Twitter Recommends: Latin@ and Hispanic Romance

Recently in the comments here, lawless and I discussed the fact that I don’t see a lot of Twitter recommendations for romances written by authors, or featuring characters, who are Latin@ (as opposed to African American, Asian or South Asian, although that’s still a small number of the books/authors I see discussed, and usually the same ones over and over–not that they aren’t good recommendations, but still). I knew they must be out there, but my Twitter circle wasn’t talking about them much. She suggested putting out a call for recommendations, and here it is:

(Aside: this comic by Terry Blas offers a shorthand explanation of the difference between the terms Latin@–itself a shorthand to include both Latino and Latina–and Hispanic. However, the distinction is not always as simple as he suggests, as German Lopez explains.

In summarizing the responses to lawless’ request below, I haven’t distinguished between the two terms or between authors who are Latina and/or Hispanic and those who are not, because not all recommenders did so, and assumptions based on names can be wrong. Generally, authors weren’t recommending themselves, so I don’t know what self-description they prefer. I’d be happy to get clarifications in the comments, as well as additional recommendations).

The recommendations are in the order they rolled in, with titles or subgenres where they were provided:

Thanks to everyone who responded!

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12 Responses to Twitter Recommends: Latin@ and Hispanic Romance

  1. rosario001 says:

    Ok, so a distinction first: that comic and the article are really useful, but I think what’s missing is that the whole latin@/hispanic thing is a US concept: it mainly refers to people in the US with a particular ancestry. I was born and raised in Uruguay and never lived in the US, and those are not labels I (or the people I grew up with) would identify with. If I had to describe myself with a term wider than simply “Uruguayan”, I would probably say “Sudamericana” (South American). That said, Latin America is a large and diverse place, and it’s very possible this might be different in other countries, particularly those that are closer to the US geographically and culturally.

    Which brings me to the book suggestions part of my comment: are you also interested in Latin American and Spanish authors outside of the US? There’s a large number of them out there. See this site, for instance. The link points to their “Best of 2014 page”: http://www.rnovelaromantica.com/index.php/autores/lo-mejor-de-2014 You’ll recognise only some of the names. The problem is I don’t think most have been translated to English. The one author I know has been translated is an Argentinian author called Florencia Bonelli, who’s got books that range from historicals set in 19th century Argentina, to YA romance, to what reads like a sort of Harlequin Presents. I am not recommending her, exactly, since the book of hers I tried to read was really, REALLY not to my taste, but you might find it interesting.

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      Thanks, Rosario! I should have made clearer that these are (largely, at least) US terms.

      I don’t read Spanish, but others who see this might, so thank you for that link. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, in terms of diversifying my romance reading, is that genre romance is really strongly based in UK/North America/Australia (and New Zealand): i.e. Britain and its “white” former colonies. Other genres seem far more international, or to be internationalizing more quickly–I’m aware of a number of Asian SFF writers publishing in English but living outside the US/UK (some in Europe, some in Asia).

      Maybe that’s because crime and SFF have more flexible genre boundaries in some ways. *Romantic* storylines are a big part of popular culture in many countries, but they may not fit the RWA genre-romance definition of romance (especially in terms of a happy ending). It’s a tricky thing. I like the happy ending, and it’s one reason I turn to romance, but I think it makes it harder to include books/authors from outside the places named above. That also means that the terms in which we discuss diverse romance tend to be very US-centric, also somewhat limiting and problematic.

      I did just read and enjoy one of the Mills and Boon books from India, but there are only a handful of those.

      • rosario001 says:

        Agreed. That’s exactly what I’d like more of: more of what I would consider genre romance written by people from and living outside English-speaking countries, set in those places and with both protagonists from there (I’ve had it up to here with “innocent American/Brit falls in love with domineering foreigner” plots).

        There are some out there, in addition to the India Mills and Boons. Those Spanish authors in the link above seem to be writing exactly that, and I recently read a book from a Nigerian press that is doing genre romance set in Africa with African authors and protagonists (it’s called Ankara Press). But I wish there were more. I’ve heard there are a lot of Harlequin authors (especially in the Harlequin Presents line) who are from all over the world. I remember being in touch with one a few years ago who was from Egypt. It’d be great if they would start writing those kinds of stories.

