Tuesday, August 23, 2011

African-American Books By Cecelia Dowdy

Posted by Cecelia Dowdy


Do you read books by African-American (AA) authors?

Many African-Americans will only read books by AA authors. Also, most bookstores have a separate section for AA books.

While I was growing up, there were few AA authors, so I read ANY NOVEL that I could find, the race of the author didn't matter to me! I was joyous when the publishing scene exploded with lots of AA books (I was an adult by this time.)

My question to all of you is, if you are NOT African-American, do you mind reading African-American fiction? Do you feel that AA books are only written for other African-Americans? If you go to a bookstore, and see the AA section, would you go to that section and browse, or do you feel that those books are only for AA readers?


And if you are AA, do you ONLY read books by AA authors, or do you read books by people of all races? Over the years, I've met several African-Americans who tell me that they'll only read AA authors.

I'll start by responding to my own question. If you've visited my blog, you'll probably already know my answer. I'll read a novel as long as it's well-written and enjoyable. I don't care if the author or characters are AA or not, I'm gonna read the book regardless. If I don't like it, I won't finish reading it!

I doubt that God would want us to separate our reading tastes like this. I'd think he'd want us to be open-minded and read books by authors of all races.

Leave your responses in the comments! :-)

~Cecelia Dowdy~

20 comments:

Molly Noble Bull said...

First of all, I didn't know there was an AA section of bookstores. If I had seen a sign that said AA, I would have thought it was for folks with drinking problems, and I don't have that problem.
But yes, I would and have read novels about African Americans -- like Cecelia's novels for example. I also like movies starring Will Smith and others. In FOR ALWAYS, the first novel I ever sold, I had a white heroine, and her best friend was a black American army wife.
What I don't like are characters in books and/or movies where young men (black or white) wear droopy pants and their caps on backwards.
In a nutshell, I pretty middle American.
Love,
Molly

Cecelia said...

My goodness, Molly! I HATE those droopy pants that hang down and you see their underwear! EW!! FYI, there were a few comments on Facebook about this blog post. You're welcome to view them.
~Cecelia Dowdy~
www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com

Teresa Slack said...

I don't usually think about who the author is if the story sounds interesting. Just like if the author is a man. Totally depends on the quality of the story & if it captures my interest. Don't know about mainstream fiction, but in Christian fiction, I don't believe there are many authors of color. I believe for most readers, regardless of race or sex, it's all about story. Or at least I hope so.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Thanks for commenting Teresa. I agree with you regarding race in books. I don't really think about the race of the author - I'm just lookin' for a good story.

There are a number of AA Christian fiction authors out there. Sometimes they might be shelved in the AA section of the bookstore. Other times, they might be in the Christian fiction section, therefore, Caucasians might not see the AA Christian fiction titles if they only search the Christian fiction section.

It's late and I'm tired, so my brain is fried since I'm about to go to bed. I can only think of a a few AA Christian fiction authors. The few that come to my mind are: Linda Leigh Hargrove, Tia McCollors, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Kimberly Cash Tate, and Sharon Ewell Foster.

Tea said...

Your articles are always good. I've never been taught to read authors because of race either. I luv to read. If it's a good book, I'm going to read it. I didn't teach my children to read by race. We took them to the children's room in the library. They were free to make their choices. Free. One of my sons loved the Hardy boys. Another son loved Origami and other crafts. One son loved Classical music. It makes me sad to hear authors trying to force me to read "one color." The world is huge. We are only one race among many.....

Dina Sleiman said...

Yes, some of my favorite secular authors are Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Nella Larson, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes...I've been trying to make a point to support African-American authors in Christian fiction as well, but there aren't many that I know of. Love Kim Cash Tate.

I don't usually read category romance, but actually I've enjoyed the few I've found with African-American characters because it gave a fresh slant.

cbalmony said...

Cecilia,
This is a good question. Though I am “white,” most of my closest friends through my life were “non-white.” I’ve come to realize that I like people who are different from me. That’s interesting. However, my close friends and I also often differed greatly in the kinds of music and stories we liked. I preferred rock and they might prefer R&B (even if we both like a little classical on the side). When I choose stories, I tend to like ones where I relate to the main character, so I might choose characters whose experiences mirror mine in some way. For this reason, I may find myself choosing stories where the main character is same as me (in whatever way). But on other occasions, I enjoy, like my choice of friends, something different. But having discovered Kim Cash Tate this year, I hope to see more stories like Faithful, whose ensemble cast mirrors more what my neighborhood looks like—a little of everything.

