Monday, June 13, 2016

Reading outside of your comfort zone

Today I am so happy to welcome one of my devoted readers to share a guest post. Recently she and I got into a discussion about what she loved about the Stafford Brothers series. When I mentioned to her that as an African-American author, I have difficulty attracting non-black readers to my books, she seemed shocked. During the course of our discussion, I told her about the comments black authors often hear from white readers, such as, "I don't think I'd be able to relate to an AA romance," or "I might not understand the language," and similar statements.

Rather than writing about this subject myself, I asked Patricia to write a short post sharing social network groups.

                          Reading outside of your comfort zone

I was asked by my new friend and author Chicki Brown to make a statement regarding books written by black authors. I was informed that many Caucasian readers such as myself fear reading books written by a black author. They are misled to believe that their writings are somehow hard to follow or told in a way that would put off a Caucasian reader. I personally am an avid reader. I read books from many genres and by many different authors. Until now I have never thought about the ethnicity of the author. I read the books description, and that would determine if I was interested in reading that particular story. To be honest, I was stunned that this was a major problem for Black authors.

I gave the issue some thought and realized that there has been a time or two that I was unfamiliar with the terminology used by a couple Black writers, whom I will not name. This has not been the norm, from my experience, however. I have read all the books written by Eva J. Brock and Melinda Michelle. I now have read several books by Chicki Brown, and plan to read more. I have read books by Aja Graves, Ric Nero, Rhonda Mcknight, Scarlett Avery, Sherman Cain and Daniel Black to name a few. There may have been a term used here and there that I was not familiar with, but the context surrounding the word was enough for me to understand what the author was saying. 

The fore-mentioned authors write a wide variety of stories that were well written, easy to understand and entertaining. I found myself lost in their stories from the first page to the last. Their work is fictional yet easy to relate to no matter what your personal life experience is. 

Open your world to new experiences don’t limit yourself in your reading or in life. In my opinion to not read a book because it was written by a black author is a huge loss to any reader of any ethnicity. Every author brings their own unique abilities to their stories, and every story deserves to be read. Not everyone will like every story, and that is okay but how will you know if you don’t read them? Reading brings the world to our fingertips. There is so much out in the world to explore. Reach into new realms, and you might be surprised by what you find. I don’t presume to tell anyone what to do I am merely stating my personal opinion. Happy Reading!

Patricia Sroka


Ey Wade said...

Love it. I've had this conversation before. Even had the few where AA refuse to read anything but books by Black authors.
Thanks for sharing, ladiesladies.

Vivienne Diane Neal said...

A great post. I read a variety of books by different authors. If the description piques my interest, I will read the book, no matter what the author's color is. As an author, I don't make references to the characters' color or ethnicity because the stories that I write are a mirror of the world. Every author brings his or her style of writing and narratives, which a reader can learn from or identify with.

Chicki Brown said...

Thanks for your comments, Ey and Vivienne!

I, too, read authors of all ethnicities, but I realized after becoming an author, that many readers restrict themselves. It's a shame, because they're missing out on such wonderful books.

J.L. Campbell said...

I discovered books by AA authors when I was an adult, having been mainly exposed to books by Caucasian writers. For a while after I discovered AA romance, that's all I read, since it was so new to me.

My world has opened up tremendously, not only by reading AA authors, but by picking up books that take place in a variety of settings around the world.

Chicki Brown said...

My former critique partner is Indian, and when I started reading her work, I loved learning about the family dynamics of Indian families. So many similarities to black mothers yet many differences too. Fascinating!

Cilla Johnson said...

Excellent article..