Latinx love stories aren’t often diverse or varied in publishing but Latinx authors are slowly but surely changing that. A group of Latina authors came together this past holiday season to create a thoughtful, holiday-themed romance anthology that intentionally highlights diverse love stories and incorporates Latinx Christmas traditions. Amor Actually: A Holiday Romance Anthology, includes nine different stories in which a variety of cultures, genders and sexual orientations, are represented and celebrated within love stories.
The stories are written by a number of best-selling and award-winning Latinx authors including, Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras, Sabrina Sol and Mia Sosa, who drew from their own family experiences to create a cohesive book that shows that we can all share a common thread—our Latinx background and traditions—but, have completely different experiences in love.
“We wrote as a community and we did it as a community,” Adriana Herrera told NBC News, of the book which the authors began developing at a writer’s retreat they attended in 2019. “We grew up with telenovelas, but even in telenovelas you don’t see all Latinos represented—only one kind,” Zoraida Córdova said, author of the 2021 bestseller, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina.
The stories, for example, include Herrera’s, Make the Yuletide Gay, about a bisexual pop star struggling with her sexual orientation as the holidays approach. She also collaborates with romance author Daria’s, To Us, You Are Perfect, which is the story of a Latinx love triangle gone right.
They’re all stories that honor tradition and family, but don’t shy away from different kinds of sex and relationships, including those that have long been considered taboo within Latinx communities. The stories are steamy while bucking stereotypes, and showcasing non-traditional love in an approachable and positive way.
“Showing specifically Black and Latinx people being able to have love and joy without trauma is really important to me,” Herrera said.
What takes this anthology a step further is that each of the stories prioritizes female sexuality and desire unabashedly, which is so empowering. The women in these stories are allowed to be the fully sexual beings that they are. They embrace their sexuality without hesitation or shame, which many of us know, isn’t particularly easy for Latinas who are largely raised to be “ladylike” and submit to our men’s desires rather than meet our own.
These talented Latina authors are not only supporting and uplifting each other, they are using their skills and talents to support and represent all women, as well as the Latinx and LGBTQIA+ communities in literature. This is an area that all of those groups have traditionally been grossly under-represented in. So even though the holiday season has come to a close, Amor, Actually—yes, we get what thy did there—is going on our to-be-read list.