Readers, I have a special guest joining me on the blog today. LaQuette is an award-winning and bestselling erotic romance writer hailing from Brooklyn, NY. She and I connected online during a writer TweetChat and after I started reading the first book of her Queens of Kings series (Heart of the Matter), I had to have her on the blog to answer some questions about her writing journey.
Hi, thanks for agreeing to this interview. In a few sentences, tell us about yourself.
Wow, thanks for such an awesome introduction, Eliza, and thank you for having me. As you said, my name is LaQuette and I’m Brooklyn born and bred. I write Erotic Romance featuring diverse characters as protagonists.
How long have you been writing?
Seems like always. Lol Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always expressed myself best through writing. I’ve been published now for over two years.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision. I knew I loved writing—especially romance. At the age of eighteen, I was writing stories for my own enjoyment. Stories that became Heart of the Matter and Power Privilege and Pleasure were originally written at that time. It wasn’t until almost twenty years later that I self-published my first book, My Beginning. After my husband read My Beginning, he kept pushing me to do something with it, meaning publish it myself or submit it to a publisher. I opted to publish it myself, and that led to me eventually publishing the Queens of Kings series with Hot Ink Press.
Tell us about your latest project.
I’ve just literally typed ‘The End’ on my latest project titled Love’s Changes. It is a m/m erotic novella that features a fan favorite couple, Bryan and Justice, from the Queens of Kings series. In the QoK series, they’re broken up. We know they love each other, but they’re going through some changes at the time. This novella picks up from where we last see them in Protected Heart: Queens of Kings: B3. Bryan is healing from a gunshot wound, and Justice has finally reached his boiling point. The first scene opens with Justice declaring he’ll see Bryan safely healed and returned to work, but after that, he wants a divorce. It’s emotional, it’s sexy—because these boys together are HAWT!—and because I don’t really know how to write anything but messy, emotional, and sexy pieces. Lol
Who is your ideal reader?
Grown folks! Lol I write real. There may be a good deal of fiction added in, but my work is emotionally real. I also try my best to include real places that your average person might have actually had the opportunity to visit. Because of that, my readers are grown and can deal with the raw and gritty experiences adults often have just living life. I’m also very explicit, so my reader is someone that isn’t necessarily offended by profanity. I don’t want you to get the idea that all I do is string curse words together and label it fiction. My work includes all the elements of story structure, but I also have no shame in expressing myself, or having my characters express themselves in a very explicit and, oftentimes, profane way.
How do you create your characters and build your worlds? Are you a planner or a pantser?
My characters and the worlds they live in usually come to me preformed. I can be doing something innocuous and all of a sudden, the question comes to me: “I wonder what would happen if…” Usually whatever follows the if is my character and story foundation and world. For instance, with Heart of the Matter, the question was literally this: “I wonder what would happen if there was a woman who worked hard as a cop to protect and touch her community and her family, but she couldn’t bear physical touch?” From that I already knew who Heart MacKenzie was; the rest of her character traits and world became dressing.
I am a panster by nature. I’m really allergic to outlines. I think part of that is because I write in pictures or images. I usually get a scene in the beginning, one for the middle, and the big finale. Everything else in between is me weaving together story to make the beginning, middle, and ending images connect.
Who do you consider your literary influences?
There are so many. Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Zane, I could name so many. I felt as if I came full circle when I actually had the opportunity to meet both Ms. Alers and Ms. Hill. They are amazingly talented writers and two of the most gracious people you could meet. Every time I get to sit in their presence I feel as if I’m learning something new and important that I need to commit to memory.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
It’s very emotional and time consuming. When I’m writing, I’m not doing anything but writing. I have two small children who don’t really understand, “Mommy can’t play because she’s working.” So oftentimes, my writing is saved until the end of the night when they’re in bed. It isn’t uncommon for me to spend an entire night up writing if the words are flowing. This is why most writers, myself included, are coffee addicts. lol
What’s one of your best writing tips?
I don’t know if I would call this a tip, but I just know this is something integral to my writing process. Every writer has to have their own process and ultimately you have to find out what works for you. For LaQuette, the writing begins with music. Until I have my iPod earbuds in, no writing can occur. Music helps me emote. So if I need to write a really sad scene, then I need to have a heartbreaking tune in my ears to help me feel it. If I don’t feel it, I can’t write it. If I don’t feel it, then the readers won’t feel it when they’re reading it, either.
What are you working on now?
