On Writing Characters Outside Your Racial/Sexual Identity

A lot to digest in this engaging discussion by a group of POC mystery-thriller writers. I’m in a deadline vice at work, so can offer only agreement with the observation that when one creates a character of another racial or sexual identity, one shoulders a serious responsibility to get the details right and to be respectful of the group whose racial/sexual identity your character inevitably will “represent.” I obsessed over many details in The Rabbit Skinners, but anguished the most over the depictions of the three central African American characters (Katherine Nabors, Marvin Williams, and especially Jophia Williams). I’m not sure how successful I was, but I wanted them to be entirely three dimensional, unmoored of stereotypes, yet also actual individuals of specific ages, genders and histories whose natures were inescapably sculpted by their being black in a specific geographical setting.

They became like real people to me and I still wonder how they’re doing.


During Black History Month (February), all author profits from sales of mystery-suspense novel The Rabbit Skinners will be donated to The Southern Poverty Law Center to help them continue their fine work combatting white supremacists.

#BlackHistoryMonth⁠ ⁠ #SPLC



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