Today I am so pleased to welcome LaQuette to Joyfully Jay. LaQuette has come to talk to us about her experience writing and with the Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Liberty States Create Something Magical Conference Speaker Interview
- What made you want to become a writer? How early in life did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since childhood. I can remember writing down my thoughts in diaries and journals from a very early age. Writing has always been the best way I know how to clearly express my thoughts. It didn’t occur to me to write as an occupation until I began reading romance novels at the age of sixteen.
- Is there one piece of advice you would give an aspiring writer?
Be true to yourself. Find your own voice. Don’t attempt to be a carbon copy of someone else. Just be you.
- Who is on your bookshelf?
Way too many to provide a comprehensive list. I’ll give you the top four on my Kindle. The first is Hot Heads by Damon Suede. I will re-read that bad-boy anytime I want to read something that fills my emotional angst quota, along with the sizzling hot factor, in such a satisfying way. I’m throwing major side-eye at Mr. Suede because I don’t have a sequel to one-click yet.
Second, I have Run by Eve Vaughn. She’s another writer that never gets the sizzle-factor wrong. She also writes amazing bad boys. Men you really love to hate. If there’s a way to make you want to both curse out and simultaneously adore a hero, Ms. Vaughn will create it.
Third is Tere Michaels’ Faith, Love, & Devotion series. That series gives me emotional life. I can never get enough of Evan and Matt, and the Cirelli family. I defy you to tell me Matt Haight isn’t the funniest character on a page.
The last is the Watch Me series by Avril Ashton. It’s a sexy series about urban gangsters falling in love and doing whatever is necessary to protect those they love. I’m fanning myself just thinking about that series. She mixes the hotspots of Brooklyn, Queens, and Atlanta all in one series. I’m from Brooklyn, and I’m familiar with all the other places she writes about as well. It’s scandalous, salacious, and rough. I’m there for all of that with every release.
- Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments in your writing career thus far?
Winning the RWANYC 2016 Author of the Year Award. I was completely floored by that. The trophy is currently sitting in my office. However, I still look at it and make sure my name is there, and it’s not just my imagination.
- Tell us about your newest release/current work in progress.
One of my recent releases is Love Changes. Here’s the blurb:
A near-fatal shot through his chest teaches Lieutenant Bryan Smyth of the NYPD two things: He wants to see more days and he wants to spend them with his estranged husband, Justice.
Poor decisions made under the strain of grief split the seams of their marriage. Now it’s up to Bryan to show Justice there’s still enough of their love left to salvage from the ruins, still something worth the battle ahead.
Bryan’s shooting has opened Justice’s eyes to new lessons too. The first, tomorrow isn’t promised, the second, life’s too short to live in misery. Justice has watched Bryan shuffle back and forth attempting to balance the man he is at home and the man he has to be at the precinct for too long. Now, he’s done. The only problem is, Justice’s heart is having a hard time adhering to the exit strategy in his head.
Desperate to repair their bond, Bryan does the only thing he can to keep his marriage intact, he calls his crazy sister-in-law, True to stir up some organized chaos. She’s a wildcard, yes. As unstable and deadly as nitroglycerin, but she gets the one thing Bryan needs more than anything, results.
The only question left: Is family and fidelity enough to get them through love’s changes, or is this really the end?
6.) What inspired this book?
As a woman of color who reads and writes romance, it’s almost impossible not to see how absent characters of color, and own-voices stories are. The truth, these stories can sometimes seem invisible inside of the mainstream market.
When I began reading romance twenty-three years ago, I couldn’t find an African American, or Interracial romance on the shelves of my library featuring a dark-skinned woman of color. It wasn’t just a matter of race either, the books I was reading were always set in some glamorous, magical kingdom. They were never in the places like Brooklyn, a place I recognized.
I decided then that when I wrote a story, it was going to feature people that looked, lived, and loved like me. And those people would interact and fall in love with people of all persuasions and socio-economic statuses. Why? Because that’s the world as I know it.
My world is not a monochromatic painting of only African American people. My world, my family, my heart is filled with a crazy cast of characters from all walks of life. I wanted what I saw to be represented on the page too.
That driving need to see myself on the page inspired me to write my romantic suspense series, The Queens of Kings. It’s a M/F series that features interracial couplings. In that series, two of the female leads in the series are related to a gay man named, Justice Amare. Justice, and his love interest, Bryan, first appear in that series.
Now, just to give you a little backstory, as a reader, I read everything. I read across the genres, so as a writer, I always knew I wouldn’t just write M/F romance, I’d also write stories that featured same-sex couples as well.
When Justice and Bryan showed up on the page in the Queens of Kings series, I knew I’d have to tell their story at some point. My readers, who I wasn’t quite sure at the time if they’d embrace a story about two black men in love, wowed me when they actually began asking for their story. With that, Love’s Changes was born.
Love’s Changes is the first book in my M/M novella series, Losing My Way. This series, wasn’t just an opportunity for me to write a M/M romance, it was also my opportunity to address what I see as a lacking in the M/M genre. Just as in mainstream M/F romances, POC love stories are often not visible in the M/M contemporary genre either. That doesn’t sit right with me. So, since I couldn’t find a contemporary M/M romance that featured a couple comprised of men of color, I wrote it. Why? Because those men deserve to have their love seen, and celebrated across the pages too.
I was thrilled with Love’s Changes’ reception. People showed this story the care and love it deserved. Love’s Dangers, the second book in the series should be released sometime later this year. It will feature a Latino man by the name of Martin Herrera, and his African American love interest, Julien Hargrove. I’m hoping readers will love them as well.
7.) Tell us a little about your workshop at the Create Something Magical Conference.
As a writer, I love attending conferences. I love the networking opportunities, as well as the interaction with readers. I also love the fact that conferences provide an opportunity for me to learn something new about the business of being an author. Although I’ve attended many workshops on the process, and the art of writing, I hadn’t attended any that addressed some of the business concerns I’d encountered during my authorship.
Most people believe being an author is about writing books, and it is. But as an author, you’re also a business, and many of us don’t know how to organize that business. Tools of the Trade is a workshop that will help authors organize, and maintain their small business/authorship. In an effort to obtain business solutions for myself, I began compiling these tips, products, and services that helped solidify my business. After seeing how helpful these items have been to me, I thought I’d share them with my fellow writers.
LaQuette is an erotic, multicultural romance author of M/F and M/M love stories. Her writing style brings intellect to the drama. She often crafts emotionally epic, fantastical tales that are deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush. Her novels are filled with a unique mixture of savvy, sarcastic, brazen, and unapologetically sexy characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page.
This bestselling Erotic Romance Author is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2016 Swirl Awards 1st Place Winner in Romantic Suspense, and 2016 Aspen Gold Award Finalist in Erotic Romance. LaQuette—a native of Brooklyn, New York—spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.
Writing—her escape from everyday madness—has always been a friend and source of comfort. At the age of sixteen she read her first romance novel and realized the genre was missing something: people that looked and lived like her. As a result, her characters and settings are always designed to provide positive representations of people of color and various marginalized communities.