Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Little Story That Could

Welcome interracial author, Marilyn Lee. I can't believe I've found another Charlie Chan fan. Warner Olan rocks. Today, Marilyn is sharing her rough road to publishing interracial romance. Thanks for being here today.

My how things have changed—for the better regarding writing and publishing interracial romances. When I first started writing ebooks I wasn’t aware of any other author writing interracial romances. In those days, it was difficult to get a publisher to accept one. Epublishers (like their New York counter parts) weren’t convinced there was a market for them.

Since I had a number of friends involved in I/R relationships and marriages, I knew of their desire to read books that mirrored their romantic life. But getting publishers to agree with me wasn’t easy. After having several manuscripts rejected, I decided I needed to actually get a “regular” romance accepted first and then try again to get some of my I/R books accepted and published as I/R books.

I made all the heroes and heroine in my books Caucasian and was then able to sell a number of them to various epublishers. Once I had a few book-length manuscripts published, I turned my attention back to getting an I/R one published. Instead of trying to convince a publisher to accept a full-length novel, I wrote three short stories. The first had a Caucasian couple, the middle story had an African-American couple, and the third had an I/R couple. It was called White Heat.

I like to think of White Heat as the little story that could because it was so successful that it overshadowed the other two stories in the anthology. That anthology (called Carnal Confessions and published by Ellora’s Cave) even managed to garner a 89 rating from Mrs. Giggles.

I later broke up Carnal Confessions and sold White Heat to Zane who published it in Chocolate Flava in 2004. Six years later, I am still getting emails from readers who write to tell me how much they loved White Heat.

But even after White Heat was published, it was still some time before I was able to write I/R romances on a regular basis. But happily these days, readers who enjoy reading what I love to write have so many more authors to choose from. Interracial romances now come in all heat levels and genres.

I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a supportive reader base that has allowed me to explore most of them. My forty some published books include interracial romances from nearly every genre. I’ve written an erotic I/R vampire series (my Bloodlust series), an I/R shifter series (my Moonlight series), I/R books featuring bbw heroines, I/R books featuring Native American heroes (the Grayhawks, the Redwolfs, and the Elkhorns), I/R themed books with m/m lovers, and I currently have three published I/R inspirational romances that have generally been well received.

I’m delighted more publishers have realized there’s a market for I/R romances and writers no longer have to jump through hoops to get such books accepted.

Readers interested in exploring my take on I/R romances can find a list of my books at my website ( ).



Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks for being here, Marilyn.

I admire how you set your love aside to come in from the back to convince publishers to give your interracial books a try.

It's unbelievable how the mindset is so stuck in a rut that they couldn't see how we, even back then, were surrounded with interracial relationships.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Congratulations, Marilyn! I'm in awe with how you won through with the publishers. I'm with Bekki - I really admire your tenacity and strength.

White Heat sounds amazing!!

Savanna Kougar said...

Marilyn, wow! Congrats on all your success. Very smart approach to getting your I/R books published. I probably wouldn't have been that patient or strategized that well.

From my perspective I/R relationships, romance, has occurred since humans existed in civilizations and probably prior.

I think, during history, there were powerful ruling groups who wanted to keep people fighting with each other instead of getting to know each other. Plus, of course, there's that human instinct to fear what we don't know.

However, it's been a game of divide and conquer. So sad for all of us. Love is love and the heart knows what it desires.

Marilyn Lee said...

Thanks, Bekki.

Marilyn Lee said...

Thanks for your kind words, Lindsay.


Marilyn Lee said...

Thanks, Savanna.


Marilyn Lee said...

Thanks, Savanna.


Marilyn Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

Wow Marilyn,

Thank you for persevering! It's hard imagine how hard you've had to work for something back then, that I get to enjoy and can take for granted today - the I/R Romance! As one of your loyal fans who has over 43 of your I/R books, I'm humbled by what you had to deal with and I know that as an avid reader my 'rich textual lineage' would not be as nearly complete without the ground-breaking efforts of you and so many other talented writers! And.. you know how I love the Greyhawks, Elkorns, Stoners and of course the Dumonts! Thank you! Thank you!

Marilyn Lee said...

Thanks so much for your support, Leigh.


Leni said...

I enjoy reading your work. You always have authentic characters with voices and stories that need to be told. It is so refreshing to read your books.
Continued Success

Wanda E. Santiago said...

Marilyn so true the reality is that you opened doors for others. You are my hero.

Ladiesword said...

That's one of the reason I so enjoy your books. You stay true to yourself and always try to give your readers what they like to read. But, keeping your stories on to your own visualization and true to heart. Thanks for the love and all the I/R books. :)