    "Nation" was a rather strange book, definitely a stand-alone. But I hope you give it another go, in time. It's about two people from totally different cultures, backgrounds (and race) who come together to do good. I remember commenting at the time (and being jumped on for doing so) that the book shows Terry's Alzheimers for the first time. And, perhaps, his reaction to the diagnoses. Maybe I'm reading things that don't exist.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Greta,
      Yup, interesting the different ways that we arrived at it but yay to us for trying? I'm certainly not ashamed of being white, though being a redhead I should know something about being a minority in some way.

      No, I think I agree with you about Nation. I felt it had been written from a very dark place, one where perhaps he was raging about his condition. I know I would have been. I also think that feeling was part of what made it so difficult to read. I remember mentioning it to my husband and saying this was the first TP book I couldn't finish when I've read and even reread so many of the others.

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