I participated in a panel on Writer’s Block at DragonCon this past weekend. I had asked to participate and the kind director said, “Sure.” So, there I was, surrounded by established, successful authors, feeling utterly stupid, and what happened? I wound up moderating because the moderator didn’t show up. Because of my day-time career, I can moderate a panel with my eyes closed. It went well, and several people thanked me for jumping in. Good for me.
But that wasn’t why I was there.
I mentioned that I have a book in which the father figure is dark-skinned, the mother is Native, and the daughter is a pale blond. Now, I’m about as white as white can be and it is reasonable to ask whether I should or could write minority characters, but that’s not the conversation for today.
My entry point is a family in which the members don’t look like each other. We have an adopted daughter, born in China, and I just recently learned that my girls have been challenged multiple times about their sisterhood.
“You can’t be sisters. You don’t look alike.”
“You can’t be Jewish. You’re Chinese.”
“Is that really your mom?”
I told the young woman to write her book the way she wanted to, and when she told me it was YA, I strongly encouraged her to continue. YA is seeking authors with different life experiences and diversity. She would be welcomed in that genre.
And that’s when I knew why I was there.