Blog Readers, meet Nairobi K. Nairobi, Readers.
Now that we’ve gotten through the cheesy introduction, let’s get into it!
Ranier M: Congratulations on your release of “A Rose in the Desert”! Could you tell our readers what this is about?
Nairobi K: A Desert Rose: Snapshot Memories is my debut contribution to AMBW lit. It’s a compilation of short stories illustrating blasian love in a way that is intimate, sensual, unforced, and honest. There is no particular plot, but it was written with the intent that the reader can step into the role of the characters and really experience the moment as it happens in a series of captured memories that leave their imprint long after the moment has passed.
Ranier M: I love the crafting of Interracial relationships in the snapshots. It doesn’t feel forced and it plays out much like a real-life snapshot: organic and relatable. Were these Interracial pairings intentional or did it just “happen” naturally? Do you think their ethnicities impact the characters themselves?
Nairobi K: This is a really good question! As far as intentional pairings, it definitely was intentional simply because I wrote this specifically for the AMBW community. But the stylistic flow of A Desert Rose was inspired by the uninterrupted, organic flow of life. As the saying goes, “Shit happens” and when it does, you wanna capture the beauty of that moment. I didn’t wanna craft a whole bunch of unbelievable interactions as I’ve seen with many other AMBW books that cater to the fantasy of meeting a famous Asian pop star.
As far as the ethnicities having an impact on the character, I love this question and I will say yes. Yes, because it effects how they appeal to each other in a physical way. Absent of any fetishes, the attraction to the physical features, acknowledging the beauty in the complexion, the hair texture, and facial structure is significant because that’s part of the sensuality, the romance, the gravitational force that pulls two equal and opposite forces together. That is something that can only be highlighted with an obvious difference in ethnicity. And yes, because if you look at it from the perspective of someone who is attracted to some one who is completely opposite of them culturally, linguistically, and of course physically, falling in love with that person opens up entirely new potential to not only get to know that person, but get to know love through something like a culture shock. And that can be a beautiful thing.
“Quite like the yin and yang, I think the unity of Asian men and Black women complement each other in a unique way and that’s what I hope to convey in these snapshot memories.”
Ranier M: Okay, let’s talk about the obvious: there’s a clear theme of intimacy and sex within these stories but it’s done in such a tasteful, non-cliche way. We feel like we’re peering into a peep hole of true romanticism that movies and music seem to forget. How did you come up with this concept? Were you in a particular part of your life that influenced this theme? Or was there a certain someone fueling this fire?
Nairobi K: You know, I’ve read a few interviews of authors and I don’t recall any of the questions being this damn good. I swear I really had to take a whole day to think about this. Hahaha, but that’s also because I’ve been writing since I was in 7th grade and my style has always been on the level of subtle sensuality, so I never actually had to force this style because it just came naturally.
“I like sexy, but I can’t stand it when authors just throw it in your face and leave nothing up to the imagination.”
I write exactly what I would be interested in reading and since I’m very particular about style and expression when it comes to romance, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I got tired of the cliché and predictable formulas of romance. I guess you could compare my writing style to foreplay because that’s where all the romance is. I get the readers all riled up before it actually happens so when it actually does, it’s like “oh God yes.” Ahahaha
Ranier M: There’s a clear lack of romantic interactions between Black Women and Asian Men in movies, music and television. Is it the same in the literary world? Are you influenced by any current artists or writers? If so, who and if not, what does motivate you to write about something no one else is doing?
Nairobi K: Exactly! There is a clear lack of blasian love in movies, music, and television. This is exactly what frustrates me! We all know it’s at the point where we’re gonna have to start kicking faces in to get ourselves represented in the media and literary world. But it’s one thing to get that representation individually; it’s a whole other beast to see us represented together as a power couple. And because AMBW is still so unique despite the growing online community, we can’t say they don’t wanna see it. I think they just don’t know that it exists. I still get looks of surprise when I’m getting all lovey with my fiancé in public. The stereotypes that people have about black women and Asian men just doesn’t seem to be able to fit in a whole new paradigm of love between two individuals who have been placed on the bottom of society’s most desired list (and who gives a damn about that list, I say). So I decided I would contribute to the brave few authors who have made the AMBW genre more accessible.
Before I wrote this, I literally typed into amazon the keyword “ambw” and was excited to find that there was a handful of books on there. I checked out the competition, looked at a few covers to get an idea of what the covers looked like and read the previews on the books. Now this is not to knock any of the hard working authors who cater specifically to the ambw community, but I was shocked at how some of the covers were actually perpetuating stereotypes. And here I thought the whole goal was to make these relationships seem just as normal as the more common black/white interracial relationships. But I found that by both the cover and the short book previews that the characters were still glaringly superficial and at times upholding the stereotypes and fetishes believed about both black women and Asian men individually. So I was very disappointed by much of what I saw, although there were definitely some in there that had great covers and were very good. So you know what I did? I took a short cut! I used my fiancé as the cover model for A Desert Rose.
Sneaky, I know. But I’m also very particular about the imagery because I know very well that covers are what make people actually stop and look. But again, I went for that subtle sexy look with the lights low and the orange glow and….im getting carried away hahahah. But since I had written A Desert Rose before even checking out other books in the genre, once I actually saw what was on the market I realized already that A Desert Rose was taking a unique approach and that really motivated me because I would like to inspire new authors like myself not to be afraid to write an unconventional love story that is natural and relatable.
Ranier M: I truly admire the fact that you don’t fetishize the AMBW relationship and you accurately portray them as normal, sexual and relatable. Do you have any advice for our readers that might be “virgins” to the interracial dating/AMBW world?
Nairobi K: Well I think the approach is quite common sense. Much of the attraction to Asian guys comes from the exposure to their culture and the most popular way is through things like anime, manga, music, and dramas. I’m a fan of all of these, and I may only be twenty one, but dammit I like to consider myself mature and I will not for the life of me try to speak to any and every Asian guy in Japanese or Korean (because those are the main two). In fact, my fiance is often mistaken for Korean or Japanese and he’s neither. The fact that his native languages are both Russian and Kazakh blows people’s mind and turns them in circles. He has had girls melt over him in Japanese and he looks at them like they have no eyebrows. If I hadn’t learned that same lesson early, I’m sure we would not be together. He just doesn’t tolerate such ignorance.
“In fact I have a friend who is totally borderline obsessed with Asian men and literally will not consider any other guy who isn’t Asian. Particularly Korean or Japanese, which is also something that really annoys the hell out of me with AMBW virgins. Sometimes they can see the crazed obsession in the eyes and steer clear (smart guys).”
The main expectation is for every Asian guy that crosses their path to be either Korean or Japanese and that seriously needs to stop. I think that is a huge reason some of these relationships don’t work; because of the stereotypes and expectations. And speaking to the ladies, if the guy is neither Korean nor Japanese and you come at him with that bull, you ruined ALL your chances. And frankly that’s just not the way to approach it. In my humble opinion, love comes first and ethnicity is secondary. You shouldn’t categorize Asian men and cross off men from the countries you wouldn’t date. You close off a lot of potential. When you fall in love, it should be that kind of love that just couldn’t explain itself. When people ask you why you like each other, don’t even mention “because she’s black” or “because he’s Asian”. Love doesn’t need cliché or shallow explanations. Too much of that happens in interracial relationships. Plain and simple, let it happen naturally. Keep it honest and sensual, natural and sexy.
For any readers that have any more questions or just want to contact me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be happy to hear from you! Thanks Ranier for the awesome interview and keep up with the amazing blog. I got you book marked :D
For a copy of “Desert Rose: Snapshot Memories” buy it now on Amazon!