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Why I Chose Urban Romance as a Genre

By Kenesha Collins

Hello World! I would like to thank everyone that has liked my posts and/or started following me. I hope you’re enjoying my content! For those who may not know, in the fall of 2019, I was about 30-35,000 words into a thriller novel. I’ve always loved the crime/murder mystery genre whether it’s books or film. During the writing process, I had a lot of time to think. It’s also intense to write a “who done it,” novel. There is a lot to unpack in these kinds of stories. The thriller I was writing was about a murder that happened two decades prior. I was on track to finish it this year, when something happened in December. 

I started getting visions of this man. In my mind, he was a handsome and successful African American man who was married and loved his wife deeply. I took notes on what life might be like for him trying to balance family and career. I thought about the pressure he may be under trying to maintain his career while being present for his family. I thought about the possible outside influences to stay faithful. I did research on the negative perception of the traditional African American family in today’s society. The misconception is there is a very small percentage of black families. I also wanted to tackle the stereotype that African American men prefer to date and marry outside of their race. 

I continued to write, and more characters developed from this one main character. I played around with the other characters’ personalities. There was a seemingly perfect black male character, so I decided to create his polar opposite. I created a male character whose relationships were in shambles, and couldn’t stay faithful to save his life. The stories kept over the last 6 months, and an urban romance novel took on a life of its own. 

I refer to the genre I’m writing as urban romance or urban fiction, mainly because that’s how readers would characterize it as. The characters are primarily African American, there is so much more to the stories that just race. The book is a realistic account of marital relationships in the culture. For years, I’ve seen films and read books that are more sensationalized, and do not explore the real life and conflicts of an African American couple. Outlandish drama in the African American community does draw attention that creates more viewership and sales, but I’m coming from a different angle. I wanted to tell the truth about my community, and making money is not my main goal. I would like this book to be successful, but mainly I want to do community justice. 

Writing a book that is not sensationalized and overdramatized, but still engaging wasn't easy. How do you write about true events, and ensure the stories don't fall flat? Also, how do you make the story stand out considering there are so many other books in the same genre? 

I considered the following things when I began to write: 

The urban romance genre is highly competitive 

When I was doing research on the genre, I found there are several heart-stopping, eye catching titles. There are hundreds of  urban romance books with sexier covers, themes, and stories. This could either be a good or bad thing. The good thing about my book is that it was written for a wide range of readers. The age range could stem from 27 all of the way up to the age of retirement and beyond. Also, the subject matter will stand out because the conflicts and problems are as real as I could get them. My readers may see their own lives reincarnated in the book which make the stories more relatable.  

The love scenes are juicy, but not explicit

Refraining from overly explicit sex scenes was a tip I received after a well know editor did a sample edit of my work. I wanted the love scenes and dialogue to be true to life, but I toned it down, and eased the reader into it. I wanted the sex scenes to be a part of the book, as a normal part of relationships, but not the focal point. Centering the book around sex is more along the lines of erotica. There is nothing wrong with erotica at all, but my book is more about relationships and the family dynamic. 

The drama is real, but not stale 

You may be thinking: If there’s no drama or twists, the story must be stale. The story is not stale, and there are a lot of plot twists. The lives of each character unfold in a way you would least expect. Also, the ending takes a turn you would’ve never seen coming. Real life can be just as gripping as the dramatic scenes we normally see in film. 

The target for the book’s release is November 20th, 2020, but I will know more in the coming months. The pandemic is unpredictable, and has changed a lot of plans for everyone. I hope to stay on track with the release. I’ve been quiet about the plot and characters, but don’t worry, I will reveal more soon.  

Please be sure to check out my awesome blog trailer for this blog post on my Instagram @authorkeneshacollins! You’re going to love it!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, staying safe, and accomplishing your goals. 

Copyright © 2020 by Kenesha Collins

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