Am I a Racist Author?


  1. Well I haven't read Catching the Rose yet, but I am certain that you treated the subject with the exact right amount of reality. I've come to expect that of your historicals. I live in the deep south, Mississippi to be exact, and racism is a topic that (sadly) still comes up with regularity (usually by people not from here who are sticking their nose in to find problems that aren't actually problems). Absolutely racism is horrible. Certainly slavery was deplorable. But for God's sake, we can't go back and change history and we certainly SHOULDN'T ignore it. That's how history gets repeated. So I say bravo to you for sticking to your guns and portraying things accurately.

    1. The thing with Catching the Rose is that it's heavy on the description… perhaps too much for most readers. I really wanted to stick to the 19th C style of novel writing. Which really shortens my reader list because I'm not a 19th C author!

      Anyway, I did try to be real, at least in terms of attitudes and emotions about the topic. I'm surprised that a person opened the book, knowing it was about a southern belle DURING THE CIVIL WAR, and took issue with me calling the slaves "slaves." Oh well. I'm glad I stuck to my guns. Seven years this book has been out, and I've never once had this complaint. Guess it was about time I got one, at least. :)

      Thanks for the support!

  2. Well said, Kait :)

    The problems of the past do make rather sticky wickets for those of us who write about the past (especially when we choose to do so accurately) but I stick to what my favorite bumper sticker in college said: "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."

    1. That's right! The book isn't even about slavery, not directly anyway. The characters themselves are very casual about it, which isn't very real to era, unfortunately. When I wrote Catching the Rose, I was seventeen years old and the topic was just a little too taboo for me yet. I made it known slavery existed, one of the main characters had a slave and didn't mistreat her, but she also made no attempt to free her. Just doesn't really occur to her.

      Anyway, anyone writing about the Civil War can't just ignore the slavery issue. Without slavery, the war wouldn't have happened, because the south wouldn't have seceded.

  3. The reviewer was ignorant. You are not a racist author for using the word "slave." Was Mark Twain a racist author?

    1. That's my thought as well. "Slave" is the accurate word, what did they want me to do, use the awful n-word? I hate even having to reference it. People do think Twain was a racist author. It's the mistake of projecting our modern sensibilities on history. It doesn't work.

  4. I believe I shall hop out and read CATCHING THE ROSE so I can craft a review and push that mind-blinding 1-star further down the track. My book has multiple 4 and 5 stars, then a 1-star. It just came in this week. Was there a full moon? The reviewer obviously doesn't want me write in the vernacular, or to create scenes that depict life as it actually happened in the 1890's. I guess she wants an historical told with a contemporary voice and idioms. Sorry to disappoint, but that's not going to happen! Like Jennie Cruzie says, "give me 5 stars or give me 1 star, but never never never give me 3". She wants readers to either love it or hate it. That's her goal. So at least now we have the 1-star end of the spectrum taken care of!

    1. Haha thanks Bailey, you don't have to do that! If you read the book, give it the review you think it deserves. Just know that it's a slower read than Haunting Miss Trentwood, if you've read that one.

      How can a reader expect you to write a book set in 1890 and NOT use the vernacular?? Sometimes I just get confused about things like that. It's like people don't realize that things were different in the "good old days." Very different.

      I like Cruzie's theory. Glad you've gotten it taken care of!

  5. Belinda, I've found that no matter what you do or write, someone is going to take offense. I've gotten bad reviews on one of my books because it has no sex in it. I've gotten good reviews on the same book for the same reason. LOL

    It's not racism when you're just being historically correct. I'm like Kait, I live in the south, and it's a touchy subject around here. And to answer CM's question…many people do think Mark Twain was a racist author. Someone said the other day that Huckleberry Finn should be banned from schools. LIke Kait said, we can't change history. That's the way things used to be.

    You've got me a little worried about a book I started writing awhile back now. I may write a blog about that tomorrow and see what people think. There are parts that may be taken as racism, although that wasn't my intentiion.

    Don't let this get you down. You can't please everyone. And I know you're not a racist!

    1. Very true. One reader loved Catching the Rose because it's so heavy on description. Yet another reader (via Goodreads) said she couldn't finish the book because the description slowed the plot down to a stop. It's a divisive book. I wrote Haunting Miss Trentwood to appeal to more readers, and it worked. Readers who find me through HMT will be split about CTR, that's for sure.

      I don't think you should worry about your book. I think maybe genre fiction suffers from this idea that it can't tackle heavier topics. To do so, one needs to be "literary." I call bull crap. There is a reader, somewhere, who will appreciate your work.

      I'm glad you think I'm not a racist! :) I really appreciate everyone's comments.

  6. You know, I don't even mind the one star, I know that book isn't for everyone. I experimented with a lot of things, the description, the opening, the topic and the historical event… it's not as palatable as Haunting Miss Trentwood, plain and simple.

    The name calling was much much worse than the one star rating. :)

  7. Sometimes you just cannot win with people who make comments like that. You are writing fiction, granted it is historical and there is some element of fact, but what would the label have been if you had used some of the more colorful language of the time excessively. I personally look forward to reading you book. I dropped over today from the hop and found your site and have signed up to follow. There is always someone who will find something they don't like and will be nasty about it. I have some books that have been absolute favorites over the years and have read some incredibly awful comments and have to wonder are they reading the same book I am. Look past the negative, accept the thoughts you feel are helpful, and be happy with your achievement in being gifted enough to be able to write. Be well.

    1. Thanks for your support, Denise! I do hope you enjoy Catching the Rose, should you read it. People seem to be loving Haunting Miss Trentwood, which makes me feel vindicated at least. I wrote Catching the Rose almost 10 years ago… I've been wondering lately if I should put it to pasture.

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