So many of us reinvent ourselves in the New Year, so we're asking authors who are rebranding themselves - through choice or necessity - how they go about a writerly reinvention.
As part of our special PHS Rebranding Edition, Cheris Hodges is talking about making space for black love on your bookshelves.
Black love matters and with the shuttering of Harlequin’s Kimani line, black romance authors have to hold on to their stories. It’s always funny to me that some readers, editors and publishers find it so hard to relate to black love — but push out alien love stories with a full marketing force behind those books.
I mean, seriously, why is it so hard for you to believe black people fall in love? But a demon with three dicks is awesome? Miss me with that bullshit.
For whatever reason, other people think that your reviews are the manna from heaven when it come to romance. Okay. That's stupid. But then again, millions of people voted for Donald Trump in this country.
Bookstores put black romance in a separate section like that was cool. Romance is romance. You know why I didn't read romance for years? Because I got tired of stretching my imagination to turn white folks into black folks. If I had to do all of that to enjoy a story, then I might as well write my own. So, I did.
But when I was published and walked into the romance section to find my books: crickets.
As choices in traditional publishing becomes a lot more limited, authors of color have a chance tell more diverse and rich stories about characters of color falling in love. Authors will be able to create characters who don’t have to be perfect.
There can be black alpha men who ride motorcycles and cuss.
There can be black alpha women who drink and have sex with more than one man.
The stories that we’re going to be able to tell now should be a lot more amazing.
The problem with traditionally published African American romance novels has always been respectability politics. But authors can now spread their wings and write stories they want to write.
It's time for us, the marginalized writers of the world, to take back our voice and tell our stories any fucking way we want. We are no longer going to write your stereotypical bullshit and the authors who do should be shunned!
Cheris's latest release, Deadly Rumors, is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website and blog, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.