Please help me welcome to the blog a new voice for diversity in romance, Ms. Laura Brown! Happy release day, Laura! I am very intrigued about this new release featuring hearing-impaired characters. I love unique heroes and heroines and I don't think I have ever read from the perspective of the hearing-impaired. So this is a definite one-click for me. Check out Signs of Attraction, and keep reading for Laura's perspective on the importance of diversity in romance.
Diversity in Romance
by Laura Brown
The diversity movement in the publishing world is huge right now, and I love every second of it. This is not a trend. This is fixing the gross imbalance of books available, especially with mainstream availability.
I love romance books, have been reading them for years. One day I was reading a book and the hero was not white. That instantly grabbed my attention, then made me very, very sad. A non-white hero shouldn’t be a nice surprise, it should be part of the norm.
The same goes for sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
I can count on one hand the number of romances I’ve found with a deaf or hard of hearing character. And to date, from the books I’ve read, I’ve found exactly one that was handled with respect (sadly, still with a long list of inaccuracies). The others, simply put, didn’t do their research.
I’ve known my entire life that having a hearing loss means most of the world around me has assumptions about what hearing loss means. And 99% of those assumptions are wrong. So when I see a book has a character who is deaf or hard of hearing, my first instinct is to be worried.
Which led me to realize: why am I not writing these characters?
I don’t know of any other romance with both main characters with a hearing loss, never mind one being hard of hearing and the other being Deaf (capitalized to denote cultural identity). I didn’t know how well it would be received by my hearing peers. I just knew I had to write it.
Writing about hearing loss came easily. The hardest part was remembering that I created Carli to have the opposite bad ear as me, which was much more complicated than it should have been! Because I centered this story around my own experiences, there’s a lot of my heart and soul on the page.
I’m sure I can speak for other own voice writers (marginalized writers who write about characters with the same marginalization) when I say that I’m happy to educate and spread awareness through a work of fiction. I hope people who read SIGNS OF ATTRACTION will learn a few things, and perhaps change some of the previously incorrect information they had. And I hope readers will seek out own voice authors, to learn authentic stories from people who differ. It’s one way we can bind people across race, gender, sexuality, and disability.
I hope to be one small part of the journey.