Author Interview: LaQuette – I had the best time chatting with LaQuette. We chat about her writing style, our shared love of true crime, LaQuette’s foray into the romance genre, and what’s on her TBR. Her newest book, Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man, is available on September 20th. This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
2021 Vivian Award finalist and DEIA activist in the romance industry, LaQuette writes sexy, stylish, and sensational romance. She crafts dramatic, emotionally epic tales that are deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush.
This Brooklyn native writes unapologetically bold, character-driven stories. Her novels feature diverse ensemble casts who are confident in their right to appear on the page.
She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award winner & the 2016 Write Touch Readers Award winner. 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.
She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact LaQuette.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Synopsis for Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man by LaQuette
Vanessa Jared, a 40-something divorcée, decided that the best way to pull herself out of their post-divorce slump was to form The Savvy, Sexy, Singles Club and start the “Do Me” portion of her and her friends’ lives.
But on the two-year anniversary, a sexy sheriff shows up on Vanessa’s doorstep wanting her to help him keep his little sister from marrying her no-good ex. Vanessa is not down for this at all. She wants nothing to do with her ex…until she spots a photo of her ex’s new fiancée wearing her grandmother’s ring—which he clearly stole from her. So now it is on. Vanessa is ready to take this trifling (fill-in-the-blank) down. What she does not expect is to fall in love along the way.
Author Interview: LaQuette
LaQuette, I’m so excited to talk to you today about Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man, out September 20th, 2022. Thank you for joining me for this author interview.
Thank you so much for having me! It’s always fun to hang out with fellow readers.
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man?
Sure. Mostly all the rom-com book or movies I’ve read or watched featured really young characters who were just starting out in life. It was as if we expected anyone over thirty to have their lives perfectly situated with a flawless bow on top. These books and films also lacked diversity. So, unless you are a young, blonde, slim, straight, neurotypical, and abled woman, you don’t get the chance to have these comical adventures of figuring out what the next phase in your life is supposed to look like.
Then I saw the film Little starring Marsai Martin, Regina Hall, and Issa Rae. It’s basically a Black, gender-swapped, backwards version of Tom Hanks’ Big. I remember walking out of that theater smiling because each of those women were people I either knew or could have been at various points in my life. It was a funny, feel-good movie, and it featured people that looked like me. I immediately wanted more of that feeling in my entertainment. And so, I decided I was going to write something fun and flirty and unapologetically Black. That was the start of Vanessa Jared’s Got A Man.
Vanessa is a 40-something divorcee who started the Savvy, Sexy, Single Club. Can you tell us more about Vanessa?
From the outside, Vanessa is a woman who has it all. She married her college sweetheart at twenty. They were rich and lived a lavish life. That sounds incredibly picturesque, but the truth is she was in an emotionally abusive relationship that nearly broke her. Now, twenty-something years later, she’s divorced, and trying to put the pieces of her life back together while simultaneously attempting to figure out who she is now that she’s free. Along her journey, she meets two friends who are also divorced, and they support each other by forming the Savvy Sexy and Single club.
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Michael enlists Vanessa’s help to keep his little sister from marrying Vanessa’s ex. Can you tell us more about him?
Michael is the sheriff of the small town of Monroe Hills. He’s a Korean American man who has been trained from birth as the oldest son, it’s his job to take care of the family and the people he loves. Michael lost his parents a decade prior in an accident, and ever since then, he’s taken the values his parents instilled in him to heart more than he ever did. Now that it’s just him and his sister, who is fifteen years his junior, he’s dedicated to making sure his sister has everything she needs to have a happy life. Unfortunately, as all parents ultimately do, he learns he can’t control the young person in his life. Cindy is in her early twenties and is heading down a path that could be disastrous by dating Vanessa’s ex-husband. And Michael, being the dedicated big brother that he is, decides he’s got to get his sister back on track by any means necessary. Even if that means dragging Vanessa into this mess to help him save Cindy.
Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man?
Forced proximity is my favorite trope. It is the main trope in this story, coupled with family, both found and born. Those two tropes play a major role in Michael and Vanessa’s developing relationship. I also added the small-town romance trope to make it fun. When Vanessa agrees to be part of Michael’s intervention with Cindy, she gets stuck in his small town of Monroe Hills and, of course, while she’s there, shenanigans ensue.
Do you have any favorite scenes in Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man?
There are so many. I think the one that stands out most is when Michael finally admits his attraction to Vanessa and they share their first kiss. There’s no big declaration. They’re having a simple conversation and Vanessa jokingly accuses him of trying to get her into bed. At first, he tries to be proper and denies it. But when Vanessa calls BS on his attempt at propriety, Michael immediately comes clean and admits, “I’m lying. I’m hoping this leads to a whole lot of sex in the short time you’ll be in town.” How can you not love a man who can admit something like that? In the conversation’s context, it’s kind of refreshing.
