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Why I write multi-cultural characters March 12, 2013

Posted by karinshah in Uncategorized.
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I often get asked how I came to write Multi-cultural characters.

The first book I ever wrote was in essence Multi-cultural. It was a Science Fiction Romance and the hero and the heroine were literally from two different worlds. That book has never been published, but I went on to write STARJACKED and it was. Again the hero and heroine were from different worlds, and this time, the hero was not plain human stock. He was an Amalan. Stronger, faster, tougher, than ordinary humans.

I don’t make a big deal out of it in BLOOD AND KISSES, my vampire/witch romance, but Gideon the hero is from the Middle East, from before it was the fertile crescent and the cradle of early civilization. Thalia is just a witch from common European-American stock.

IN LIKE A LION is more overt. Anjali, the heroine, is from Mumbai, India. She’s not just Indian, she’s Gujarati. Her Grand-parents come from the western state of Gujarat and speak Gujarati at home, not Hindi. Gujaratis have a distinct culture separate from other Indian groups. They have their own foods, festivals, and even way of wearing their saris. Writing Anjali was a delicate balancing act. As a product of her culture, she had to believe and act in a certain way, but I couldn’t explain things to the reader too much. I couldn’t even use as much Gujarati as I would have liked to. If your first language isn’t English, it’s perfectly natural to slip into that tongue, especially when under stress, but there’s something called the “strangeness budget.” A reader can only take so many foreign or alien words without being pulled from the story. The concept comes from Science Fiction, but it works as well with characters of foreign origin.

I didn’t set out to write multi-cultural Romances, and I really only just realized I do. The US and Canada are full of people from all over the world, and it just seemed natural that people would fall in love. There are wide cultural differences between my characters, but underneath, they, like everyone else, have doubts, desires, and a deep longing for love and somewhere to belong.

The Backstreet Boys said it, “I don’t care who you are, what you did, where you’re from, as long as you love me.”

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