Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Race Writing...

Tess Gerritsen, MD and author of too many books to count has posted a very nice and painfully honest column over at Muderati about race, writing, and readers. In essence, the question is asked whether a non-white protag will do worse in sales than a white protag.

My experience, so far, is that anything I try to write (as a non-white) is bound for financial failure... That could just be me. Certainly, some have made this work for them - Walter Moseley comes to mind. Alexander McCall Smith, too. Tony Hillerman. Still, I do have some questions that I'll repeat from my comment on Tess's blog:

There might be a difference also between people of color among their own kind as opposed to out and about in the white world. Also, people of color who don't raise a fist - Mma. Ramotswe, for instance. A black detective in Harlem? No problem. A black detective raising a gun at whites in Westchester County? Maybe not so good. Again. I don't know. I wouldn't doubt you if you said there is a successful, serious series with a black detective in Beverly Hills. Eddie Murphy already did the comic side of things.

What thinkst thou?


Blogger Susan said...

Hi Steve, I'm also a writer of crime, and came here via a post on MMA. Having been a professional musician for many years working with many races, and since I'm a big jazz fan, as a white novelist, I can't imagine writing a book with all white characters. In fact, when I read a contemporary crime novel and see only white characters it feels weird to me. Both of my thrillers are set in New Orleans, where I lived for 8 years. Both feature many black characters. I invite you to visit my Archives, where I profile several black female musicians.

Cheers, Susan

June 26, 2011 8:49 PM  

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