Monday, February 4, 2013

Weaving Tales of Love that Dissolve Barriers: Interview with CIMRWA Membership Director

There is a lot of big buzz going around the writing community about the new RWA chapter for authors of cultural, multicultural  and interracial romances.

So I decided to contact the chapter and interview Membership Director Angeline Bishopwhere we discuss the Abalone Awards and what books fit into this chapter.

CIMRWA Membership Director Angeline Bishop

Why did you feel it was important to start a romance chapter for interracial, multicultural, and cultural romance writers?

The Cultural, Multicultural, and Interracial Special interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America (or CIMRWA) was started by three remarkable authors, A.C. MasonAmbrielle Kirk, and Theresa Breaux

             Image from CIMRWA site
I didn’t have a hand in the hard process of creating this new RWA chapter so all accolades need to go to these women.  They are extraordinary and resolute in their convictions to see this chapter come to life. Their vision was very clear they wanted to advance excellence in ethno-cultural romance genre and support the professional goals of career-focused writers of Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural romance fiction.  

So CIMRWA is an assembly place of ethno-cultural romance writers in our own part of RWA. We’ll embrace the diversity of our storylines and endorse our tagline ‘Weaving tales of love that dissolve barriers’ because we strongly believe love transcends all seen or imagined impediments, divisions, and obstacles.

Tell us about the Abalone awards.

The Abalone Awards contest for published and unpublished writers was created to support and recognize outstanding works of writers of Ethno-Cultural Romance. All entrants must be eighteen years of age or older by the date of entry. 

For Unpublished Authors
Now we must remind everyone that entries for the unpublished novels portion of the contest must be from a completed manuscript because we have wonderful judges from Harlequin, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Dafina Books, and Kensington Publishing that will be judging the finalists this year.  We want to wow these judges with the new talent, so please don’t let us down.

For Published Authors
We’re looking for published novel entries that have been released between December 1, 2011 and December 1, 2012. And we’re happy to state self-published novels are included in this contest.

Oh and before I forget, CIMRWA does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation so GLBTQ entries are welcome in any category that best represents the story.

The winners will be announced at RWA Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia in July so get your entries in.  I’ll be there with other members of the CIMRWA board to honor our Abalone Award winners. I hope to see many writers of Ethno-Cultural romance in attendance.
The chapter covers a lot of new types of romance writers. Could you explain the terms Ethno-cultural romance, Cultural, Multicultural, and Interracial Romance? 

 Ethno-Cultural Romance are stories that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and revolves around Cultural, Interracial, or Multicultural aspects of the character(s), location(s) or theme(s).

Cultural stories as stories of a particular social, ethnic, religious group; or stories containing character(s), location or theme(s) of a SINGLE CULTURAL group (such as Native American, African American, Israeli, Hispanic, Iraqi, Irish, etc.) A good example of this would be Legacy by Shirley Hailstock or To Love You More by Wayne Jordan.

Interracial stories are stories conducted, involving, or existing between different races. (MORE THAN ONE racial group.)  Which can also include interracial (character(s)) of multiple ethnic, cultural or religions heritage/ancestry.  A good example is My Nora by Holley Trent or Rush by Beth Yarnall.

And Multicultural stories contain characters of MORE THAN ONE culture relating to, consisting of, or participating in the cultures of different countries, ethnic groups, or religions. ‘Like Mayflies in a Stream by Shauna Roberts is a good example of this.

Will there be more contests through this chapter in the future?

We truly hope so but there’s a lot of work that goes into holding a successful writing contest. It’s quite a remarkable undertaking for a newly formed chapter but everyone is focused on making Abalone Awards the benchmark contest for CIMRWA and the Ethno-Cultural Romance community.

The CIMRWA board is fortunate to have our vice president, Emma Petersen handling the day-to-day management of the contest while our president, A.C. Mason, worked diligently to secure a great roster of judges from brilliant publishing houses.

What are some of the exciting activities and/or events coming up with CIMRWA this 2013?

We have the Mosaic Newsletter coming out this winter; it will feature the writers in our chapter, literary news, and chapter events.  We’ll also have an amazing seasonal chapter anthology that will showcase the writings of our members.  I think all writers have a few novellas we can polish up and submit for the public to enjoy. CIMRWA will also host be wonderful workshops and agent pitch sessions for members to develop their skills and get closer to their dreams of publication. This is a very exciting time.  We have ambitious goals and much of the work has already started. With the leadership of the CIMRWA’s board of officers, the efforts of the volunteers, the dedication of the national office staff, and support from you, I am confident that the CIMRWA can move forward in an exciting direction.  Together, we will strengthen the ethno-cultural romance genre and build the CIMRWA into a preeminent special interest chapter of RWA.

Thanks again for having me stop by.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to reach me at  Now please tell me where can I find the artist that animated you and Alicia? I need to give them a call. :-)

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