Can writers in the dominant culture be confident that they are speaking authentically, meaningfully, and vitally about this real America? In September at Bouchercon, Sisters in Crime held a workshop addressing the challenge of diversity. Panelists Frankie Y. Bailey, Cindy Brown, Greg Herren, and Linda Rodriguez join us at Writer Unboxed today to share some of the highlights and major takeaways, including, LGBTQ characters, disability in plotting, diverse settings and the extraordinary challenge of dialogue.
Frankie Y. Bailey is a criminal justice professor at the University at Albany (SUNY). A native Virginian, she writes a series featuring Southern crime historian Lizzie Stuart. Having spent much of her life in upstate New York, she also writes near-future police procedural novels featuring police detective Hannah McCabe–most recently What the Fly Saw. Her non-fiction focuses on crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. Frankie is a past president of SinC and a past EVP of MWA. Connect with Frankie on Twitter and Facebook and on her blog.
A former theater professional, Cindy Brown was the first director of ARTability, a national-award-winning organization that provides access to the arts for people with disabilities. She’s worked as an ADA consultant, written about accessibility for the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and received the Mayor’s Award from the City of Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues in 2004. Cindy became a full-time writer in 2007 and is now the author of the Agatha-Award-nominated Ivy Meadows series, most recently Oliver Twisted, a madcap mysteries set in the off, off, OFF Broadway world of theater. Connect with Cindy on Twitter and Facebook.
Greg Herren is an award winning author and editor from New Orleans. He has written over thirty novels under his own name and various pseudonyms, edited twenty anthologies, and has published over fifty short stories. His most recent novel, Garden District Gothic, is the seventh Scotty Bradley mystery, He also edited this year’s Bouchercon anthology, Blood on the Bayou. Greg says, “As an out gay man who has been writing about gay and lesbian characters for over fifteen years, I would love to see more LGBT characters in mainstream works by mainstream writers.” Connect with Greg on Twitter, Facebook, and on his blog.
Linda Rodriguez’s book, Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, forthcoming this month, is based on her popular workshop. Her fourth mystery featuring Cherokee campus police chief, Skeet Bannion, Every Family Doubt, will be published in June 2017. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, and Every Last Secret—and her books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart’s Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film. Connect with Linda on Facebook, on Twitter, and on her blog.
Doing Diversity Right
But can writers in the dominant culture be confident that they are speaking authentically about this real America? At Bouchercon in September, the SinC into Great Writing workshop addressed the challenges. Frankie Y. Bailey, Cindy Brown, Greg Herren, and Linda Rodriguez share highlights from their sessions here. [Read more…]