I have all these inappropriate (but I think fun!) comments to make, but I can’t because I just know someone will take them wrong and I’ve probably already horribly offended all sorts of people, and Ms. Brady herself. [As you see we have Kira Brady visiting with us, and she is just the cutest darn thing. Not that that’s relevant. Since I had her spot scheduled possibly two years ago, I hadn’t decided to celebrate the Heritage Months yet. However, Kira was a great sport and put her game face on.] I’m really pleased to be able to share different perspectives this month, and I think it’s important to highlight that all are important and noteworthy.
Without further ado, Ms. Brady.
I’ve been putting off this blog post for a long time. When Limecello first asked me to write a post and make it relevant to Black History Month, my first reaction was panic. What do I have to say about race? I grew up in Seattle, the whitest big city in America, where we go out of our way not to talk about race for fear of offending anyone. When I learned about racism as a kid, I actually got the idea that the fight for equal rights was a thing of the past. Discrimination had been righteously vanquished by my parents’ generation. The present was the golden age of peace and harmony and equality.
I know, right? TSTL.
But my friends, a rainbow of colors and origins, never talked about race. And I, naïve white girl that I am, never thought to ask. It wasn’t until many years later that one of my good friends mentioned in passing that when she was in the States, everyone thought she was Asian, and when she was in Japan, everyone thought she was white. She was dating a guy who was half Asian and half Caucasian at the time, and one day when she was hanging out with him and his siblings, she looked around and thought to herself, “Wow, everyone here is just like me.” My mind was blown. I had never realized that she ever felt a sense of not-belonging in either place. What must it feel like to always be “Other”? What must it feel like to finally be among people who are all just like you?
That thought stayed with me as I wrote the Deadglass Trilogy. My characters are almost all half and half something, all searching for that place where they can belong. I believe fiction has a responsibility to paint a world that could be, to inspire us to imagine the world as it should be. So I populated my alternate Seattle with a rainbow cast, just like I’d like to read more of and see more of. The conflict stems from differences between species – Thunderbird and Dragon and human – not color of skin. I suppose most PNR/UF deals with racism at that level: discrimination against shifters, hatred of vampires, etc. and the two love interests overcome their cultural hatred of the “Other” to find true love and a place they can belong. Even in my reading, I’m drawn to this concept of people living between two worlds.
Kayla is half black and Hart is Kivati, one of my pseudo-Native American shifters. Grace is half Korean and Leif is Drekar. Lucia is…well, you’ll see.
Kira Brady is the author the Deadglass Trilogy for Kensignton Zebra. A native Seattleitte, she always waits at crosswalks and knows how to riot with exceeding politeness. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania before returning home to her rain-drenched city, where she roots for the Seahawks with her football-loving husband and two small babes. Publishers Weekly called Hearts of Chaos (March 2014): “beautifully rendered prose and multidimensional characters who capture readers’ hearts.” More info can be found at kirabrady.com.
*N.B. – The series prequel, Hearts of Fire is free for kindle right now! I even linked it for you 😀