Why I Include Lesbians, Gays, Blacks, Latinos and Immigrants in My Novels

By Guest Blogger Connie Lacy

I’m not black, Latina or lesbian. My parents didn’t immigrate to the US from India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Korea or China. I don’t have Down Syndrome and I’m not a clone. But I people my books with such characters because I want my fiction to reflect the multi-layered, variegated world I live in. It’s important to me that my novels include themes of human rights and diversity.

My stories range in subject matter from my Climate Fiction trilogy where a young woman is up against runaway global warming and those who’d rather profit from it than do something about it, to my new historical novel set in the 1960s, where a teenage girl comes face to face with racial violence, anti-Vietnam War protests and the Women’s Rights Movement. But regardless of the plot, I do my best not to cocoon myself – or the readers – with straight, white females like me.

The Shade Ring Trilogy is set a hundred years in the future and features a lesbian couple as important secondary characters. One of them is Latina. The other is African-American. One of the villains is Latino. Another is of East Indian heritage. There’s an important Native American character, a guy of Korean ancestry, and the aforementioned character with Down Syndrome. Not to mention characters from other countries and several clones. The United States is already a diverse country, but demographic projections suggest that in a hundred years we will be even more ethnically diverse, with whites no longer the majority. In fact, there will be many more Americans who are multi-ethnic a hundred years from now. Think Keanu Reeves and Senator Kamala Harris. So I include a good many characters who are multi-racial in my trilogy.

But even in my novels set in the present day I strive for diversity. In VisionSight: a novel, the main character’s best friend is black. And she dates a Korean-American guy. In “The Time Telephone,” Megan, the teenaged protagonist falls for a guy whose dad is from India and whose mom is Irish-American. And in my new historical novel, “A Daffodil for Angie,” the girl at the center of the story befriends the first black girl in her class when the school is integrated and ends up helping a gay student in danger of serious 1960s homophobia.

The book I’m working on now is another time travel novel with a woman who travels back in time to the era of the Trail of Tears, interacting with a Cherokee Indian woman. There will also be an important black character and a lesbian character.

So while I may be a straight white female, I’m surrounded by variety in real life, and, thankfully, in my own fiction. Hopefully, my books entertain readers while also creating a more inclusive world for them to ponder.

Connie’s website is www.connielacy.com

Connie’s email is connielacy@connielacy.com

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