Of course some of my stories are inspired by real communities (Rosedale Park, Palmer Park, Sherwood Forest in Detroit) fictionalized through my characters.
**any similarities between these communities, my characters and real people are purely coincidental**
For me romance is about entertainment and escapism. Going into a world of make believe for an hour or two and even longer. Ironically enough when I was an avid reader—gothic romance or historical romance were my go to genres. I could go through two romance novels a week.
Thing is, none of the heroines looked like me—a Black woman. As a Black reader I wanted to read a story about women that looked like me, in love with her handsome Prince Charming in the scenario that I wanted her to be in.
So what did I do? I decided to write my own stories and chose affluent Black communities as the backdrop—as opposed to the hood/urban romance that are highly popular.
Which brings me to the point of this post—when I started writing, my goal was to write clean, Christian romance. And though I think there is a market out here for that, the landscape of courtship and dating has changed since the first book I wrote some 16 years ago.
I ultimately veered off and decided to be a little more realistic with my heroines, in that, most women are not waiting until marriage today or even 16 years ago, but that was the story I wanted to tell of my characters. For some readers the idea of waiting is just too unrealistic.
So, you may wonder, what does affluent Black communities and gothic romance have to do with each other? Nothing actually, but to write a believable story for a Black heroine I had to think of a world to put her in.
As I mentioned earlier, hood/urban stories are all the rage right now and while they hold no interest for me, I have incorporated some superficial urban nuances in some of my stories.
For example in Jewel—A Chance at Love, Jewel is instrumental in helping to revitalize her urban community.
Or, I have some of my characters spend time downtown—specifically downtown Detroit.
I like to tell myself that my stories are Hallmark Channel-ish, but with Black characters. Although, when I think of Hallmark Channel, I think of small town, quaint, picturesque—cutesy. I hope when people read my stories this is what it conveys. Light-hearted, feel-good with a balance of romance and drama.
So, where are the real affluent Black communities?
I got this list from BET