Ethnic and Gender Minorities in Fiction – Guest Post by Mike Crowson

Have you ever read a novel that leaves you asking yourself, I wonder why the author used this particular approach? If you have, you know exactly how I felt after reading six of Mike Crowson’s occult and detective novels. I didn’t say anything at first, but I must be me, so I emailed the author and said: “I just finished reading Witchmoor Edge and liked it. It has been my favorite of your books up to now (I have a feeling I’ll really like Sealed Entrance). I have a question for you: Is there a lot of discrimination (gender and race) in the British Police? I couldn’t help, but noticed the motif.” 

I am extremely happy to tell you, my luvs, that Mike Crowson didn’t only answer my question, but decided to share it with all of you via a guest post and a giveaway.

Here are Mike Crowson’s words on ethic and gender minorities in his fiction.

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So why does an elderly, white, middle class Brit with a 50th wedding anniversary this year choose to write novels about a mixed race female detective, an elderly (and very psychic) black South African, originally a refugee from apartheid, and a detective in a lesbian relationship? (not to mention a first novel featuring an archaeologist of Afro-Caribbean extraction) And anyway, aren’t my ethnic minority characters rather ‘white’ and middle class themselves, regardless of ethnicity?

To answer the first question first, I used to direct on the London (UK) ‘Fringe’ Theatre. Let me explain: actors, directors and all theatre staff including playwrights spend a lot of time out of work. The ‘fringe’ lets them work for a share of profit not wages, in a small venue. If the play moves to a big theatre and makes money, so do they. If it doesn’t they aren’t any worse off. Years ago I was directing a play which called for two Afro women and one Indian Asian woman in minor parts—and I had a queue a mile long of very talented women. I couldn’t understand it and when I asked they told me—as you can probably guess—there were few good parts for women and fewer for black women, and these were mainly caricature roles anyway.

When I had a brain tumour and took to writing instead of directing I consciously decided I would try to create rounded characters and decent roles with a little ‘positive discrimination’: I kept that resolution when I slipped into writing novels.

To answer the second part of the question, I faced a dilemma. I wanted them to be seen as leaders in society (and a Black president of the USA has helped!) This meant, since ours is a Western society, making them fit what a leader would be like, rather than ethnic minority stereotype.

Detective Inspector Lucy Turner caught me by surprise. I didn’t know she was a lesbian until she was interviewing two lesbians—witnesses to a crime who might have been potential suspects. Once she had ‘outed’ herself it seemed natural to let it go on, being as unimportant as one’s sexual orientation really is.

I have tried all my life to be fair and moderate: I like the Ancient Egyptian concept of “Ma’at”—that fairness and justice are synonymous, so here I am, White, Anglo-Saxon, in my 70s, approaching 50 years married, but with many of my novels featuring psychic Afro man and mixed race women and a lesbian (amongst others, of course) … but, though I try never to preach, I really do want to leave the world fairer and more just.


And now to the giveaway… we’ll have 3 winners! The 1st place will receive:
  
 

The 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive an ebook copy of Sealed Entrance!

Answer this question to enter the giveaway:
- What could a fiction writer do to “leave the world fairer and more just”?

For extra entries (worth 1 entry each):
- Blog about this post (leave a link)
- Tweet about this post (leave a link)
- Visit Mike Crowson’s website and tell me about your favorite title.
- Be a Wicked Darling (follow Pagan Culture)
- Follow Pagan Culture on Twitter
- Snatch a Pagan Culture Button
- Follow Pagan Culture via email
* Please leave separate comments.

This giveaway ends July 3rd at 5:13pm. The winner will be chosen on the 4th of July.


Want the fun to start before the Fourth of July? Go to Smashwords and buy something, my luvs!

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32 comments:

  1. Good Morning! I love the way Mike things and his outlook on the way of the world...how he tries to bring fairness and justice to the world thru his writing. To answer your question...i don't think just one author is able to bring about fair and just, but it would start with one. :)

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  2. I'm a wicked darling :)

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  3. If you're interested in more approaching to the topic of discrimination etc. in GB, I recommend reading "White teeth" by Zadie Smith. It's not paranormal, but really funny, and it gets you to think. ^^

    (I haven't seen a single place on earth without discrimination or full-blown racism. Still not giving up hope. Although today I heard a "Prof. Dr. Dr" talking about "female patients" as opposed to "normal patients". And don't get me started on the women's soccer world cup and the reactions in the media...)

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  4. Big Hug to Mike for actually doing something about the problem of good characters for people of color on stage and in fiction.
    I think if fiction writers would include more well rounded characters of different races in their novels. It would help change negative perceptions that still persist today. Everything little bit helps.

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  5. Magaly - you have done it again and with such flare. Thank you so much for introducing this awesome author to us. I like his way of thinking and his smooth style of expressing it. Kudos to you, my sweet!

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  6. I am a wicked darling witch.

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  7. I visited Mike Crowson's site and I most like Sealed Entrance. It sounds very intriguing.

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  8. What could a fiction writer do to “leave the world fairer and more just”? -- Portray minorities as people first, minorities second. Yes it's important to be aware of and pay attention to minorities, but it's also important to remember that we're all humans, no matter what we are. :)

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  9. tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/SkyeSong777/status/86222352265916418

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  10. I follow you on twitter.

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  11. I've got your button on my blog button page.

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  12. I think any writer who writes about the true injustices in the world, in a way that people can't ignore them anymore...that writer has made the world better.

    Plus I wanna win. ;) I really liked his answer on why he writes the characters he does.

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  13. I've got a pagan culture button on my blog.

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  14. I've got the Pagan Fiction in 113 words or less button.

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  15. Sealed Entrance caught my eye, but I don't see anything about purchasing it. I think I'll check out Parallel Loop soon.

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  16. I have not read Mike's books and am looking forward to doing so...

    ..and to answer your question, a fiction writer can write about heros and good conquering bad in order to “leave the world fairer and more just”...

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  17. I'm extremely happy (I think I've said that a couple of times today) that you've enjoyed Mike's words; they left me thinking about my own writing. I just got an offer to do something 'scholarly' and, um 'restricted', I said no; I need my characters to say what they mean and feel without others telling them they need to go that way or this way, unless they are misspelling everything, then someone better edit them into submission ;-)

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  18. I have not read Mike's books and am looking forward to doing so...

    ..and to answer your question, a fiction writer can write about heros and good conquering bad in order to “leave the world fairer and more just”...

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  19. Sealed Entrance caught my eye, but I don't see anything about purchasing it. I think I'll check out Parallel Loop soon.

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  20. I think any writer who writes about the true injustices in the world, in a way that people can't ignore them anymore...that writer has made the world better.

    Plus I wanna win. ;) I really liked his answer on why he writes the characters he does.

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  21. I've got your button on my blog button page.

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  22. I follow you on twitter.

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  23. What could a fiction writer do to “leave the world fairer and more just”? -- Portray minorities as people first, minorities second. Yes it's important to be aware of and pay attention to minorities, but it's also important to remember that we're all humans, no matter what we are. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good Morning! I love the way Mike things and his outlook on the way of the world...how he tries to bring fairness and justice to the world thru his writing. To answer your question...i don't think just one author is able to bring about fair and just, but it would start with one. :)

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  25. Hey there! Great post.
    I'm starting a project called the Next Frontier, to promote minorities in sci fi and fantasy. I would love it if you would want to do some sort of guest post or just simply promote the project.
    Thank you so much for your time.

    -Rachel
    the-next-frontier.tumblr.com

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like a lovely project. I don't have much time right now, so I wish you great luck.

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