Sherri Lupton Hollister


Diversity in Reading and Writing and Life 
With all the talk about diversity from media to the RWA I thought I’d add my thoughts on the subject.
I don’t choose books based on the race, gender, sexuality or religion of an author. I choose books on subjects that interest me. I have my favorite authors: Sabrina Jeffries, Jayne Ann Krentz and Eloisa James, all of whom are similar: educated, white and female. There are many other, more diverse writers whom I have also enjoyed reading. I have been transported to the past with historical adventures by Jade Lee and William Dietrich, uncovered conspiracies with suspense writers Caridad Pineiro and James Rollins, and I’ve relived the tumult of youth with young adult novelists Brigid Kemmerer and Cassandra Clare. 
As a writer, I people my stories with characters similar to people I know. They are a complex blend and vary in shades and personalities. I feel diversity is like spice in cooking. The right blend enhances the meal but certain combinations compete or overwhelm the food. Personalities are like that, certain people bring out different aspects of your personality, not always the best traits. As I develop my characters I like to add this aspect. A well put together business woman might revert to a little girl around her grandmother or a tomboy around her father and brothers. We are not just one thing and neither are the characters we write. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter and a friend. I am a writer and a salesperson. In each relationship I’m slightly different but they are all me.
I’ve recently started seeking books by local authors. Reading blogs and reviews searching for more diversity in my reading. The president of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers Group is a funny and lovely black woman. I purchased her book “Making the First Move ” specifically to see how her style of writing differed from my own. Reese Ryan is a Midwest transplant to North Carolina and her roots show in her writing. But our style of writing and my other choices for reading aren’t that different. I like strong characters. I especially want a heroine who is strong or who gains strength throughout the book. Reese joins the line up for go to writers with strong, feminine characters.
I recently purchased “Virtual Ruby” by Piper Hugely after reading a post by Reese Ryan. My first love is historical romances but I’ve never knowingly read a historical by a black woman. In my quest to broaden my literary scope I decided to try a Christian historical romance. 
Hugely did an amazing job of showing strength, acceptance and love through the heartrending story of Ruby. Ruby is a young woman who wants to make a difference in the lives of her people. Like many women of the time period she has little clout, as a black woman she courts danger by bringing attention to the needs of her people.Reading this story changed me. A good story can do that. It makes you see the world through different eyes.
Each story I’ve read has encouraged, enlightened and strengthened me. If you want to see the world…read! If you want to change the world…write! If you want to enlighten people…write fiction!

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