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March 24, 2010

What do you think?

Welcome to the new followers! I'm up to 34! Sixteen more and we'll have our first contest...

Wrote this on one of the mailing lists I belong to. Thought I'd post it here and get your input...

I'm writing my second novel in which the characters are Chinese, although the novel is set in a fictional city in Washington state, current day. It's a paranormal romance.

As I am half Chinese, this is sort of a nod to my maternal heritage.

However, I'm a bit worried about writing it TOO ethnic. Obviously, current day and in the US, it won't have a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" feel, nor will it be some Jackie Chan/Jet Li feel either. Some western paranormal myths don't translate well to Chinese, nor do Chinese myths translate well to western.

I'm wondering if my making the main characters Chinese will be a problem in trying to shop it. There are some Chinese names, customs, and words being used, sprinkled here and there. The heroine is half Chinese...with paranormal abilities.

How much is considered TOO ethnic? Is having non white characters (in any form) a detriment in/to the paranormal romance/romance genre? Will I need to shop it differently because of the non white main characters?

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Have you heard the controversy about a couple of books with non-white characters, but the publishers put white people on the covers? There was such outcry, the publishers backed down and changed the covers. These are traditional pubs I'm talking about, by the way. From what I can tell, epubs like Lyrical don't care. The traditional pubs seem to think white audiences want all white main characters, and that non-whites don't read as much, and they are WRONG on both counts. You'd probably have better luck with the more open-minded epubs, but there are non-white main characters in some paranormal romance and urban fantasy that is being published by the traditional houses. If I were you I would write it, and later decide whether to look for an agent/traditional publishing deal, or submit to an epub. Who knows - you submit it to the right agent and the Chinese characters might be what makes it stand out and get their attention, and get you a deal!

Oh, and speaking as a painfully bland white person, I would love to read it!

Piedmont Writer said...

There are vampires and werewolves for main characters these days so I don't think Chinese would be a problem.

My current WIP has Italians and mob affiliates, but I don't care, I'm writing the story anyway.

I don't think you'd have to shop it any differently than any other paranormal romance. I think it would be a stand-out kind of story BECAUSE of the ethnicity.

BreiaB said...

I don't think there is any such thing as too ethnic. I'm not white but I enjoy reading stories with white characters just as I am sure there are white people who enjoying reading stories about other ethnicities. I say write the story and it will all sort itself out.

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