Thursday, May 7, 2015

Character Diversity: A Guest Post by Kyla Phillips

Today I'm excited to be hosting fellow MuseItUp author Kyla Phillips. When Kyla and I first set up this post, I hadn't started my new format yet, so if you were looking for  this week's #TBR Thursday post, you can find it here.

Kyla's novel, Agent of Light, released Tuesday. Happy Book Birthday!!! This sounds like an intriguing read, with a variety of supernatural creatures (elementals, angels, and shape shifters to name a few) and bounty hunters. I know this will be making my #TBR pile! 

Vayne is a light elemental and bounty hunter for the supernatural world. Her partners—Giovanni, a capricious fallen angel; and Donovan, a shape shifter with anger control issues—work with her during their rehabilitation. During the coldest winter Cincinnati has ever seen, the threesome run into a case where temporary and violent insanity strikes powerful elementals seemingly at random. 

Vayne soon finds herself the victim instead of the hunter, and working on the wrong side of the conflict. How can Don and Gio pull her back from the brink? How will she reveal the perpetrator and bring him before the chopping block?

Available at:

With a cast of characters like that, I'm sure Kyla can teach us a thing or two about diversity. So, without further adieu, here's Kyla!

Character Diversity
A Guest Post by Kyla Phillips

Mary has been kind enough to feature me on her blog with an article on character diversity. I thought it was a rather fitting subject since one of the most frequent comments I received on my new novel Agent of Light, from editors and beta readers a like, was how interesting and diverse my cast of characters is. For me having the right characters is the foundation to great writing. Put a crazy group of people together and you can make doing laundry and epic adventure.

In Agent of Light, there are four main characters who differ not only ethnically but also in supernatural abilities. There is an Arab jinni, a Brazilian shapeshifter, a biracial American light elemental, and an angel with red hair and freckles (sounds interesting right). With such a wide range of characters every scene becomes an opportunity to 1) surprise the reader by giving them a view into a culture they’ve never seen before and 2) connect to the reader who has never read about someone like them.

Maybe you’re a middleclass American and you have no idea what life is like for a poor Pakistani kid and don’t feel comfortable writing from that perspective. No problem. A change in skin color is not the only way to diversify your characters. Take the show NCIS for example. The cast is predominantly white American yet they have been celebrated for having a unique and exciting cast. Why is that? Their life stories are as diverse as they come.

The lead, Gibbs, is an older male from a small town, blue-collar family. He has a military background and his outlook on life was shaped by a tragedy that happened rather early in his adult life. In contrast, Tony comes from a very wealthy background and he chose the middleclass life. While he may have left some of the more extravagant things behind his taste in clothing and accessories shows you can’t completely remove the silver spoon from the boy’s mouth.

So adding diversity can be as simple as putting together two people from different socio-economic backgrounds together. Maybe add a character that struggles with addiction, grew up in a single parent household, grew up in a large family with limited resources. The possibilities are endless but the reward is great. By diversifying your characters you reach a wider audience, you make the story truer to the vibrancy of real life, and you stretch your perspective. What can be wrong with that.

Author Bio:
Kyla became a SciFi/Fantasy addict at age three watching Doctor Who on late nights up with her mom. She discovered her love of reading and writing in the third grade reading Robert A. Heinlein and Piers Anthony and trying to create stories like her heroes.

Currently she lives in Ohio with her grandmother and her dog, Mya – named after a SciFi character. She is inspired by the musing of her fellow writers in the Entropy writing group and hanging out at Barberton Public Library.


  1. Love the book cover, too! So captivating. Kyla, you bring up such a great point to diversity - about it not being just skin color that differentiates us. It can be so simple as meeting someone raised in a different part of the country. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks Kai! I totally agree that diversity isn't only what we can see that's different about us, and appreciate Kyla reminding us of that.

    2. Thanks Kai for stopping in. I think too many writers
      miss out on diversifying their novels because all they think of is race and that can be a scary subject but diversity is more than that.


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