Last year, a few insightful authors of young adult fiction used the hash tag “We Need Diverse Books” to call attention to the small numbers of diverse characters in the realm of children and young adult books. Their innovation in starting the hash tag only served to bring light to the fact that all of publishing needs to pay closer attention to being more inclusive of the stories that feature people of all colors, religions, abilities and sexual orientation. In honor of her recently deceased grandmother, Nana (a.k.a. Josephine Minatee), author Kwana Jackson started her own hash tag (#WeNeedDiverseRomance) to call attention to these issues in the romance genre. Kwana has declared July 23 to be #WeNeedDiverseRomance day. We who have purchaed tee shirts will wear them at the national Romance Writers of America conference in New York. I have mine all ready to go.
The part that I’ve played in this endeavor is pretty obvious. Additionally, I’ve had the honor of being on a panel at RWA in New York to discuss this issue. I just participated in one in Dallas at the RT convention to discuss how writers can write more diversity into their stories. Jezebel has just published a very thorough, thoughtful article about the subject and I’m sharing it here. Yes, I am in the article and they very kindly featured the cover of The Preacher’s Promise in it. However, I’m also sharing it in honor of Kwana’s Nana and all of the readers who have been waiting to read more stories that reflect them as well.