Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.
When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.
Hey Danielle! Thank you so much for having me!
When prepping to release BEYOND WHAT IS GIVEN, I let my reader group pick the topics for my open-ended blog posts, basically what they wanted my opinion on, and this is one of the topics they chose!
In BEYOND WHAT IS GIVEN, I open the diversity door by having a biracial heroine. Was I scared to do it? What are my thoughts on diversity as a whole in the genre?
So my first thought was, “of course I’m not adding diversity…Sam is in FULL MEASURES. She’s already in the series…” But then I stopped to realize that sure she was, but relegated to secondary character status, as are many diverse characters in New Adult. Was I scared to do it? When I paused and really thought about it, sure, there was a little trepidation. What if I turned readers off because I had an interracial relationship between the main characters? What if I stereotyped? What if I ignored it all together?
But what if I didn’t write the love story these two deserved because I was so worried about how it would be dissected? Interpreted? Received?
So, I stopped worrying about what others thought and simply wrote the story.
One of my favorite paranormal authors is Christine Feehan. I remember vividly reading my first diverse heroine in one of her Carpathian novels, and before opening the jacket, I paused. Was I going to experience a disconnect with the heroine? Would I be able to relate, to really step into her shoes and feel with her?
I’m mentally smacking myself for being an idito all these years later. Of course I related. She was a woman, falling in love. The same as me. The same as Sam.
The thing about bringing Sam to the forefront is that when I wrote EYES TURNED SKYWARD and Grayson entered the picture, I knew he needed a woman strong enough to dish his crap back at him, tender enough to heal his heart, and just complicated enough to really experience her own character arc. And I didn’t have to go far. I knew instantly that I’d already written his match: Sam. Did it matter that she’s biracial? That he’s not? No. Not to me. She’s just Sam. He’s just Grayson. They are two people from vastly different backgrounds, coming together with palpable chemistry and a unique understanding of the other’s suffering. Ethnicity never played into that bond. He’s just a man, desperate to love this woman. She’s just a woman, trying to let herself be loved by this man. This is simply a love story.
As for diversity in the genre, I think I can let my tweet from last year speak as my witness:
Yep. I’m the mother of a fabulous, gorgeous biracial daughter that we’ve been lucky enough to foster these last two years. And I can tell you that when she falls in love, it had better be with someone who deserves her. Someone who is strong, kind, loyal, determined, and ready to handle the sassy little package that she is. As a mom, that’s all I care about. As a writer, I hope I’m doing my part to make sure she has books she can read where she could easily match the physical descriptions of the heroine.
Of course… I hope she reads these books after she’s 18. And never tells me. Ever. Because some of these scenes? Phew. Hot.
Sam is actually my favorite heroine in the Flight & Glory series. She’s smart, strong-willed, confidently sexy, flawed, and so very real. As an author, that’s all I care about.
So high-five for diversity, and the authors stretching their wings to embrace it.
Thank you so much for having me, Danielle!!! I so appreciate it!!!
Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago.Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.
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