I am a white woman, middle-aged, upper-middle-class, with an office job that would be boring in the extreme to write (or read) about. Therefore I do not write about people like me.
I write about characters who are inspired by me (to a certain extent: as I've noted previously, all the characters have a chunk of me inside) PLUS other people that I've known or met or seen, PLUS their imagined histories and tastes and relationships.
Because for the past twenty years I have lived in Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities in the world, the people who've inspired my characters are also very diverse. This may be a problem for some readers. It may be attractive to others.
People often expect to see themselves in the characters they are reading about, and the people who enjoy being surprised are outnumbered by the people who don't.
To that I say, oh wellz, but just so you know what you’re getting into, here is a guide to the stars of my modern stories and novels:
Getting Off: an Italian-American Brooklynite (female) and a West L.A. Jewish woman, plus a Mexican-American lounge lizard (male).
All the Bars on Sunset: aforementioned lounge lizard, and a Puerto Rican-black woman.
Chrome: a white woman and a Japanese-American man.
Beat: a Filipino-American man and a Mexican-Chinese-Black man.
The Continental: a Mexican-American woman and an Italian man.
Chai at Midnight: a woman from India and an African-American man.
Speed Date: a Chinese-American man, a Russian-American woman, and a mixed-race Asian American woman.
Set Dressing: a redheaded white woman, and a Turkish-English expatriate (male).
Mating Dance: a white woman and a mixed race black man.
Benchwork: a mixed race black woman and a Native American + Spanish man.
Vintage: a Jewish white man and a Mexican-American woman.
Toward Love: a mixed race black woman and a Mexican-American man.
Green Man Walking: a redheaded white man and a Nigerian-English woman.
Exposure: a Puerto Rican-American man and a Mexican-American man.
A Random Sequence: a Mexican-American woman and a Mexican-American man.
The Whole Truth: a Chinese-American woman and an Italian-American man.
Drawn Out: a Filipina American woman and a Persian-American man.
Stripped: a white woman and a Pacific Islander woman.
Illusion: (coming soon) a white woman and a Japanese-American woman.
When It’s Time: (coming soon) a Filipina American woman and a Japanese-American man.
Shaken & Stirred: (coming soon) a Russian-American woman and an African-American man.
Overboard: two Mexican-American men.
Home Sweet Home: (Not set in The L.A. Stories universe) a woman of unknown parentage of Indian appearance, and a French Canadian white man.
Million Dollar Death: a black Filipina and a Mexican Filipino.
Today, Tomorrow and Forever: a white woman and a Mexican-American man.
Face the Music: a white woman and a white man.
There's also a Ukrainian immigrant with a very important supporting role in The L.A. Stories, along with his Armenian-American husband.
Why do I write about people who are so different from myself? Well, because people who are different from me are interesting. But I have some credibility here, because I married a Filipino American man, and I live in a highly diverse neighborhood, and I have been employed in diverse workplaces for a lot of years.
The people I'm writing about are from different economic backgrounds, but I've had several different economic experiences myself so that's not so hard to imagine. And different professions are fascinating to imagine.
I find people of color much more physically attractive than white people, generally speaking, and so I gravitate to writing about nonwhite people. But I'm aware that writing the experiences of different ethnicities requires a good bit of delicacy: I don't want to commit gaffes.
At the same time, I know that experience within ethnicities is extremely varied. There is no One Black Experience, or One Filipino Experience, or whatever, any more than there is One White Experience.
These are PEOPLE, in short, having the experiences and relationships of people, and doing what people do. I’d like to think there is something for everyone in The L.A. Stories.