Normally, I do this kind of thinking-out-loud on my own blog, where about thirty people are paying attention. But then Charlie said "hey, I've got this guest spot, come make yourself
vulnerable visible here!" And sure, why not?
Hi, my name's Laura Anne, and while in the past I've mostly been known for urban fantasy (of the modern-magic-and-mystery variety) and the fact that I convinced a publisher to pay me to write three books about wine-based magic (and got a Nebula nomination for it!), my next project decided that it was going to drag me screaming and kicking somewhere slightly more problematic: American history.
Now, the talk in genre these days is about diversity, calling for more characters of color and alternative cultures, and more writers of color and non-Western backgrounds. And I'm 100% behind that - not because I'm a guilty white liberal. Because I'm needy.
There. I admit it.
Yes, literature - genre or mainstream - is a mirror. We look into it to see ourselves, through whatever reflects back. And that's why it's important for there to be diversity - so everyone gets a chance to see themselves. But literature is also a window. It's how we see things that aren't us, that bring new views, new light into who we are
So I want to see more stories set in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in cultures that aren't mine, with characters who aren't me, in race, religion, color or sexuality, because they let me see something else, something I can't get any other way. I need more of that, please!
But where does that call for diversity, and cultural authenticity, leave me as a writer? I'm of mixed and muddled background - four different bloodlines each carrying several different countries on their backs and continents in their wake. But for me to claim one of them as my mirror? Would be false, because I'm not a member of those cultures: I'm American, three generations deep.
So how much of American culture can I claim?