Jeff and Will celebrate Big Gay Fiction Podcast’s 8th Anniversary!
Jeff shares reviews of recent books he’s read, including Stars in Your Eyes by Kacen Callender, Tempted by the Bollywood Star by Sophia Singh Sasson, and the holiday romance from this week’s guest LaQuette, Secret Heir for Christmas.
LaQuette then discusses Secret Heir for Christmas and the Dynasty-inspired family romance/drama series Devereux Inc. She talks about the inspiration for Stephan and Carter’s romance, and how she celebrates Black culture and familial love throughout the story. We also find out about her Christmas traditions, get some book recommendations, and find out what she’s working on next.
Look for the next episode of Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Monday, November 20.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find many more outstanding podcasts at frolic.media/podcasts!
Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. These links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- The Little Gay Shop website (Use code BIGGAYFICTION at checkout to receive 15% off through 12/31/23)
- Stars in Your Eyes by Kacen Callender
- Tempted by the Bollywood Star by Sophia Singh Sasson
- LaQuette Interview
- LaQuette: website | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok
- Secret Heir for Christmas (Devereaux Inc. Book 4) by LaQuette
- Under His Protection by LaQuette
- Dynasty on Amazon Prime Video
- Falcon Crest on Amazon Prime Video
- Robin of Sherwood on Amazon Prime Video
- The Colbys on Plex
- Renegade on Amazon Prime Video
- One Night Expectations (Devereaux Inc. Book 3) by LaQuette
- Brenda Jackson on Amazon
- Rochelle Alers on Amazon
- Yahrah St. John on Amazon
- Nadine Gonzalez on Amazon
- Adriana Herrera on Amazon
- Reese Ryan on Amazon
- Nisha Sharma on Amazon
- Mia Sosa on Amazon
- Swiss Colony website
- Young Love on Max
- Hair Love (short film) on YouTube
- Hair Love (picture book) by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
- Naima Simone on Amazon
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast Links
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Coming up on this episode, we kick off the holiday season as we talk to LaQuette about her queer Christmas romance.
Will: Welcome to episode 440 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast. The show for avid readers and passionate fans of queer romance fiction. I’m Will, and with me as always is my co-host and husband, Jeff.
Jeff: Hello, Rainbow Romance Reader. It is so great to have you here. We’re actually marking this show’s 8th anniversary with this episode. Oh, goodness. It’s hard to believe that it was back in 2015, that the first three episodes of this show dropped. That was actually happening on November 2nd of that year. Eight years. Oh my gosh. It feels like yesterday, and it also feels like we’ve been doing this for quite a long time at 400 something episodes.
We can’t thank enough everybody who’s been here, whether it’s from that very first episode. Whether you joined us somewhere in the middle. It’s great to have everybody here as we just keep talking about some wonderful books. And I really like that this show kind of has its anniversary in what is one of our favorite reading seasons, which is the holiday season.
Will: Yeah, definitely. I hope you’re all looking forward to Season 9 as much as we are. We’ve got lots of great stuff planned, so stay tuned!
Jeff: And of course, now that it is the holiday season, and we might be thinking about shopping for some of our favorite people, we’d like to share a place that you might want to pick up some gifts. It’s The Little Gay Shop. It’s based in Austin, Texas. And this shop is a queer marketplace sourcing art, books, magazines, home goods, and gift items from artists, authors, and makers exclusively from the LGBTQIA+ community. The Little Gay Shop is also a queer haven in Austin, hosting countless events and markets, and an online shop that gives queer artists and authors the exposure they deserve with a percentage of all the revenue going directly to artists and organizations that support and advocate for LGBTQIA+ lives. You can check out the shop at thelittlegayshop.com. Or if you happen to be in Austin, you can drop by and check them out in person.
Now through the end of the year, they are offering listeners of this podcast 15 percent off any order. You can simply use the code BIGGAYFICTION, that’s all one word, at checkout. We certainly hope you’ll have a look at all the cool things that they have to offer, including their selection of gay romances and YA books.
Will: So before we get into this week’s interview, I know you have read some books recently that you are very eager to talk about.
Stars in Your Eyes by Kacen Callender
Jeff: I absolutely am. I want to tell you first about two books that I’ve read that have a backdrop of Hollywood.
First up is the extraordinary “Stars in Your Eyes” by Kacen Callender. This is Kacen’s first adult romance after a number of YA books, including the best selling “Felix Ever After,” and “This is Kind of an Epic Love Story.” And this is an incredible fake dating, grumpy/sunshine, workplace romance that will keep you turning pages to find out what’s gonna happen next.
Logan Gray is a Hollywood bad boy that everyone loves to hate. And all of that hate feeds the wounds that he’s carried for years. Mattie Cole, on the other hand, is a ray of sunshine and an up and comer in the industry, but he is plagued by many insecurities. Logan and Mattie are cast together in the queer romance “Write Anything” about two authors who have to work together and end up falling in love. Things start to go wrong with the production, though, when Logan says in an interview that Mattie has no talent. Of course, the studio sees a fake dating scenario as the way out of this PR nightmare.
Logan and Mattie are about as opposite as they come, but they both share trauma and mental health problems. It’s all amplified in the fake dating scenario and the pressure that that adds on both of them. At the same time though, they find that maybe the dating and the feels aren’t so fake after all.
Kacen weaves such an incredibly romantic, funny, sad, dramatic, and ultimately hopeful story that really captured me. Y’all know I don’t usually do stories that carry a lot of angst, but Kacen balanced everything in a way that I could not put this book down. Now I will say, you should mind the content advisory at the front of the book. There’s a lot of heavy stuff here and you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself as you read.
I absolutely love the Hollywood aspects of this story that shows how actors are expected to do what the studio says to get movies made and how that is sometimes not good for them. With this book being dual POV, we get all the highs and lows from Mattie and Logan. There’s also some material in here from like the press and some social media stuff, excerpts from Mattie’s autobiography, notes from Logan’s therapy sessions, and more material that helps to bring all of this to life beyond just what we get to see from the characters themselves.
This was one of those books where I was absolutely not so sure how it could possibly come together in the end, but I love where Kacen left Mattie and Logan. I really enjoyed everything about “Stars in Your Eyes,” from the romance, to the behind the scenes of Hollywood, and to watch these two men start to heal themselves from everything that’s happened in their past, while forging some promising future.
I really hope you’ll add “Stars in Your Eyes” to your reading list. And I gotta give a shout out too to the great audiobook, which features nine narrators that helps bring all of this stuff to life. It was a really well done large cast audiobook.
Tempted by the Bollywood Star by Sophia Singh Sasson
Next up is the second chance romance “Tempted by the Bollywood Star,” which is a Harlequin Desires by Sophia Singh Sasson. Actress Saira Sethi is hoping to break out of her Bollywood stardom and into some mainstream Hollywood success with a role in a high profile TV series. Now, producing this show is Mia Strome, someone who Saira had an affair with years ago while on vacation. Saira walked away from her feelings for Mia because she didn’t want to risk her public image, and the much needed income that she earned to take care of her parents and sister.
Saira is still wrestling with all of those feelings, and Mia is certainly thrilled to see her again, but is also unsure of if she should try to get involved again because she doesn’t want to get hurt.
Sophia does such an incredible job of showing how much these two really want and even need each other, but also the heartache of the situations that threatened to keep them apart. The book offers a look at Indian culture as well. What it means to be queer and the tradition of taking care of your parents and family. It’s certainly something that we don’t see explored much in queer romances, and it’s really great to find that in this story.
Hollywood is also in the forefront here, as is Bollywood, with the expectations on the talent in front of the camera and behind it. The series Mia and Saira are working on is carefully monitored by the studio for budget and time. And while it is a high profile series, there’s also the threat that it’s always there to have the plug pulled on it if it’s not going right. It’s a lot for Mia and Saira to deal with, while also figuring out their feelings for each other, and if those feelings can survive, what else is happening in their lives.
This was my first romance from Sophia, and I so much enjoyed it. So I highly recommend that you check out “Tempted by the Bollywood Star.” And while you can find that as a standalone ebook, there’s also an ebook, as well as a paperback, where “Tempted by the Bollywood Star” is paired with LaQuette’s latest, the very book that we’re going to be talking to her about, which is “Secret Heir for Christmas.”
Secret Heir for Christmas by LaQuette
So let’s get into the holiday spirit now and talk a little bit about that book. You’re going to hear throughout my interview with LaQuette what I loved about “Secret Heir for Christmas.” And I want to emphasize here that you need to pick up this book and read this incredible romance. I really don’t have enough adjectives to describe how much I loved this book. And it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the previous books in the “Devereaux Inc.” series. That’s not going to affect your reading of this one one bit.
Stephan and Carter have such a wonderful romance, initially working together to make a Christmas party happen in a very short amount of time. But they can’t resist each other, though, despite the ways that their pasts have hurt them. And their romance ends up running so deep they have no choice but to give in to it. This was another page turner for me. And one of the things that really drew me into this, and you’ll hear me talk to LaQuette about it, is just the love that pours off the pages of this book. LaQuette’s given us a romance that brings all of the feels you could ever want. It is truly extraordinary.
So let’s get on to my chat with Laquette. She’s going to tell us what led to “Secret Heir for Christmas” being part of the “Devereaux Inc.” series, including that series connections to the 80s nighttime soap opera “Dynasty.” We also discussed the current state of diversity in the romance genre, which of course is something that LaQuette has long been a champion of. And, it’s the Christmas season, so, you know, we’re going to talk about some Christmas traditions as well.
Jeff: LaQuette, it’s so exciting to have you back here on the show and to celebrate Christmas too. Welcome.
LaQuette: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be back here and hang out a bit with you.
Jeff: I absolutely loved “Secret Heir for Christmas.” Look at this gorgeous cover. If you’re on the video feed, you can see this gorgeous cover that we’ve got here for this book.
LaQuette: When I got that cover, I really did just like deep sigh when I saw it because it was so beautiful. It was everything that I wanted it to be. Just happy and joyful and the models were gorgeous, of course.
But, one of the things I had stated to Harlequin was, I want an embrace on the cover. I don’t want like them looking like they’re not attached. I want this, I want people to know that they are a couple and that they are madly in love and they came through big time. I absolutely love that.
Jeff: The love that radiates off the cover, and we’ll talk about this a little bit more as we go to, but love just radiates in this book and it starts with that cover image. Absolutely.
LaQuette: Yeah, it’s very much giving like, you know, we are into holiday movies like we do the whole Hallmark holiday hop and Lifetime holiday every fall and winter seasons, right? We do this. That cover very much gives that feel of “Oh, this is a holiday romance movie we’re about to enjoy. That’s deeply sentimental and just fun.”
Jeff: Absolutely. For the “Devereaux” series, Harlequin’s done so well by you with those covers. Cause they are all every single one of them gorgeous.
LaQuette: Yes, they are. I really cannot complain. They have always taken my concern with respect to covers, because I deeply as a black woman who’s writing black characters, it’s very important for me to represent the characters who are actually in the book.
And they have been so supportive in my desire to present characters as they are written. And I really cannot complain about any of the covers I’ve had from them because they have been… I love all of them equally. My reaction to all of them has always been this overwhelming shock and surprise at how gorgeous they are.
I’ve never opened one and gone, “Oh my God, this is terrible.” Every single time I get that file, it’s like they outdid themselves again. I’m very grateful to work with them and just so appreciative of what an awesome partner they have been and me trying to stay true to who I am as a writer and the characters that I create.
Jeff: Good job, Harlequin cover people, if you’re listening.
LaQuette: They’re awesome.
Jeff: Now, before we get into “Secret Heir for Christmas,” for those who may not have picked up the “Devereux, Inc.” series in general, give us a little bit of background on what this series is and who these people are.
LaQuette: So, I guess it’s about four or five years ago now my then editor, well, he wasn’t my editor then, but he was an editor at Harlequin. His name was Charles Griemsman. And he came to me and said, “Hey, I would like you to write something for Harlequin.”
And I thought he was joking because Harlequin, at the time, I did not really see them publishing anything that looked like anything that I was writing. And so, my response to him was, “I don’t really think that’s a good idea because my work is intentionally very black and intentionally very Brooklyn. That’s my voice when I’m writing. And I don’t know that Harlequin is really ready for that. And I don’t intend on changing that. So I don’t want us to be frustrated by working with each other.”
And he says, “No, I have read “Under His Protection.” I thought it was a wonderful book. And I think you have a great voice for category. And I’d love to see what you can do in a Harlequin category.”
And, so I felt challenged to create like the blackest thing that I could, the blackest and Brooklynist thing that I could ever create. And so, he said to me, he wants to read about an affluent black family from Brooklyn. And I said, so you want me to write “Dynasty” but with black folks and set in Brooklyn?
And he said, yeah that’s actually exactly what I want you to write. And so I got you, I can do that. And I think within two days I had a completed proposal for him because I was so excited about this idea of getting to write this sort of family drama written story that travels throughout each book and this ensemble cast, because I always do ensemble cast anyway. But to get to see how each of these ensemble cast members finds their own individual love.
And I came up with this family called the Devereauxs, which is a nod to Diane Carroll’s character, Dominique Devereaux from the original “Dynasty” series, the 1980s primetime soap opera. And she was the first black woman, black person cast on “Dynasty,” I think, if I’m not mistaken. And so I felt like I had to sort of pay homage to her.
And so I created this Devereaux family that was a very wealthy family in Brooklyn. But even though they were very wealthy, they were very broken apart. They were not… The patriarch of the family is dying. And he has been separated, estranged from his only son for over 30 years. And his son is still very angry about all the things that caused the rift between them.
And he sort of passes that anger on to his daughter and the patriarch Ace’s granddaughter, Trey. And in her attempt to, to sort of get retribution for her father, she seeks to destroy Ace but ends up falling in love with him as a grandfather, right? She feels he’s the enemy, but ends up really respecting this man and all that he’s built and understanding that he’s flawed and human and maybe he’s not really the evil monster her father thinks he is and through that experience and that exposure with Ace, she and the man that she falls in love with, which is the ward of Ace Devereaux. They sort of bring the family back together to make it whole again before Ace dies.
And each book that follows is really just more time that we get to spend seeing the family through love and through the impending loss of this man that they’ve all loved and who supported all of them. Finding love through that really difficult time, but also learning the value of appreciating your family and family familial bonds.
Jeff: There’s so much we’re going to talk about within what you just said as we keep going. It’s interesting the connection to “Dynasty” because from late last year into this year, Will and I took a trip backwards in time and started watching “Falcon Crest,” which was available on Amazon Prime Video.
LaQuette: Oh, I’ve got to find it! I own all of the seasons of “Dynasty,” but I didn’t know “Falcon Crest” was there. I’ll definitely…
Jeff: It is there for your streaming pleasure. We watched all nine seasons.
LaQuette: Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Jeff: And I had never watched it. That was kind of the show he watched.
I had watched “Dynasty” starting somewhere in season five when Michael Praed showed up as the Prince of Moldavia because I kind of had a thing for him from when he was doing “Robin Hood” on Showtime.
LaQuette: I remember that.
Jeff: So I started watching that, and then Emma Samms showed up, because I was a big fan of hers from “General Hospital.”
Jeff: So I watched that, and I watched “The Colbys,” and I didn’t get to the end of “Dynasty,” because I don’t even remember why. But we’ve just started re-watching “Dynasty” recently as well. We’re in the middle of season four right now. And as I started reading this, I’m like, I could see why LaQuette says that this is “Dynasty” because you can see the fingerprints all over it. I was wondering about Devereux connecting to Dominique. Is Stephan connected to Steven?
LaQuette: Yeah. So when I initially sold this series to Harlequin. It was a three book series and it was only supposed to focus on these three cousins, the three women cousins who are Trey, Amara, and Lyric. And I knew that there were other cousins Stephan being one of them, but at the time, Harlequin had not yet published male/male romances within their category line.
And. So my editor, Charles, was not sure we were going to be able to get them to agree to that. And I kept saying to him, “Hey you said you wanted ‘Dynasty,’ right? Well, if, the Carringtons had Steven, the Devereaux’s need Stephan.” And I said, “And we need to bring…”
Steven’s story was so tragic on “Dynasty,” where we never really got to see him have a happy, healthy, as a gay man. He was pushed into being very heteronormative which caused all of that drama with Sammy Jo and all of that. And all that could have been avoided. And his father really treated him terribly. Like Blake Carrington was horrible.
It really bothered me that Steven never really had his happily ever after. And then we don’t really get to see him living in his truth until that “Dynasty” reunion that happened some years later, but never in the original show.
In the original show, Blake kills one of his partners and under the auspice of I’m protecting my son. Like you’re defiling my son and I’m protecting him.
And I just wanted, in my version of “Dynasty,” that Steven would have his happily ever after and not only would he have his happily ever after but he would have a loving and supportive patriarch that would encourage him to seek love and encourage him…
I mean the issue of his sexuality is not an issue in the book. He is who he is, and that is enough for the family. But the fact that his patriarch is telling him you need love and you can’t just carry all of the burdens of the family and not have someone to be your soft cushion, to protect you from all that you’re going to have to bear as you carry this name. You need that and I wanted that for Steven, and so that’s why it was very important to me that Stephan get his book.
And after the first three books did so well, Harlequin came back and said, hey, do you want to write another book for this series, or another couple books for this series? And I was like, sure, great. But if we’re going to do this. I need for Stephan to have his book, which means Stephan gets his story. And they agreed.
And I was very fortunate, by the time I actually started writing it, Charles had left, but I was still very fortunate to work with John Jacobson who is phenomenal and they really helped me find my voice in this story because this was a first for the Desire line for Harlequin. It was a first male/male. It was my first like holiday story. I wasn’t really sure how all of that was gonna mix together. But John, they were wonderful. They really just like, “Girl, you got this. You can do this and you can be who you are as a writer in this story, and you don’t have to worry about anything. Just do you.”
And just having that sort of support from them and that sort of space to be free as a writer. It was why I feel I was able to do any sort of justice to Stephan’s story.
Jeff: As you said that, I was realizing too that the other male/male Harlequins that have been out there have been, I believe, all in Special Edition and not in Desires.
LaQuette: There’s also been one in Romantic Suspense too. I haven’t read that one yet. There’s been one in Romantic Suspense, but none of them were in Desire. This is the first one in Desire. And so I was… I didn’t necessarily have performance anxiety, but I cared very much how it was perceived. I cared very much the kind of story I was going to tell.
And I cared very much that I wasn’t,,, I wasn’t going to make a mess of this. I needed for Stephan and Carter to have a happy story that had nothing to do with struggling because of their identity. I never wanted that to be part of anything in the construction of the story.
And creating this story that is… it’s a very heartwarming story. It’s heartbreaking too because they’re losing this man that has been so supportive to them and trying to navigate impending grief while also trying to figure out how to fall in love, right? And they’re really in a difficult position. But I always wanted them to feel like they had family to protect them, to fall back on, to connect with.
And so that’s why writing the Devereaux’s was so important to me because I wanted to be able to show that sort of family unity that sometimes we don’t always get the opportunity to see when we’re looking at mainstream stories that are featuring black families. We get stories about the broken black family, but we don’t get stories about the unified black family and they exist. We do exist.
So I wanted him, especially as a black gay man, to have this sort of strong support system that was always going to be there for him no matter what. And I wanted that for Carter too, as a Latinx man, to have a strong support system that was going to help him get through all of these things that he had to work through in the story.
Jeff: Before we totally exit the “Dynasty” idea, I have to ask why “Dynasty” and not one of the other 80s nighttime soaps that all dealt with family to some degree or another?
LaQuette: I was really young when “Dynasty” was on, so I think “Dynasty” went off in 89 or something like that if I’m not mistaken, so I would have been like 12 when that was ending. And “Dynasty” was really big in my house. My grandma and my mom watched “Knots Landing” so I do remember the characters from “Knots Landing.” ” Dallas,” not so much. “Falcon Crest” I only remember, like I remember Lorenzo Lamas and I think that’s where my fixation with him. Once he became… What was that character’s name from “Renegade?” Reno, I think.
Jeff: I think so, yeah.
LaQuette: Once he became Reno Raines, I was obsessed. I watched everything that man was in. Every B movie he starred in, I watched, because I fell in love. But that was pretty much all I really remembered from “Falcon Crest.” So I couldn’t really draw on the dynamics.
Stephan’s mother is Alexis personified, right?
Jeff: Yes, she is.
LaQuette: Yes, she is. Alexis personified. So in order to really embody the essence of that show I, I don’t think I could have done that without having the attachment to Dynasty that I did.
Jeff: So let’s finally get into it. Tell us what the romance is for Stephan and Carter and what just makes this book so good.
LaQuette: Oh, poor Stephan and Carter they are just so misguided. They both have no clue. And I think that’s why it was kind of fun to play with them because they really, like, from their first meeting, they have this really off kilter meeting that’s not very sexy, but so cute. And they don’t realize from them that they’re just like, they fallen already.
And they spend so much time in this book attempting to fight the fact that they fallen because Stephan has… he’s the family secret bearer, and he has a doozy of a secret that he knows can destroy the entire family. And having to hold that secret has eroded his soul, so to speak. It’s kept him exiled from his family for fear of revealing that secret and destroying the family.
And he only comes home when he recognizes that his patriarch, mentor, and great uncle Ace is dying and he needs to come home. But even while he’s home, he’s not comfortable. Not because his family doesn’t try to make him comfortable, but because he knows he’s bearing the secret that if any of them knew, they might not be as caring and loving to him.
So he has learned to keep people at arm’s length because the one time he trusted someone he was blackmailed to keep the information quiet. And so he is just been living for the last two years in emotional misery because he can’t be with the people he loves because he doesn’t want to hurt the people that he loves.
And Carter is another misguided one because Carter is a widower who, the love of his life, she was everything. He was an actor on Hollywood. Had an amazing career and he loses his wife in sort of a Princess Di sort of situation with paparazzi.
And it teaches him that he has to… like, he blames himself for that. If it hadn’t been for his fame, he doesn’t believe that his wife would have been endangered by the paparazzi. And he also blames himself for the fact that their daughter, who is now five or six doesn’t have a mother anymore, has missed the opportunity to know this beautiful woman growing up.
And so he takes that and decides, I have to leave everything behind in Hollywood. And I’m going to go back home to Brooklyn where I know it’s a different vibe with celebrities, like people aren’t really in your face like that and people are not as concerned in Brooklyn about who you are and what you’re doing as long as you’re not, blocking their path on the sidewalk.
Jeff: So true.
LaQuette: He comes home to sort of you know, heal. But also he ends up using this move as sort of a cocoon to protect himself from the outside world and to keep himself from ever knowing the pain of loss again, which makes it really difficult when he meets this man that, for some reason, he just can’t get enough of. Like, from their first meeting Stephan is under his skin and without even trying like Stephan isn’t really trying to get under his skin. But he just… he can’t walk away from this man. And so he actually finds ways to sort of insinuate himself into Stephan’s life, not really realizing that the reason he’s doing all of this is because he’s fallen in love with him.
Jeff: What made this a story to tell at the holidays? Did you always envision Stephan’s story as a holiday thing, or did that kind of just come up?
LaQuette: I did not. So Harlequin came to me and said, “Hey, we’d like it to be a holiday story. Think you can do that?”
Jeff: All right.
LaQuette: So, because they’re… like holiday… Category readers are a different breed of romance readers. Like, all romance readers are voracious. But because categories tend to be shorter, category romance novels are to romance what espresso is to coffee, right? It’s a straight, concentrated shot of romance. And these folks devour these books, and they like the sentimental, because categories tend to be a little bit more sentimental than single title romances or trade romances.
And… category readers love that. And what is more sentimental than a holiday romance? That is their catnip. And when I say their, I include myself in that. I am a holiday romance reader. I again, we love our holiday Hallmark movies and Lifetime movies. So, it’s just something that as a category reader, you are excited about every year.
And so when Harlequin asked, I was excited to do it, but I hadn’t really written a holiday book before. And also the fact that I knew that Ace was dying, right? The whole thread through this series is that this man is dying. I didn’t know how that was really going to work… the holiday. But, fortunately, I think we turned it around and made it acceptable.
Jeff: Did all of the Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies that you’ve taken in help influence what you did here?
LaQuette: Oh, absolutely. So that whole like montage of how they have to have a thing that they have to do together and work on together, and that is, through working on that thing, that’s how they sort of fall in love. And that thing in this respect is that Ace decides he wants to have a good old fashioned Devereaux family Christmas celebration, because he knows it’s going to be his last. And so he wants all of his Devereaux family near and far to come out and have this big celebration where they can be a family in its entirety one last time.
And so it’s kind of bittersweet, right? But at the same time. And Stephan doesn’t want to do it because he feels it’s a little bit morbid. He’s like, so you want me to plan this party because you plan to die and you’re not going to have another one of these? This is morbid. But out of respect for Ace and love for Ace, he decides I gotta make this wish happen for him. Anyway, I have to make it happen.
And that’s where Carter comes in, who is a lounge owner of a very popular lounge in the Devereaux world. That he created specifically for celebrities and wealthy people to be able to get away from the sort of pitfalls of fame. And so he’s well, I have a little bit of experience with event planning, I can help you if you need me to. And that sort of sets them on this journey of learning about each other and falling in love.
I mean, Stephan, in the beginning is just like, listen, I would just like to hook up. That’s really all I would like to do. I think we could really just hook up and enjoy and go about our separate ways and it’d be great. But Carter’s a little iffy with all of that, because again, he’s a father, he has a daughter to think about. He is really careful about who he allows in his life because of his daughter and so he’s like, I don’t know, I’m not really feeling that. Let’s just work on this thing we got going on here. But, lo and behold, this party planning is really what becomes the catalyst for them learning each other enough to really fall in love.
Jeff: What made Carter right to pair up with Stephan in the world of the Devereauxs?
LaQuette: So Carter is the best friend of Lennox, who is the hero in book three. He’s married to Stephan’s cousin, Amara. And Carter was the person that really helped Lennox see how much of a jerk he was being and how he was about to lose the best thing in his life because he was too stubborn to see Amara. What he and Amara shared was so much different than what his parents shared, which kind of scarred him a bit.
And he really goes hard on Stephan and tells him, as much as I miss my late wife every day, even knowing how it would end, I would still do it all over again just to have the opportunity to love her. Loving her was that great of a thing. And even though I know it was gonna be ripped away from me in such a tragic way, I would still do it again. I’d still go through all of that pain again just to be able to love her again.
And I just thought anyone who could say that and mean it, like they so deserve a good love story. But they also, because they had that love of their life sort of situation, they probably would be a little skeptical in ever being able to obtain that again, because if capturing lightning in a bottle twice once is amazing enough, but to do it twice is probably impossible.
And so he might want love, but he was very skeptical of the practical aspects of falling in love again. And so I thought that someone who understood love and knew what love was, and as deeply as Carter loved his late wife, I felt he was the perfect pairing for someone who knew familial love, but had never had the opportunity to have a partner relationship where his romantic partner was supporting him and giving him everything that he needed to really be the best him he could be.
The moments we get to see Carter with his daughter, he’s very loving and caring and patient with her. And he, like that personality quirk of his, I felt would be really good for someone like Stephan, who had never really grown up in a situation where people were patient with him. He was the change of life child, right? There’s more than 20 years between he and his older brother. His mother and his father, like they were sort of done by the time he came along and didn’t really give him the attention and the care that he needed growing up. He got that from Ace instead.
And so because he understands what it is to really not necessarily be welcome in a space where he’s supposed to be welcome at. It made sense to have someone who would take that time with him, who would give him that care and support and that nurturing that he wasn’t necessarily used to having from his nuclear family.
Jeff: I loved Carter’s daughter so much. I know children can sometimes be polarizing in romances. But the care, as you just mentioned that Carter has for her, the things that grow between her and Stephan and the whole hair braiding thing that happens, throughout the story. It’s just like, awww.
LaQuette: Well, you’re right children can be very polarizing in a romance. And I was reminded of that while writing this, “Okay, you’re putting this little girl in here, but just make sure the whole story is not about her.” And so initially when I wrote the story, I think like the first draft, she wasn’t really present all that much.
And so John was like, we need to see a little bit more interaction between she and Stephan to really sort of solidify… especially because Carter is so hyper protective of her that he’s basically moved his entire life to protect her. We need to see that she bonds with Stephan.
And so I’m like, okay, well, how do little kids bond with their elders? And one of the things I was always touched by was like hair care in the black community, especially when you’re a kid growing up. The time you spend getting your hair done. That’s really love that’s being shown to you. To be taking care of the washing, the detangling, the conditioning. It’s a long process. And then scalp treatments and braiding your hair.
Culturally, it’s just such a significant thing. And so I thought that the best way that Stephan could show Carter that he was serious about being with him, even if in his own mind he wasn’t really doing it for that reason. He was just having fun with this little girl who wanted her hair braided, but Carter didn’t know how to braid it.
And so, he’s well, my cousin and I, we braided each other’s hair all the time. I can do it for you if your dad is okay with it. And that it becomes this thing that bonds them because Carter sees it and he’s my goodness, like that… he sees it for what it is, the love and the care and the concern.
And also the connection to culture because Carter’s wife was black and he is Puerto Rican. And so. It’s very important to him that she has both those sorts of influences in her life. So his late wife’s mother lives with them to do that, like to be able to help keep that cultural significance alive from his wife’s side of the family.
And having Stephan come in and sort of pick up right where her grandmother had left off. I think the grandmother is like visiting or something or another at that time. And so to pick up and still be able to give her that loving cultural experience, it’s something that’s really touching to Carter. And we see it later on, at the end of the book when they’re all like going through their heavy emotions, it’s sort of a way in which she uses to sort of help Stephan move past his grief.
And I just thought it would be a really… it was the most sincere act I felt like I could put on the page that would feel natural and not sort of constructed. And how kids and adults really, like, how they really work, especially when you’re talking about an adult that’s not a part of the family that’s sort of coming into the situation.
I wanted her to be comfortable around him. I wanted Stephan to be comfortable around her and I wanted Carter to feel at ease when his daughter was in the presence of Stephan. And that was one of the only ways I could think of that I thought would make it work.
Jeff: Yeah, it was just so beautiful. The relationship with the three of them. I can only imagine what it’s like years down the road for them as well.
We mentioned at the beginning, and we’ve just talked a little bit more about the love that’s here. Cause it’s love way beyond just Stephan and Carter figuring out their HEA. There’s so much love that just pours off of this book with Stephan and his family, and Carter and his family and his mother in law who is still living with them, and the Devereaux siblings with each other. And it’s… I don’t really know how to put into words what it was like.
So I want to give you probably the equally hard question of like, how did you capture that the way that you do?
LaQuette: I think that was really my experience growing up. The thing is culturally, and this is actually something that I’m discussing right now in my Ph. D. courses, where because of slavery, Black people were ripped away from their cultural practices in Africa, and sort of forced into a situation in enslavement where they had to… they could not build families like the Western nuclear family. They could not have the mother, father, and children in one space because they were treated as commodities and could be sold off at any time or killed, or just having someone who was close to you, or part of that connection, that familial connection, ripped away.
And so it became this sort of community of care situation where everyone was your mama, everyone was your father, everyone was your grandma, and your auntie. And, culturally, I have a lot of aunties that are not related to me, but they are still my aunties.
And so there’s this thing where, like, my sister’s kids are not my nieces and nephews. They are my kids, right? My best friend’s kids, they’re my nieces and nephews, right? You know, you grab family wherever you can and bring them together. And so the Devereauxs are very much like that. They are this very wealthy family, but they’ve not always been an intact family.
And Trey’s coming back in the first book and is the first step in sort of bringing all of those pieces of the family together. These cousins, although they are… Three of them are related by blood. One of them is related by through her marriage to Stephan’s late brother. And one of them Ace just found on the street and was like, you need a family and I need a son to love, let me bring you in.
And so they really represented a lot of how black families look and how they come to be. And so I wanted that feeling of growing up on the block and going to see Auntie Brenda, but Auntie Brenda is in no way blood related to me, but she’s still my auntie and has all the rights therefore too of an auntie, right?
And I wanted that because that was very much part of my upbringing and it was very much really important to me, right? Because my mother didn’t raise me alone. She really had an entire village to raise me. And that is definitely what Stephan needs at this moment in his life. He needs an entire village because he’s gone through so much alone in his self driven exile.
He needs the people around him that love him to let him know, we love you and we have you, you can let down this burden. And without that, he’s not able to love Carter completely, love Carter’s daughter completely. He’s not able to love himself completely. And he’s not able to love his family in a positive way.
He loves his family but from a place of loss is how he moves through the book, for a good portion of the book, even though he’s still present. He still has a great sense of loss because of the secrets he has to bear and having him in a situation where it can’t just be his mama that’s the issue. Like he has to have an entire village to help him understand that he too is worthy of love, that he’s worthy of being chosen.
Jeff: The fact that you could make all of that resonate off of the printed page, it’s just oh. Please teach a class in that sometime.
LaQuette: A lot of it is experience as well, right?
Jeff: I think it is what you’ve just described is not an experience that I have, which would impede me from being able to do that same kind of thing. But if you can capture just writing the love somehow and make it transcend beyond that. I would so sign up for that class.
LaQuette: I’ll see if I can figure that out.
Jeff: I don’t know if that’s even possible because it’s definitely one of those areas where so much of this book draws on that cultural aspect of it, that an author, like yourself, has to be the one that brings that to the page.
LaQuette: Thank you. I’m glad you could appreciate it. I’m glad you could read it, and feel it, and experience it because that’s the reason I write. Like, I write with Blackness centered, but I don’t write to exclude everyone else from experiencing what’s in my books? And so the fact that someone who isn’t a part of the culture can read this and still connect with it, that really warms my heart because that is my purpose in writing, to share how I see my Blackness, how I love it, how, it really is this sort of serenade that I’m trying to share with the rest of the world so they see why I love it, so. And so the fact that you can grasp that, I really do appreciate it.
Jeff: Interesting talking about this and thinking about, you mentioned that the Devereaux series was one of the first Harlequin series that brought black characters very much forward and written by a black author. Around the same time that happened, there was a lot of stuff going on about representation in romance, which would be about 2019-ish, I guess. How do you think we’ve come four years down the line in that realm?
LaQuette: That’s a loaded question.
Jeff: It is a bit of a loaded question.
LaQuette: Oh well, first, let me just correct you. There were other stories centering Black people written by Black authors at Harlequin and in the Desire line. So, Reese Ryan was writing. Brenda Jackson, of course. Rochelle Alers, Yahrah St. John, Nadine Gonzalez, Adriana Herrera. There were a bunch of us that were doing it, but I think where mine was different is that it just really focused on Brooklyn a lot. And really brought that Brooklyn-ness to it.
And those authors were bringing their cultural and geographical experience to their situations. I know Reese Ryan writes a lot about being in Tennessee, which I think she either lives in or near. So it was happening, but the thing is I pretty much just named those authors on, like, a hand or, you know, and a couple of fingers maybe, right? That’s it. So when you compare that to how many books that have been published by white authors, and we can just be talking about Harlequin’s categories specifically. Even if we’re just sticking directly to the Desire line, it’s overwhelmingly white. Like what myself and my counterparts were doing numbers wise, statistically is very small compared to what the establishment is, which is white authors writing through a white lens for white characters. And not to say there’s anything wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that because I’ve enjoyed those books too.
But, the issue has always been that can’t be the only representation of romance, right? That can’t be. Who decided, like, when was the meeting where we decided that this model of romance was going to be the depiction for all romance? And that was the question. Not that we don’t want to see lovely white folks falling in love. We love y’all white folks. We want to see y’all falling in love too. But we also want to see us and other people from other marginalized communities falling in love as well, because we’re all on this earth together. And we do move in the world from different bodies and we look through different lenses.
And so we should all get the opportunity to see how love looks from our particular lens. I think around 2019, as you said, these conversations started to pop up around marginalized communities, Black and POC communities, as well as the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled community, like people who were normally shoved to the margins, we wanted to see ourselves too.
And I will say that working with Harlequin, I have always, from day one, they have always worked tirelessly to really help me represent my characters as I see fit. I have never felt in any way pressured to whitewash my characters or tone my Blackness down in my books. And that has been one of the reasons why I have been so fortunate to work with them.
I’ve had the same experience with St. Martin’s Press with my romantic comedies. I’ve never felt pressured to whitewash my characters or make them less Black or make Black culture less significant in my books as well. And the same with my covers with St. Martin’s Press. They have been so supportive in making sure that I have covers that represent the characters that I’ve created.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and that is still not the norm in romance. So while we have definitely made some strides, and I will not dismiss the strides, the steps that we have taken to become a more diverse community, a more diverse genre, there’s still a lot of work to be done because the beautiful white heterosexual able bodied couple is still the mascot for romance, right?
That’s who we see when we think about romance. We don’t necessarily see those of us who are from marginalized communities as the representation of that. Like, we are the sort of offshoot, the branch of that, but we’re not the main focus at all. And so until we get to a space where that’s not the case, where only white people are seen as the model, the representation, the example of romance, we will continue to have a lot of work to do.
Jeff: I mean, we’ll keep pushing to do that work and highlight those books and push forward so everybody gets to see their happily ever after.
LaQuette: That’s why a podcast like yours is so important and so amazing because it’s one of the only places where I can go to get recs for books that I might never know about looking through the mainstream, right? I might never know about any of the authors you’re talking about if all I do is peruse mainstream avenues for my books.
It’s the same thing with romance and color that focuses on books by BIPOC authors. Without those sorts of outlets, folks might not know about books like mine, books like yours. So it’s very important that we keep putting our voices out there. We keep writing those books that feature characters and stories that speak of our cultures and share our cultures with the rest of the world. Through books develops empathy and through empathy provides a path of connection for people to sort of learn from each other and get past all of the social constructs like race and gender and all of these things that society has put a label on to sort of keep us separated.
All those things will begin to melt away, and that’s why being able to know about these sorts of books that show our people in everyday situations, right? So often the only type of stories we get are struggle stories. And for those of you that don’t know what struggle stories are, struggle stories are rooted in the fact that because of your identity, you’re struggling in life, right?
And people who outside of the culture have come to expect these stories, right? So when you write a story that’s not that they’re a little bit confused. Like they want to see Steven Carrington, who is completely emasculated by his father because he is gay, who is forced into these horrible situations because he is gay. They want to read stories where Black people are destitute, struggling, can’t feed themselves, can’t find work because they’re Black. And I refuse. Like my rebellion is to write stories that show us having joy and loving our blackness because there’s nothing that is wrong with it.
And so, like we’ve endured some stuff because other people thought there was something wrong with it. But our struggle, although it may continue, is not the defining character. It’s not the definition of who we are. And so it’s very important that you and I continue to write books, and talk about books like ours, put them out there so that people understand that we are deserving of joy and love and that we can be celebrating our best lives and still make room for love.
We don’t all have to be in misery and then, only through that misery have we earned the ability to love, which is kind of like gross in a way, you know.
Jeff: Little bit.
LaQuette: That idea is kind of gross.
So, I’m about reading joy. And so when I pick up your books, when I pick up other people’s books who are writing from their cultural experiences, like every time I pick up a Nisha Sharma book, I am in love because I see how she loves her culture as a South Asian woman.
Every time I pick up a Mia Sosa book or an Adriana Herrera book where they are showing their love for their Latinx culture, I love it because it’s an opportunity to get to learn a bit more about them, about their people, about their history. I mean, it’s terrible that we have to bear the burden of it as people who are from these communities, but who better to tell our stories than us? Who better to show the world how we love than us?
Jeff: So I’ve got a question for you from our Patreon community. Tessa asks, I’ve read several of your m/f books. She says that “Lies You Tell” is her favorite and of course read “Under His Protection.” Do you approach your m/m books differently from your m/f books?
LaQuette: I don’t think so because I just see two people falling in love. I don’t know if y’all know this or not, but I’m not really a gay man, so. I’ve never pretended to be. So if you have that impression, please let me disabuse you of it. I am not a gay man. So I can’t really write from the experience of what it is to be a gay man and I don’t try to.
I started reading male/male probably like 13, 14 years ago. And one of the things I recognized when I started reading it was I couldn’t find… I was like, where are all the happy black men falling in love? Like, where’s that happening at? And I couldn’t find it. And so I decided to write happy endings for the black men that I wasn’t seeing. The way I approach it is not to write gay men. I’m writing people. And my experience, my books are rooted in Black culture because that’s the culture that I know. That’s the culture that I can speak from with authority. And so even though I write male/male books, they are heavily rooted in Black culture and that’s the culture that you’re seeing expressed throughout the book.
And so I try very hard not to tip into those spaces where I’m trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about for what it is to be a gay man, because I don’t. And my marginalization as a black woman, while it might give me empathy and a little bit understanding of what it is to be marginalized, I don’t know what it is to be marginalized in that particular way.
So, I don’t approach them differently. I mean, yes, intellectually, I know that they’re different. I know, of course, sexually things are going to be different and how they perform sexual acts. But I don’t look at their emotion differently. And I think the only thing I also try hard not to do is I try not to make my men present as emotional women, because sometimes I find in reading romance with gay men, emotionally at least one of them is always turned into the woman in that respect, and I don’t view them like that. So I try very hard to approach it from a human perspective and let my readers fill in the details themselves.
So there’s no difference in my approach. I’m not that complicated. I’m not that skilled. I’m just writing about folks falling in love. Their gender identity really, it could be anything at that point. It’s just I want my folks to fall in love.
Jeff: And since we’re talking about a holiday book and we’re getting into the holiday season, got to ask you a little bit about Christmas. What is a favorite tradition that you’ve got with your family that you can share?
LaQuette: So again, we have this whole village thing going on, right? So first of all, we have to, it has to be at one of our houses. So it’s either my house or my sister’s house. And that generally means us coming over, cooking, cooking up a storm, cooking all of our family favorites, cultural favorites. Things that our grandmother used to spend time cooking for us and with us.
Now we do it for our mom and our kids and our spouses. We, in this house, we decorate the Christmas tree on my birthday because my birthday is November 30th. So, we usually decorate the Christmas tree and no, we don’t have a real Christmas tree. If you know anything about me, I like cute color coordinated things. So I have a big, beautiful white plastic tree that I go crazy with every year with different color coordination themes. I think last year it might’ve been black and silver. This year, I’m not sure yet. I haven’t chosen a color. I think we might do blue and silver this year cause I like a good blue and silver tree.
And we put the tree up on my birthday, get everything ready. And then we spend most of December figuring out what the menu is going to be cause the menu is a big thing. So in Black culture, for certain holidays, like we are very particular about our food and we are very particular about who makes our food. And so certain people have certain assignments.
Don’t bring me something, like, especially like macaroni and cheese, baked macaroni and cheese is a staple and we really care about who made it. And so don’t let somebody that we know can’t cook, make the baked macaroni and cheese, because you will get your feelings hurt at the table.
So we divvy up, who’s making what, who we want to make what. Like my sister’s baked macaroni and cheese is the truth of holiday baked macaroni and cheese. So she has to make that. My mother makes dressing. I can make dressing and it tastes pretty good. But it’s just something about when my mama makes it that it just tastes different and better. And so that’s a holiday thing. So everything you’re going for the best of everything. I’m really good at roasting meat. So turkey or turkey wings or anything like that’s my jam. And candied yams. Like I do a pretty good. holiday candied yams.
But these things are like culturally so significant to us. So even though my grandmother has been gone now, probably for almost 14 years, and… no almost 15 February make 15 years. We still keep a lot of the foods that she would make, the way she would make them, the holiday prayer that we have over the food, like all these things are how we celebrate Christmas.
And then, since I have small people listening, the kids go lay down and Santa comes and does his thing. And then in the morning, the kids get up to see what goodies Santa has brought them. And, we let them play and then they come and wake us up a couple hours later.
My mom used to always, I don’t know if you have ever heard of this, but this little like company, food company that made like little cute miniature foods called Swiss Colony.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
LaQuette: Every year my mom would order like this huge, like miniature, like holiday breakfast set. And I mean, the food was amazing. I don’t know why. Like it really was good, but it’s like cute and tiny and miniature. And so we still do that. Like we still order food from Swiss Colony for Christmas morning that we get up and make for the whole family.
Jeff: Can I invite myself to your house for Christmas?
LaQuette: Please come on. It’s a village. We welcome everyone, come on in, we’ll feed you, give you a good full belly and let you go lay down and enjoy it.
Jeff: I love a good Swiss Colony catalog. Swiss Colony little pop ups in the mall that show up at the holidays.
LaQuette: They’re like… people sleep on Swiss Colony. