Friday, February 21, 2014

Writing outside my comfort zone: diversity edition

Chris Howard's artist rendering of Amara Maria Guzman, from FUTURE TENSE

FUTURE TENSE is written from the first person point of view of a seventeen year old boy. While I am a fifty year old woman, this wasn’t as much of a stretch as it might have been: I am the mother of two boys, one of whom is seventeen, the other twenty. I have spent half a lifetime immersed in the culture of boys and young men, listening to how they speak, how they dress, how they move and interact with their peers. The more difficult part of writing this novel was that it takes place in an inner city setting with a highly diverse cast of characters, including African American foster parents and a Latina love interest.
My upbringing is primarily white and middle class. What made me think I could write a story so removed from my own personal experience? Would I be able to bring authenticity to the narrative? Would my depiction of this novel’s milieu capture the lived experiences of its characters without coming across as ‘message fiction’, relying on cliche, or including unconscious value judgements?
These are some of the questions that open my guest post for fellow author and critique buddy,  Heather Webb's blog: Between the Sheets. Please join me over there and add to the discussion for a chance to win a copy of FUTURE TENSE. 


  1. Excellent guest post. I'd say you thought a lot about this in all of the right ways; just the fact that you questioned yourself certainly seemed to drive you to look deeper. I've been struggling with this as well with my last NaNo novel where my main character is a different gender, race, and sexual orientation.

    Recently read an article in Apex along these same lines:

    1. Thanks for your comment and for the resource. Much obliged. If you'd like to be in on the giveaway, please leave a comment on Heather's blog. :) Not too many comments there, so your chances are excellent!