  2. KeiraSoleore says:

    Ana Coqui, too, suggested that Latin@ / Hispanic are US terms for people from those countries. All people from Spanish-speaking countries, except Brazil, are referred by the term Hispanic. All people from Latin American countries are referred by the term Latin@. However, one or the other group finds one or the other term derogatory, so it’s very tricky to decide which term to use for whom.

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      Yes, it’s complicated and I’m no expert; obviously the best thing is to use the term a person prefers to describe their own identity, and since I didn’t know in most of these cases, I avoided it.

      The German Lopez piece I links has a chart of results from a Pew research study that I found really interesting. I thought Latin@ was the “correct” term now, but more people in their survey preferred Hispanic, especially in Texas, or had no preference (that might be partly a generational shift, with more older people using Hispanic). Anyway, it taught me not to make assumptions about what term is “right”!

      • Sunita says:

        I followed that conversation on Twitter and found it really interesting. My own experience in teaching US racial and ethnic politics, as well as conversations with colleagues and friends who are Latin@, is that very few prefer the term Hispanic, perhaps because it is an anglicized, US-government-associated term. And of course I’m talking to a lot of social scientists, who are more likely to be studying and sometimes engaging activism and social change. That may make a difference as well.

        It’s also the case that there are regional differences, because the ethnic composition varies depending on where you are, and of course not everyone who falls under the Latin@/Hispanic umbrella is a recent immigrant (or an immigrant at all).

        The site Rosario linked to made me so sorry I don’t read Spanish. Some of the historical novels look really good.

        • Liz Mc2 says:

          It was really interesting to see all the translations of American romance there along with Spanish-language books. Plenty of familiar names. I know the US is much worse than other places as a market for fiction in translation. But in the last decade or so we’ve seen a ton of translated mysteries, and it looks like SFF might be starting to follow suit. There was a fair bit of buzz post-RWA about the Swedish romance coming out in North America (in the fall?). I’d love to see more translated romance. But it’s such a glutted market already.

  3. jmcbks says:

    Thank you for the link re: Latin@ and Hispanic. Years ago in college, we spent parts of a semester debating the definitions/differences between the two terms in a class on the history of South America, post-Columbus.

    Tangentially, after Trump blasted Mexican immigrants, there was a local brouhaha about Jose Andres, a celebrity chef from Spain; public pressure said he as Latino should not be doing business with a man who denigrated Latin@s. At the time, I wondered to my sister — is Andres Latino? I would not have classified him as such, but obviously others (including the Washington Post) did. (He has backed out of his restaurant deal with Trump and is being sued for breach.)

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      That’s an interesting tangent. I wouldn’t call him Latino, and I wonder if he’d think of himself that way. But maybe he felt solidarity with other Spanish-speaking immigrants, whatever their chosen labels or origins.

  4. cleo says:

    To the list of recommendations, I can add The Superheroes Union: Dynama by Ruth Diaz – an f/f paranormal about a Latina superhero / single mother battling her (literally) evil ex. it was a little light on the romance for my taste but it was fun.

    His Road Home by Anna Richland has a Mexican-American hero and Korean-American heroine.

    I think I’ve read at least one Alisha Rai with a Latino hero but I’m not remembering any details.

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      Oh, I really enjoyed Dynama too! I forgot about that. Diaz hasn’t updated her blog in two years. I always worry about writers who go silent. I hope we get another story from her one day.

      I think you might be right about Rai–I know she writes characters with a variety of backgrounds. And the Richland was on my radar even before it won a RITA. Thanks!

  5. Janine Ballard says:

    If we’re including Latino / Hispanic characters written by authors who may not share those characters’ backgrounds, I’ll throw in Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. It’s a paranormal YA and the heroine / narrator’s love interest is Mexican-American, if memory serves. The heroine is biracial. The author, Dia Reeves is African-American. I loved the book for its intrepid heroine and creative worldbuilding.

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