Author Interview: LaQuette – Let’s Chat About Writing
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
I’m a pantser at heart. Unfortunately, one of my publishers requires a synopsis before a book is written. In complying with that requirement, I’ve become more of a plotter. It’s actually very hard for me to sit down and wing it now. Having a synopsis keeps me on track. And on days when life is unpredictable, having a synopsis allows me to write even when I don’t necessarily feel like it.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
There’s never a possibility of complete silence in my house. I have two small, very noisy boys who have been home for the duration of the pandemic. Music and noise-cancelling headphones have been the only reason I’ve finished any projects at all. Music is integral to my writing process. It helps me focus as well as emote. It helps me get my emotional brain in the right place to create authentic emotion between my characters.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Value your writing voice. It can be very easy to fall into imposter syndrome, believing everyone is and knows better than you. But trust me, the reason readers are picking up your book might be because they think you’re similar to another author. However, the reason they come back is that your voice is unique to you and fills a gap in the market no one else can fill.
Author Interview: LaQuette – Reading Recs, Favorite TV Shows & More
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre?
When I was sixteen, every morning I’d walk into my third period earth science class and find my friend Althea reading what I now know were Harlequin Presents novels. I walked over to her one morning and asked her why she was always reading those trashy romance novels. She shut me down in five words by asking, “Have you ever read one?” I admitted I hadn’t, so she was kind enough to lend me the one she was reading. It was The Devil’s Price by Carole Mortimer. I devoured that book in a night and went back asking her for more the next day. She continued to be my pusher until I depleted her stock. Then she sent me to the library to find more books to supply my habit.
After reading Presents for two years, I sort of fell out of love with the genre because I saw no one who looked or lived like me. There were no curvy Black women from Brooklyn being pursued by handsome, wealthy heroes. There was this subliminal message that if you weren’t thin, white, and from exotic locales, you weren’t worthy of love. I stopped reading romance until I graduated college and discovered authors such as Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Sandra Kitt, Zane, the late Francis Ray, and the late E. Lynn Harris. Their books were all about Black people falling in love and it made me realize I wanted to write these kinds of stories, too. So, I did.
Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man is one of my top Fall 2022 reads! What are some romances on your TBR and/or must-read romances?
The Hustle by Adriana Herrera, Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean, Bad Guy by Kenya Goree Bell, and Ravaged by Naima Simone. These authors write some of the best romance out today and I am begging each of them for ARCs because it is cruel and unusual punishment to expect me to wait until fall to get my hands on them.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
I’ve had an inspirational cast on my vision board since I began brainstorming the concept of this series. Daniel Henney would play Michael. Gabrielle Union would be casted as Vanessa. Musician Leon Gray would play Adam; Amber Riley would play Janae. Lance Gross would portray Derrick, and Jill Scott would be casted as Cree. I defy you to come up with a sexier cast. It just can’t be done.
Do you have any favorite TV shows or movie franchises?
I love true crime and police procedurals like Forensic Files. My husband says he’s worried I’m plotting his demise because I love to watch them just before I fall asleep. The OG Law and Order was my favorite, Organized Crime comes a close second in that franchise. I adore SWAT because it is literally impossible not to love a show where Shemar Moore gets to walk around in a tight t-shirt, being all aggressive and sexy as sin for no reason at all. I also love sci-fi. Star Trek Discovery is my ish.
Anything superhero related is pretty much a winner in my book. I love both Marvel and DC. Ms. Marvel is probably one of my favorite Marvel shows right now. There’s so much diversity and culture being celebrated in that show that I am always desperate for the next episode.
Lastly, Nubia. It’s not a show yet, but I hope they will make it into one. DC is now giving Nubia, the Black Wonder Woman and Diana’s twin sister, the shine that she deserves. She’s now the focus of two comic book series: Nubia and the Amazons and Nubia: Queen of the Amazons. Every page of the luscious artwork for these series just takes my breath away, not to mention the nuanced storytelling. I need both an animated series and a live-action movie focused on this magnificent character. Long live Queen Nubia!
Who is the ideal reader for Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man?
Readers who like sentimental but sexy reads. People who want to see grown people being adults and taking responsibility for their own happiness. I write hot with a lot of heart, mixed in with ensemble casts for fun. If that’s your jam as a reader, this book is for you.
This is not your first foray into writing. You’ve written many other romances. What are you hoping readers understand or feel when they read your books?
The first thing I want them to see is that no matter the background, people deserve love. No matter the background, we should all be able to identify humanity in one another. But what I want my readers to take away most from my books is that everyone deserves to see themselves on the page and they deserve to understand that they are worthy of love and passion no matter who they are or where they come from.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, LaQuette! How can readers best connect with you?
Thank you so much for having me. It was my absolute pleasure to hang out for a few moments. Readers can go to https://dot.cards/laquette to find all of my contact, website, interview, book retailer, and social media information. Please drop me a line and a say, hey.
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