Novelist Tia Williams talks creating characters of color in chick lit genre

Black chick lit author Tia Williams said classic beach reads inspired her to diversify the genre with black characters.

In a recent Literary Black Women webinar, Tia spoke about how romance novelist trailblazers Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz produced the devourable books she loved and how she wanted to see herself within the pages.

“I’d always recast them as black people in my mind,” Tia said. “I always knew I wanted to write books in that space, but envision us, so we’re not black versions of anything.”

The author of the 2016 best-seller The Perfect Find, Tia said she made the main character in that story, Jenna, a magazine editor interested in cinematography to place a black woman in industries where they’re not as visible.

“I don’t see black women in fashion, in the art world, the film world, or in books,” she said.

During her military upbringing, she said meeting a half-black, half-Korean girl while living in Germany through fifth and ninth grade informed her on what it means to black and female. “I want to show different layers of the black experience,” she said. “There isn’t one singular black experience, and we’re always given tropes.”

Debuting as an author with 2004’s The Accidental Diva, Tia followed up her success with the young adult series It Chicks. The series became an alternative for girls of color interested in the not-as-diverse Gossip Girl series.

While juggling her creative writing career with her full-time gig as a beauty copywriter at Bumble and bumble, Tia said she recently finished her third adult novel. She added that taping for the film adaptation of The Perfect Find film, starring and being produced by Gabrielle Union, should start in the next six months.

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