Although words are my bread and butter, I found this incredibly difficult to write. Probably because, like Fi (and Wren, my heroine in progress), I struggle to make myself vulnerable and posting this feels very personal.
So, how beautiful is the cover model I used for Fi? I spent hours trawling through stock photos to find a model I felt was a good fit for her. There is seriously limited diversity in stock imagery, which was a very disappointing discovery for me. I almost rewrote Fi’s appearance until I came across this model at the last second. It was important to me that Fi was a person of colour (as is Arthus) because I felt like I had the opportunity and the responsibility to contribute to diversity in the romance genre. As a person of colour, I rarely read about characters that look like me unless they are in supporting roles. The moments when I came across diversity in the main characters were always such exciting moments. Hooray! People who look like me get love stories too! Because of course we do. Because we’re people worthy of love, appreciative of intimacy, and susceptible to relationship dramas, just like any other person.
It’s important to me to make the worlds in my books reflect the beautiful diversity of the world we live in, and I’m committed to that goal. Hopefully in the future, finding stock imagery to support that goal won’t be such a challenge.
Annnnnnd I’m done. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk!