Today we welcome Ambrielle Kirk to Romance Novels in Color. We’re a stop on her virtual book tour to promote Caedmon Wolves Volume I (Books 1-3).
Multiculturalism and Realism
Thank you so much for hosting my tour on Romance Novels in Color. Since RNIC’s launch, I’ve been excited about the idea of being able to visit a blog with a theme focusing on stories featuring people of different ethnicities.
I’m Ambrielle Kirk, a romance author who’ve written and published more than a dozen books (ranging from short stories to novels) since I became serious about a career in writing in 2009. Before then, I was a ferocious reader who’d dabbled in writing during her youth but only as a hobby. It wasn’t until I finally became acquainted with a group of authors courtesy of the World Wide Web and joined an online critique group that I realized I loved sharing my stories with others.
Even as a reader, I noticed something that bothered me. Most of the novels I came across in local libraries and book stores rarely featured people of color, or if they did, that element was so overshadowed or moderated that you barely noticed. Don’t get me wrong here—I’m not talking about pages filled with copious descriptions about skin color. That’s not what defines a multicultural romance (or even an African-American or interracial romance). When I seek out a multicultural romance, I look for true characterizations and personalities befitting of the character’s background, geographic location, environment, education, and life experiences. I expect a certain amount of realism to be infused into that character. All of the above factors may influence the character’s mannerisms, style of dress, accent, diet and food choices, and life decisions…just to name a few.
To an extent, we often write what we know, but most authors do lots of research when it comes to persons/places in their books. Sometimes the internet may not be the best source of information as we all know sometimes fact and rumor tend to get mingled together. Writing multicultural romance becomes tricky when one may not be from the same background they’re writing in and make the mistake of adding harsh stereotypes and inappropriate and unfitting generalizations about people of a certain ethnicity or culture. I think one of the most difficult jobs of an author is to create character and cultural authenticity in a story. Interactions with people from these backgrounds and life situations we face each day either directly or indirectly may be the best research for diverse stories and characters.
When I decided to begin writing, I knew I wanted to represent multiculturalism in my writing. Not only do I enjoy reading and writing about different cultures, I have a vested interest in making sure that the next generation of readers don’t have to wonder why the number of books available to them featuring diverse cultures are only a fraction compared to what is generally pushed in mainstream publishing.
About the book
Wolf’s Haven, Caedmon Wolves, 1
Tamara would risk her life to gain freedom. She’s finally built up the courage to escape from a world of abuse by the hands of man who promised her the world. One night she makes a break for it, but her plans backfire. She begins to believe that she was never meant to be happy. When all hope of freedom fades, she stumbles across a wolf that brings her to safety. She learns to trust the wolf, but has yet to trust the man.
Devin, potential future leader of the Caedmon Pack, returns to the foothills of his Virginia home after five long years as a lone wolf. Rivals within the circle challenge him and threaten to strip him of his true birthright. Being bound to lead the pack was not something Devin had planned for his life, but letting his people fall prey to turmoil under the rule of his cousin Darius is out of the question. The night of Devin’s rise to Alpha leader is approaching. Despite opposition, he’s gained an impressive following. That is until he brings a human among the pack.
Tamara can’t deny the attraction she feels toward Devin. The Alpha leader-to-be simply cannot resist Tamara’s lure. When they are together, their tribulations take the backburner. Their desire for one another grows as they consummate their passion in wolf’s haven. Will Devin forfeit the most coveted position within the Caedmon Pack to bond with his chosen mate? Can Tamara trust Devin with her mind, heart, body, and soul or will the memories of her abuse dissuade her from being bound to the wolf?
Wolf’s Promise, Caedmon Wolves, 2
Selene is thrust into the aftermath of Caedmon pack rivalry when determination to help a friend leads her to the foothills of the Virginia mountains. She doesn’t anticipate that her generosity would earn her a place behind bars and at the mercy of man who saves her from a sentence worse than death. Soon she discovers that Nick is far from ordinary. Under the façade of his commitment to protect her from evil hides a secret that shatters her faith in him.
Nick knew his life would be forever changed when Devin, the new Caedmon leader, honors him with the title of Second-in-Command. With this responsibility, he’s introduced to a web of pack politics and threats. Darius, the banished wolf who lost the most coveted title within the pack, turns out to be a sore loser, and he demands either complete dominance or total destruction. Someone must stop him before he tears down the unity that has held the pack together for decades.
In the midst of it all, he meets a tempting brazen beauty. Selene is not just any woman, and the wolf inside reminds Nick of this fact every time she’s in his presence. She awakens raging passion within him, and he desires her like no other. Nick’s past misfortunes has taught him many things. For one…never trust a woman with his heart.
True love awaits in the path of danger, but will Selene and Nick let the chaos destroy their bond?
Wolf’s Touch, Caedmon Wolves, 3
Jayson Truman is captivated by his boss’s daughter. He finds himself fantasizing about the many ways he’d like to have his way with Arianna Klein. Despite Mr. Klein’s strong connections to the Caedmon community, he and Jayson have never seen eye to eye on any matter. Lusting after his daughter only adds fuel to the flames. Their long-standing business relationship begins to unravel. Secrets are exposed, and loyalty is tested. Jayson is warned to stay away from Arianna…
Cutting family ties seems like Arianna’s only recourse to regaining control of her life. Yet, steering clear of her father is easier said than done, especially when she holds the key to his business’s success…or failure. And as if her life weren’t dictated enough by men with oversized egos, add Jayson to the equation and his many attempts to lay claim to her. If he thinks she’s going to swoon at his feet like a sex crazed maniac, he’s got another thing coming. But Arianna is not the only one with a key. Jayson may very well be the pawn she needs to get her out of the mess that her father has built.
Jayson will put his life on the line for Arianna, but will he gain her love and acceptance in return?
“Are you in…or are you out?”
Tamara glared at her fiancé. The demanding expression on Brad’s face was the same exact look he gave her when he wanted something. Only this time, no physical force followed. After all, they were surrounded by his partners in crime. He wouldn’t dare lift a hand to strike her around other people. Brad wanted no one to know how much of a coward he was.
Swallowing, she bit the corners of her lips. She’d waited for this opportunity for months. The chance to be free of the conniving bastard and the controlling dangerous life that he’d tricked her to lead.
Her plans were already in place. All she had to do was make one call and her contact would be waiting. She would be free from this life.
“Yes, I’m in.” Her voice came out on a hoarse whisper.
“A ride or die chick.” One of Brad’s friends chuckled. “What does a guy have to do to get one of those nowadays?”
Brad grabbed the duffle bag at his feet and grinned. “It’s an acquired skill.”
If they only knew. Brad Thatcher wasn’t the man he portrayed himself to be. Over the last ten months, he’d turned to heavy drinking each night. Then the verbal abuse turned into something much worse. She had something to show for being so vulnerable. The bruises on her skin. Now, she feared for her life. This situation had gone too far.
Tamara had never envisioned being with a man who seemed to thrive off her pain. He was never going to get better. Her counselor had warned her of this. She’d even ticked off the list of warning signs to watch for in his behavior. Throwing jealous tantrums if she so much as looked at another man. Trying to control her every move and keeping her under lock and key. Verbal insults escalating into gripping her in the fit of rebellious rages. One after the other, the signs became clearer. Brad was an abuser. Of women, drugs, and alcohol. Yet she stayed.
Her heart pounded uncontrollably as she contemplated the consequences. If she failed this escape, there would be hell to pay and she just might lose with her life. The last time she threatened to leave him, he’d freaked out. She still had the marks on her neck to show for it.
“I need to use the bathroom before we leave.” Tamara looked to Brad for his approval.
“Ah man. We don’t have time for this.” Brad’s second sidekick yelled from the driver’s side of the vehicle. “We have to be at the museum during the shift change-over.”
Brad and his crew made their living as thieves. It was fast, easy money. They were bandits who ran from the law and walked on the edge. Her fiancé had hidden his shady side job from her while they dated. He’d painted himself to be the picture perfect husband-to-be, but he was a fake. Her normal boring life had been turned upside down.
It all started when he lost his job for money laundering. She stood by her man back then. Had even persuaded him to pursue other careers, but Brad had alternative motives. Things got out of hand, and soon her husband-to-be turned out to be the fiancé from hell. By the time she caught on, she was in too deep.
“I need to go,” she repeated in a harsher tone. She’d pay for acting out like this later.
“You better hurry.” Brad’s lips formed a taut line. He turned his attention back to his crew. “She’s the only one who can fit through the vent.”
As Tamara walked off to the bathroom in the back of the warehouse, they discussed strategy among themselves. After locking the door behind her, she retrieved a small cell phone from the sleeve of her boot. Her fingers shook as she flipped the lid. Just before punching in the numbers she’d remembered by heart, she exhaled.
Tamara paced the cramped space of the one stall bathroom, praying for Selene to pick up the phone. This was her only hope. Just when she thought her plans would backfire, her counselor answered the phone.
The voice sounded groggy on the other end. At nearly two hours before midnight, she expected this much. She only hoped that Selene could still help her. It had been a while since she’d last spoken with the counselor.
“Selene,” she whispered into the phone. “It’s me. Tamara.”
There was a bunch a ruffling on the other end. “Tamara. I haven’t heard from you in three months. What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Give me your location.”
“About ten miles south of Blue Hills, Virginia. Near an industrial area.”
Outside the door, she heard the van engine start. Brad shouted her name.
“Selene…I don’t have much time,” Tamara whispered into the phone with urgency.
“Wait. Let me get my laptop.” There was some fumbling on the other end. “I think I know where you are. Industry Park. Near the city. Shoot! I’m getting you out of there.” The sound of fingers tapping furious at the keyboard flowed through the phone line. “You are to board the next train out of the Westbed station. A man in a red cap will be waiting with your ticket.”
Each time she’d called Selene, they’d discussed her getaway. She’d chickened out twice before. The promise of a new beginning and identity seemed like the life change she needed, but the consequences if she failed this escape loomed her conscience.
Brad banged on the door. “Get your ass out here. Now.”
Tamara’s heart jumped and her voice lodged in her throat. Brad jiggled the door handle and pushed against it. It rattled on the frames.
She looked up at the small window. There wouldn’t be any escaping from here. Not even a small dog could pass through the bars.
Darting over to the sink, she turned on the faucet. “I’ll be right out. I’m just washing up.”
“Washing up, my ass.” Using the weight of his body, Brad burst into the doors.
Acting quickly, Tamara tossed the cell in the waste basket under the sink.
He reached out and grabbed her by the forearm. “What the fuck are you doing in here?”
She flinched as he tightened his grip, pinching her skin. “I was just washing my hands.”
“You’re taking too long.” He led her out of the bathroom, practically pushing her towards the waiting van. After shoving her inside, he slid the door closed. “Let’s go.” He jumped into the passenger seat.
Tamara took a seat in the back of the van. Her palms stung, and she looked down to find her hands balled in a tight fist. Violence wasn’t the answer. She wouldn’t dare stoop to that level. So many times she’d wanted to hurt Brad. She hated him—despised him for making her afraid to fight back.
She bent down and touched the hilt of the pocket knife hidden in her other boot just to make sure it was still there. The cell phone was gone. Now she only had the knife to protect herself. Last time, she threatened to use a weapon on him, he’d laughed in her face. Said that she wouldn’t dare kill him. He thought this was a game. She’d come to the realization that Brad loved to taunt her. It turned him on to see her in pain. But how far would he go? How far would he go until she ended up dead in a landfill?
The smoke from Brad’s cigarette wafted to the back of van when he opened the window to flick the ashes away. In the other hand, he had a bottle of vodka. As he took a swig of the poison that fueled his rage, a sense of hopelessness consumed her and she squeezed her eyes shut. She was tired of his perilous ways. Tired of feeling like a prison in a dreadful place.
No matter what he’d done to her, it pained her to see him throw his life away in exchange for quick money, drugs, and alcohol. She had to get out of this relationship. She wanted to get out now.
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prizes: signed print copy of Caedmon Wolves & book swag to one grand prize winner- open to US Shipping; 3 ebook copies of Caedmon Wolves
How to enter: Rafflecopter below
Deadline to enter: Refer to the Rafflecopter
Where to find Ambrielle online:
Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/ambrielle.kirk.9
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmbrielleKirk
About the author:
Multi-published author Ambrielle Kirk writes erotic, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Ambrielle lives in Atlanta, GA where she works in the accounting and finance industry. She holds a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Since graduation she’s worked in the public and private accounting sectors. She is the wife of a loving husband, and the mother of a beautiful girl. She works and writes full-time. A bestselling author in several sub-genres at ARe and Amazon, she has also earned a 2012 Swirl Award in the paranormal category. She’s a member of RWA, FF&P special interest chapter of RWA, and co-founder and treasurer of Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural special interest chapter of RWA. Ambrielle Kirk is also an admin at the blog, IRMC Books.