In my neverending quest to understand the swirling amalgamation of motivation and artistic frenzy living in the mind of the writer, I launched the Author of the Month Club. Each month, I'll take you, my readers and fans, on a guided journey into the lives of one of my author friends. Like most journeys, I'll never be sure what paths we'll take, what the atmosphere will be like, or where we'll end up. Our adventure depends solely on the featured author.
This month, Kim Golden was gracious enough to let me pry into her mind.
Kim Golden was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1995, she left the US and moved to Sweden for love with a capital L with her gorgeous Swede. She writes stories for people who know that love comes in every color.
When she isn't writing fiction, she writes copy about perfume and lipstick for a Swedish cosmetics firm. Or -since she loves to travel- you might find her enjoying good food, wine and company in places like Italy, Spain or her favorite hideaways in Copenhagen and southern Sweden.
As an Interracial Romance author, Kim is a champion of fair representation in literature. She writes novels that take the often misrepresented and stereotyped Woman of Color and turn her into the desired, the vulnerable, and the sexy--the romantic heroine. I've read Kim's books, and her elegant, descriptive writing style won me over from the start. Once I fell in love with Kim's careful treatment of the characters, giving them realistic and relatable pitfalls and attributes, I became a fan for life.
My questions are italicised, and Kim's responses are not. Enjoy the interview.
Why do you write?
I can’t imagine my life without writing. I’ve always loved writing. When I don’t write, I feel empty.
What genre does most of your work fall under?
IR women’s fiction/romance.
Why did you choose the IR genre?
I wanted to write stories that showed that IR relationships were not some fad or weird something to be fetishized. I wanted to show that they were like any other relationship—with the same highs and lows, but with the added weight of society’s preconceived notions to deal with.
What are some of the drawbacks of this genre?
Some readers think that only one sort of coupling constitutes an IR relationship. There are a lot of “unwritten” rules and, if you break them they give you hell about it. But I will continue writing the sort of stories that speak to me.
What are some of the benefits?
I think many IR readers are open-minded and are looking for all sorts of IR love stories. And not everyone expects you to follow the rules. ;)
How does your work contribute to the genre?
I think I give the genre a different type of heroine—mine are more introspective, they’re not always as confident as they seem, they make a lot of mistakes. Also, I don't write about billionaires leading fancy lifestyles. I write about normal, everyday people who screw up, who smoke too much, probably drink too much…
I try to give it a sense of realism and avoid fetishising interracial relationships. I really hate when I read IR novels that propagate the “jungle fever” stereotype and that’s what I want to avoid in my own writing.
If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
So many….:) Xio Axelrod (we actually have something we co-wrote, we just need to decide when we’ll release it); Abigail Bosanko, Nia Forrester, Tia Kelly, Nina Perez…I could keep going. :) So many great writers whose writing has spoken to me.
How does your writing relate to the world around us? Do you engage with social justice issues, or do you avoid them?
Since I write about cross cultural relationships, I touch on the tensions that exist, the preconceived notions, etc. I don’t like shying away from racism in literature. I want my readers to see things from a different perspective. I want them to see that this love story is affected by the tensions in the world, it doesn’t exist in a perfect little world.
If so, which issues and why?
I’ve written about postpartum depression, infidelity, race relations, culture clashes… Nearly all of these topics are things that, as a black woman living in Scandinavia, I've had to deal with in some way or another. I don't want to write about some idyllic, unrealistic world. I want to write about the word we actually live in.
What does your typical audience look like?
When I first started publishing, I was surprised that, at that point, most of my readers were white women living in the US. Now, I have more African American women as readers. The thing that unites my readers is that they want realistic love stories in different settings, they like the sexy Scandinavian men I often write about, and that’s what I try to give them.
Why do you target those readers?
I was trying more to target readers like me: who like realistic love stories, who like to travel, who like stories about people finding love unexpectedly. I figured I should try to target someone who likes the same things I like.
Do you still write for fun?
Not as much as I used to. I find myself reading more now for fun. But every now and then I sit down and do a bit of free writing just to see where my mind will take me. It’s often how I get my ideas for new stories.
How do you respond to criticism?
I read some of it. If it’s constructive, I try to improve on my weak points. If it’s not constructive, I try to ignore it. I know I can’t write to please everyone.
How has your writing grown since your career began?
I learned how to write in a way that suits me. I am not the fastest writer. It takes me a while to get a story down on paper and feel comfortable with it—which I know some readers find frustrating. But I don’t want to write books that feel like throwaways or like fluff you can forget about as soon as soon you finish reading them.
Which quote best sums up your writing style?
Someone once said that my writing was sensorial and that whenever they read what I wrote, it played like a movie in their mind. And this made me happy, because that's exactly what I am trying to do when I write—capture everything like a scene in a movie.
And on that note, we come to the end of this particular path in our adventure. If you'd like to learn more about Kim this month, be sure to follow my facebook fan page and join the June 26th author event where you'll have the opportunity to chat with the author herself.