Interracial romance writer gains fans

Nelson makes race a ‘secondary concern’

Suburban mom Latrivia S. Nelson spends time in a fictional place where the Russian Mafia has a Memphis branch.

Nelson’s world has given her a growing fan base as a romance novel writer. She says she has sold more than 7,000 copies of her latest book, “Dmitry’s Closet,” released in early 2010.

Nelson’s novels are books of interracial suspense and romance, involving black women and white men. They’re books she wrote when she couldn’t find interracial romance novels that made race a secondary concern.

“All the interracial romance novels were so based on race,” she said. “Once they got past that one (character) was black and the other was white, it was over.”

While a student at LeMoyne-Owen College, Nelson wrote stories for her friends.

After a short, unsuccessful marriage to her college sweetheart, Nelson met her husband, Adam Nelson, a retired U.S. Marine. The Cordova couple have two children, Jordan, 7, from her first marriage, and Tierra, 4.

The Nelsons married in 2005, and he encouraged her to write. Her first novel, the self-published “Ivy’s Twisted Vine,” came out in 2008.

Other books followed and while he was in Iraq, Adam Nelson’s fellow Marines were curious.

“They said, ‘Is this really about you and her?’ I said, ‘No, it’s not. We don’t have any Russian Mafia friends,'” he said laughing.

Nelson said she tried and failed to find an agent for her first novel. “It just wasn’t happening for me,” she said.

So she started RiverHouse Publishing, defined on its website as a place for “male and female, Caucasian and African-American, affluent and starving writers.”

“Our diversity allows us to explore new frontiers in writing and focus on cutting-edge situational relationships that speak to the inner desires of many fiction readers,” the RiverHouse description says.

“I wanted to be able to give people a voice to be able to get what they feel is important to them out there,” she said.

La-Tessa Montgomery, vice president of the River City Romance Writers Association, knows Nelson’s frustrations.

A publisher Montgomery met with liked the storyline in her interracial romance novel, but passed on the book because she didn’t know how to sell it.

“Meaning she didn’t know how to sell a book by an African-American or with African-American characters,” Montgomery said. “And to further segment that, she didn’t know how to sell a book with an African-American heroine and a Caucasian (male) lead.”

Interracial contemporary romance is a sub-genre in the romance novel world, and big publishers shy away from sub-genres, said Debra Dixon, head of publisher Belle Books, dedicated to “Southern Fried Fiction,” and a co-founder of River City Romance Writers.

Publishers look for broad markets, limiting the opportunities for the “cowboy interracial Christmas time-travel romance,” she joked. But those books still will have fans.

“We have companies that publish black romance, Latino romance, Asian romance,” said Dixon. “So there’s something out there for everybody. You need to find a publisher who can sell that.”

— Linda A. Moore: 529-2702

© 2010 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Latrivia Nelson Talks about Senator Obama & the Loss of His Grandmother

Sen. Obama speaking about the loss of his grandmother.

Sen. Obama speaking about the loss of his grandmother.

I felt an enormous since of hope and pride with the announcement of Senator Barack Obama as our Democratic Presidential Candidate, which I have never felt before in my entire life.  As a young woman, I have longed for a national leader whom I could embrace fully and who could create the change in the public that we need as it relates to African-Americans in leadership positions.  I also longed for a better platform and view of multi-racial children and interracial marriage.  Barack has created that international dialogue that America has been waiting for and motivated us to strive for more of ourselves.   In regards to his loss, many of us love him deeply and it is truly painful to watch him lose the matriarch of his family.   He has said that she was his motivation and his maverick for change, and we all owe her a great debt of gratitude for being so instrumental in raising such a prolific and visionary young man whom we all love to call Barack Obama.

Sincerely,

Latrivia S. Nelson, average citizen