CSUF graduate brings diversity to romance novels

In Features
(Courtesy of Sabrina Solis?)
“Delicious Complication,” Sol second romance novel, shows how characters’ backgrounds influence their decisions in life. (Courtesy of Sabrina Sol)

A Mexican-American woman and a man from Puerto Rico get a taste of unexpected romance in “Delicious Complication,” written by Cal State Fullerton graduate Sabrina Sol.

“Delicious Complication” is the second novel in Sol’s romantic series entitled “Delicious Desires,” and takes place in the same universe as her first book: “Delicious Temptation.”

Daisy Robles is the protagonist’s cousin in Sol’s first book, but now Robles will encounter her own romance with a man she could not bear — Brandon Montoya, a restaurant owner.

Every female protagonist in the novels is Latina because the romance genre usually lacks diverse characters, Sol said.

“For me, all of my heroines will always be Latinas because I identify with someone like me, and that is just something that I think the romance genre is lacking,” Sol said.

Robles’ cousin is a pastry chef for Montoya’s restaurant and despite his annoyance toward Robles, he refers his customers to her new event-planning services.

Robles was raised in east Los Angeles, a place Sol considers her second hometown after spending almost every weekend there at her grandmother’s house.

The protagonists, Robles and Montoya, arrange a fake engagement for several complicated reasons. Montoya hopes the engagement will compel his reluctant and ill mother in Puerto Rico to visit him in the U.S., where she can undergo much-needed medical treatment.

The novel is filled with relationship conflicts. Montoya’s mother refuses to be a burden to her son after relying on him to take care of her and his sister throughout his youth. Because Robles grew up without a mother figure, she has difficulty understanding Montoya’s relationship with his mother.

Along with the use of Spanish phrases, the novel integrates cultural elements such as family loyalty and descriptions of Puerto Rican dishes.

Robles is a loyal and independent woman who wants to be successful on her own terms but is still a fun person to be friends with.

“Delicious Complication” will be released Sept. 28. Sol will hold a book signing at 3:30 p.m. in the “Orange County Book Lovers’ Event” Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Embassy Suites in Brea.

Diversity is more than simply adding a Spanish last name—it is integrating that culture and illustrating how the characters’ background influences their decisions, Sol said.

Sol hopes that publishing companies start noticing that readers are searching for characters with relatable backgrounds. However, she said that publishing companies will not change their practices unless more readers purchase books with diverse characters.

“I am hopeful that the publishers are going to start searching for diverse books, and I’m hoping that readers are going to actively start supporting diverse books,” Sol said.

Sol always wanted to write novels but did not pursue this interest until Marie Loggia-Kee, a romance novelist and CSUF communications professor, steered her into the publishing process. Loggia-Kee helped Sol publish her first short story. They have known each other since their days working for the Daily Titan when they were students.

Sol enjoys writing romance and said that her books are sexier than the typical sweet love story.

“What’s not to love about love?” Sol asked.

After Sol earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at CSUF in 1995, she began working as a reporter. Sol worked for the Los Angeles Times covering community news in areas such as Santa Monica and Glendale.

Once demand for online content increased and the news industry shifted, Sol switched careers to public relations after six years of reporting. Sol has been working as a publicist for a nonprofit hospital system ever since.

“You know, one day I’m going to finally finish writing a book, so I decided to do that while still having my full-time job,” Sol said.

Sol is a member of Romance Writers of America’s Orange County Chapter and serves on its board of directors as the vice president of communications.

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