I just cracked the fifth and final book of the Queens of Kings series open. I’m not sure what the title is yet, but it’s starring True Amare and Teague Maher as the protagonists. And in true, True fashion, it is going to be a mess.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading book five in Amy Nicole Walker’s Fated Heart series. Loved it.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Just keep writing. You can aspire to write all you want, but if you never put anything down on the page, you will never have a product. You have to make time for writing. Life is hard, trust me – my three-year-old is lying across my lap right now as I’m answering your questions. Life will always get in the way. However, if you really want to write, you force yourself to do it; when you’re tired, when you’re upset, when you’re bored, when you’re sick, you just have to do it.
Care to share a spicy excerpt from your soon-to-be-released Love’s Changes?
Bryan opened the door to the car and eased himself into the passenger seat…well, eased as much as he could considering his healed gunshot wound to the chest still throbbed like a son-of-a-bitch. His doctor called them phantom pains, the lingering reminder of a traumatic injury that victims sometimes experienced. Months after his injury he’d expected to be pain free. Too bad his body, or more likely his mind just didn’t seem to be on board with that idea.
When he was finally settled into the car, he leaned back against the headrest and released a long breath. Bryan felt the car dip as Justice slid into the driver’s seat, yanked his seatbelt across his chest and secured it with one angry click.
“Everything okay?” Bryan asked as he reached across the console and placed a hand on Justice’ thigh. Bryan was only spared a brief second of contact when Justice pulled his hand away.
“I want a divorce, Bryan,” Justice’ matter-of-fact tone making it appear as if those particular words strung together were an everyday occurrence. “I’ve taken a temporary post at 6th Comm in Brooklyn. The Corps will let me stay there as long as it takes you to get through the next stage of your rehab. But after that I’m done and this is over.”
Bryan flinched against the pain in his chest as he struggled to process Justice’ words. When he was able to breath past the pain he turned to Justice.
“Just like that? You’re leaving me? No explanation why?” Bryan’s crackling voice sounded like metal scraping against itself. He was exerting so much focus keeping tears out of his eyes that Bryan forgot to clear his throat before he spoke. “Why, Justice?”
Justice kept his eyes fixed on the windshield, never sparing even the smallest of glances Bryan’s way. It made Bryan’s chest throb even more. The locked muscles in his husband’s profile told Bryan just how much Justice was struggling, trying to keep from losing his shit.
“Jussy,” Bryan whispered hoping Justice would understand the silent, please don’t do this, that was knocking around in Bryan’s heart.
“You know why. We both know why. I can’t do this any longer, Bryan.”
“Justice, please…just give me a chance to fix this. I can fix this—”
Justice shoved the key into the ignition, yanking the gearshift into drive. “I deserve better than living with a husband who’s too ashamed to love himself, let alone love me where the rest of the world can see. You’ve had five years to fix it, Bryan. You haven’t, so I’m done.
Justice was leaving him.
Bryan stood in the shower replaying the brief, yet crippling conversation in the car.
Bryan gave himself a derisive laugh, apparently being a decorated and skilled investigator didn’t count for shit in marriage, because for damn sure he hadn’t seen that one coming.
After five years of the on again off again minefield they’d traversed, Justice was finally ready to walk away. It was ironic that Bryan had been the one trying for years to get Justice to see their marriage wasn’t salvageable. The very same divorce papers Justice threw in his face tonight were initially drafted at Bryan’s request. Considering that fun-fact he should be relieved that Justice was finally seeing things clearly. Unfortunately, the only thing he seemed to be feeling was sick at the thought of losing his husband, especially now.
Coming very close to losing his life when he took a bullet to the chest while on duty, Bryan had a sudden urge to hold on to everything and everyone that meant anything to him. That piercing piece of metal in chest was all it had taken to make Bryan realize leaving his husband wasn’t the answer. Fighting for him was.
Just when his stupid ass was finally figuring things out Justice wanted to up and bail.
How the fuck am I supposed to deal with that?
He wiped the water out of his stinging eyes; looking up to the ceiling for answers when a single thought crossed his mind.
You fight, that’s how. You stop dicking around and get to the business of holding on to your man.
Thanks for joining us today, LaQuette. Readers, feel free to stalk this sexy author at the following links:
Website – Embracing My Crazy: http://www.NovelsbyLaQuette.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LaQuetteTheAuthor
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/LaQuetteLikes
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/laquettelikes
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/LaQuette
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_laquette/