Brandi said...

I read books that are enjoyable, regardless of the author's race or that of the characters. However, I have noticed that there are not very many Christian fiction titles with African-Americans as the main characters. This is especially true in the romance category. I'm disappointed when I see cover after cover of historical romances especially, featuring only Caucasian characters. There is a need for more representation.

Currently, I'm working on a romance set in the 1870s that features a former slave and a buffalo soldier. Reading and writing about African Americans from a historic standpoint brings an extra richness to the time periods. It's also gratifying to see all races represented in a fair and accurate manner.

cbalmony said...

Brandi,
Now that is a story I'd like to see. I don't think it's that there isn't enough in the historical. My question is, are there any? I haven't seen any in the catalogues.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Tea, I never read books by Black authors when growing up since they pretty much didn't exist. But, like you, I was never taught about book segregation according to race of the author.

@Dina, most of the secular AA authors that you mention are old/classic. There are tons of new AA authors out there, but they're not shelved with the "White" books, that's why whites don't read them. That's why whites don't know about these authors.
Here are a few Christian fiction AA authors you might want to try:
Sharon Ewell Foster, Stacy Hawkins Adams, Marilynn Griffith, Vanessa Miller, Kendra Norman-Bellanmy, Linda Leigh Hargrove, Marita Teague, Claudia Mair Burney...also, if you're strapped for cash, you could always check to see if your local library has these authors' books on file.

@cbalmony - have not read Faithful, but I am reading Cherished for a blog tour.

@Brandi, it's been like that for a long time. As far as straight-up Christian category romances go, there's not much out there with AA characters. I did have one Love Inspired title out back in 2005. AS far as I know, Love Inspired hasn't published many novels since 2005 (or 2006?) with AA characters, but, I hear they're looking for them! Brandi, LI has a historical line, perhaps you can submit to them?

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Any of you notice that the secular novels THE HELP and THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES have a lot of AFrican-American characters in them and they were great hits...even made into movies. The authors of both those books are white, so, these 2 novels were not shelved in the AA section, they were shelved as "regular" books and their covers didn't feature AA people on them (although, after the movies were made, they did redo the cover to portray African-Americans). Just something to think about.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

If you want to try a book by an African-American Christian fiction author for free, you can download Tia Mcollors' Steppin Into The Good Life on this link. It's also available on Nook and other e-readers for free, I believe. If you don't have an e-reader, you can download the Kindle for your PC for free here.

Dina Sleiman said...

Thanks, Cecelia. I actually know of Claudia Muir Burney from her blog.

Molly Noble Bull said...

I have to add that one of my all time favorite romantic movies is Deja Vu starring Danzel Washington and Paula James. I have seen it twice, so far, and plan to see it again soon via Netflix. With a possible five stars, I give Deja Vu five star but with reservations. There was a brief nude scene in that movie that I didn't like. Still I have have to give it a five.
Do we have any other Deja Vu fans out there?
Love,
Molly

Cecelia said...

Molly, I've never seen Deja Vu. Maybe you should review it on the blog?

I'm kind of behind the times when it comes to movies. BUT, my all-time favorite is TITANIC with Leonardo Dicaprio! However, that movie has a brief nude scene, too? I haven't watched it in years, but have been meaning to dig it out and watch it again. :-)
~Cecelia Dowdy~
www.ceceliadowdy.com
www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com

Molly Noble Bull said...

Cecelia, I'm shocked that you never saw Deja Vu, one of the most wonderful African American romance movies ever. Actually, it's listed as a thriller instead of a romance and has an exciting plot that kept me guessing. My husband hates click-flicks, but he liked Deja Vu, too. So this is a movie that a husband and wife can watch together. I think it first came out around 2007. You should order it from Amazon on DVD. You will love it.
Love,
Molly

Cecelia said...

Ok, Molly. I will watch it! :-)
~Cecelia Dowdy~
www.ceceliadowdy.com
www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com

Teresa Slack said...

Don't think I've ever seen it either, Molly. I'll have to check it out.

Gene Pool Diva said...

Not even an issue. I love good books and movies. Tyler Perry is a genius and Brenda Jackson always delivers a good read.
Thinking about what you said, I went over to harlequin's site and tooled around. Seems I've always clicked on mainstream lines so I've missed quite a few writers.
I'll be watching for you :)

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Gene Pool Diva - thanks for leaving a comment. I'm afraid I'm not contracted for any novels right now, so, I'll be sure to let you know when that situation changes!