Saturday, October 10, 2009

Interracial Romance

Yes, it's true, that technically more than half of all Harlequin romances are interracial. The men are typically dark skinned, Italian, Arabic, Greek, and most recently, Indian, while the heroine is usually the pale, English rose type. Not only do the hero and heroine have different skin colors, they are also typically from different cultures and backgrounds.

There is, however, only one from category romance that I know of where there was an interracial relationship between a white and African American hero and heroine. (Taking Care of Business, by Brenda Jackson) The focus of the book was largely on the heroine, who was black, dealing with dating a white man.

This is a point of interest to me because, for those of you who don't know, I myself am married to a very handsome African/Italian/Czech man. :-) And while I can, and do, enjoy a romance with people of any ethnic background at the center of it, sometimes I want to read one that 'represents' my relationship.

So here's the thing though, what I really want is to read a romance with an interracial relationship where the races of the hero and heroine aren't at the center of it. Why? Because it's not at the center of my relationship. My husband and I do not have the same skin color, but that's not the sum total of our marriage, or even any part of it at all.

Not that we've never experienced discrimination based on the fact that he's black and I'm white, but it's been very rare, and when we met and fell in love, race never came into it for the two of us.

I have written an MS, aimed at Presents, but not submitted yet, where the hero is based off of my husband and is half African American. It is not an issue in their relationship.

So here's a question: Are people ready for that? Can it really be presented as a non-issue in a book? What are your thoughts on an interracial couple in a romance?

(yes, that is a picture from my wedding)


  1. I read a Presents once where the heroine was half-Japanese. It didn't strike me as "different" because race was absolutely not an issue and played no role in their relationship. I think there are two ways to go about it - mention it as part of the "getting to know the characters" and drop it, or make an issue of it but do so sensitively. Penny Jordan's Virgin For The Billionaire's Taking also features, I believe, the first Indian hero. Have you read it yet?


  2. have read it. I referenced it. :-)

    With my MS, which is very unedited at this point and who knows when I'll get back to it, I mentioned it in passing as a part of the hero's description, and gave a brief background on his parents, for whom it was an issue, as my hero is biracial. As for him and the heroine, it was never an issue.

    Which Presents had the Japanese heroine?


  3. Maisey,

    The best interracial romance I've read, maybe ever, is Zora & Nicky: a novel in Black and White, by Claudia Mair Burney. I highly recommend it as a excellent book on so many levels, not just how she portrayed the protagonist (a black woman and white man). Awesome.


  4. I do like books with the interracial theme at the center, not saying I don't, so I maye have to check it out. I read one called Forbidden about a Japanese American soldier and an Amish woman and it was illegal for them to even marry. It was during the time the US was putting the Japanese in concentration camps. It was a great book.

    I would just also like to see it portrayed as a non-issue, with skin color as a part of characteristics.


  5. Maisey,

    I agree. I'd like to see that too. And if I run into one I'll let you know. Reckon the last time I saw that, an interracial romance where race was a non-issue, was in Harry Potter. :)

  6. LOL. So true, Lori! Ginny and Dean. :-)

  7. Oh, and Harry and Cho. Wow. Progressive! :-)