Toni Shiloh, author of 26 novels including the just-released To Win A Prince (Bethany), wants to see a growing number of BIPOC authors in Christian fiction. As more people of color join Christian publishing houses on staff, and as more authors of color, such as Shiloh herself, sign traditional publishing contracts, Shiloh has seen an improvement. “But I can count them on one hand, so it doesn’t feel like it’s growing much,” she says. “So many BIPOC authors decided to indie publish because doors were getting closed.”

Shiloh has several suggestions for how to add more diversity to the Christian fiction industry, including reaching out to indie-published authors about possible partnerships with publishing houses, and hiring acquisitions editors with diverse backgrounds. “If we can diversify the publishing industry, the number of BIPOC authors will diversify as well,” says Shiloh.

For her part, Shiloh has always supported other authors of color by reading their work. Among her favorite writers are Vanessa Riley, a Regency romance and historical fiction author, and Vanessa Miller, who writes women’s and Christian fiction. And Shiloh’s books consistently feature characters from a variety of backgrounds.

“I’ve always wanted to normalize myself as an author of Christian fiction,” she says. “I want to make sure to have characters of color so people get used to seeing them.”

After serving in the United States Air Force, Shiloh completed her degree in English through the American Military University in 2012. She’d been writing but not finishing novels, but made a New Year’s resolution that in 2014 she’d finish a novel. She met her goal with A Life to Live, which she self-published in 2015. Today, Shiloh’s work has been published at Love Inspired as well as Barbour.

“Toni came to our notice after building a successful career in indie publishing, showing there is absolutely a market for Christian fiction by and about people of color,” says Jessica Sharp, senior acquisitions editor at Bethany. “We’re excited to have her on our list, not just as another step in diversifying our product lines so they reflect the church, but because she proves that these stories are universally appealing.”

In her latest work, Shiloh tells the story of handsome prince and an unexpected love interest, set in imaginary country that gave her the latitude to create a brand-new place. To Win a Prince’s main character, Prince Ekon Diallo of the Etikun tribe, is sentenced to community service as punishment for his role in trying to undermine the royal succession, to be served at the business of Iris Blakely, who runs a nonprofit to help the people of Oloro Ilé in Africa.

“I love writing about royalty because it gives the novels a little fairytale aspect,” Shiloh says. “There is the glitz and glam, and they have more money and may rule a country, but their lives are like ours with the same struggles, flaws, and desire for love.”

Shiloh is currently working on a three-book Love in the Spotlight series for Bethany, the first of which is The Love Script, slated for publication in September 2023. Also in the works is an untitled Christmas novella, coming from Bethany in fall 2023. One thing is certain when it comes to Shiloh’s work: love conquers all.

“I’m a romantic at heart,” she says. “I love watching chick flicks, reading romance novels, and watching the Hallmark Channel.”

Marketing and publicity for To Win a Prince included promotions on and Shiloh also participated in a range of virtual events including Library Journal’s Spring 2022 Day of Dialog and Booklover’s Con over the summer, and she will appear at the upcoming Christian Book Lover’s Retreat in late October as well as the Fiction Readers Summit in May 2023.

“Toni’s books have broad appeal to romance readers, so our advertising and publicity efforts are geared toward librarians, booksellers, readers of contemporary romance and royal fiction, as well as readers of color and fans of other African American romance authors,” Raela Schoenherr, marketing manager for Bethany, tells PW.