Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Member Spotlight on LaQuette

by | March 16, 2021

What’s the hardest part of writing? 

Since my kids started homeschooling? Finding a quiet moment during the day to collect my thoughts is probably the hardest thing about writing.  Seriously, though, the most difficult thing is revising. Revisions are where the magic really happens.

What’s your favorite historical movie?

Hoodlum. It’s a dramatization of the real-life mob wars between Black numbers runner, Bumpy Johnson and Jewish mobster Dutch Schultz.

Often when history glamorizes organized crime, they only focus on those with European backgrounds. We have a lot of documented history in popular culture where Italian and Jewish mobsters are concerned. Hoodlum was the first time I realized Black people ran equally successful organizations as well and their stories were commingled with the more infamous mobsters like Lucky Luciano and Al Capone.

Who’s your favorite historical figure?

Madam CJ Walker. She was the first self-made female millionaire.

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?

Jesus, Harriet Jacobs, and Michael Jackson.

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

Oftentimes, when we’re taught Black history, only the struggle is ever highlighted. The struggle is important, but so are the triumphs. So if I could travel back in time, it would be to witness one of the greatest triumphs in Black history in ancient Egypt.  I’d love to see what was called Ancient Nubia or Kush and witness the reign of the Black Pharaohs in the 25th Dynasty of Egypt.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Put your butt in a chair and your hands on a keyboard. Nothing gets published if you don’t actually sit down and write. It’s the only thing that keeps me consistently productive.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was sixteen.  It was immediately after I read my first romance, which was a Harlequin Presents.

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Sandra Kitt, Rochelle Alers, Francis Ray, and Brenda Jackson we’re the first authors I read who wrote romances featuring Black characters. Before them, there was little to no representation in romance. As a result, at sixteen, when I first started reading in the genre, I didn’t really know romances could feature people of color. Fortunately, now, we’re slowly seeing more diverse voices enter the industry.

The person I think had the most direct impact on my writing is Zane. Her stories were a celebration of feminine sexuality that made me want to write characters who were living their best lives while embracing their sexuality too.

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

I write two hours a day five days week. This is my job, so productivity isn’t optional for me. The best way to get the work done and keep the pressure off is to keep to my writing schedule as best I can.

I’m naturally a panster. But when you’re trying to sell a story on spec, that doesn’t really work. Since editors want synopses, I had to learn to outline enough to get a deal.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? 

It was all over the place. I started by self-publishing with no experience whatsoever in how publishing worked at all. I do not recommend that. Don’t be like me. Be better than me. Learn the industry first. It will save you so much heartache.

From there, I published with a few small presses for a few years until I partnered with my Agent, Latoya Smith, and started publishing traditionally. I currently have books scheduled to release with Sourcebooks Casablanca, Harlequin Desire, and St Martin’s Press.

Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you.

My latest release is Jackson, the first book in my Restoration Ranch series from Sourcebooks Casablanca. It comes out on February 23rd. Jackson is an opposites attract contemporary with suspense elements that features a city-slicking lady lawyer and the grumpy Texas Ranger who can’t get enough of her, even though she gets on his last nerve. The sequel, Colton, follows this summer. After that, my first Harlequin Desire (title TBD) releases in October.




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