Interview with Fantasists
"For a long time, the fantasy genre was dominated by European folktales, culture, and settings with a few other “exotic” locations thrown in for spice. But a surge of non-European fantasies written by non-European writers is set to change the face of the genre by exploring new cultures, myths, and viewpoints without tragically misusing them. Two of the newest belles to the ball are Carole McDonnell and Alaya Dawn Johnson, authors of Wind Follower and Racing the Dark.
Both writers love fantasy but find it lacking. From magic that comes too easy to monocultures to badly realized religions, Alaya and Carole found themselves dissatisfied with the norm and inspired to write something better."
Here's the interview itself. They make interesting points about religion in their stories, and also talk about their cultural backgrounds. Carole and Alaya also make provocative quotes about elves (the former saying "..elves I have nothing to do with", while the latter concurs with "The world does not ever, ever need to see another damn elf"). Both writers write fantasy stories that affirm who they are and where they came from. I'm sure you'll find echoes of what they talked about during their interview with the recent online discussion.