What Kind of Response Have You Gotten from the African American Community about Deadline and Dominion?
It’s been a wonderful response from African Americans. I've found some are surprised to find out I'm actually white. One man wrote to me just to confirm that I was black, because he’d placed a bet on it! Then he wrote me back an hour later, before I’d been able to respond and said “Never mind, I checked on your website and saw your picture. You cost me fifty bucks!”
One of my big racial lessons came when I faced a problem I hadn’t expected. I was running the manuscript by a number of African Americans in different parts of the country, and I found that they gave contradictory advice about black dialogue. Some would say “A black person wouldn’t say that,” but it had been a black person who I’d heard say it, or who suggested I have a black character say it. Duh, I finally realized. My stereotype had been to assume all blacks think alike, or agree on what sounds authentic. In fact, there is no more a black American way of speaking than a white American one, and what seems authentic to one person seems way off to another. It depends largely on where you have lived and the distinctives of your own family. While my input from a variety of African Americans certainly resulted in a much more authentic book that has rung true to many, it was a reminder that one of the greatest racial stereotypes is to imagine that people of the same skin color, even when they live in the same country, will normally think the same way.