There’s a unique aspect of my novels that I tend to forget until someone highlights it in a review—the characters are racially diverse. It wasn’t always so. My first novel, Heavenly Places, featured six women in a Bible study, and all of them were black. I didn’t give it a single thought. I was planning to submit the manuscript to Walk Worthy Press, which had been formed to give a home to African-American Christian fiction. And I’d rarely seen authors on either side cross the color divide in Christian fiction. My characters would be black. End of story.
But then I was signed to Thomas Nelson Fiction. They wanted to publish the manuscript that would become Faithful, but they wondered if I’d be willing to diversify the characters. (Yep, once again, they were all black.) My flesh had a question—Are they asking all the authors to diversify their characters? But God spoke to my spirit. This was His doing. He had already transformed my heart and mind to be “More Christian than African-American.” He had given me a heart to minister to all, regardless of color.
And writing about diverse characters with rich friendships wasn’t foreign to me. I wouldn’t have to wonder how that looked. That’s how I live. So why would my novels not reflect that? Doesn’t God’s kingdom reflect that?
I love that that’s now my “brand.” I love that people are pleasantly surprised that that’s the community they find. And today, it hit me—that’s this blog community as well! I love that we have a diverse group of people regularly stopping by and offering encouragement to one another. I can only imagine how much God delights in His people dwelling together as one, as He intended. It’ll be that way for eternity. We might as well start now, even in fiction. :)
Are your friendships diverse when it comes to skin color? Are you willing to grow in that area? Have you prayed about it?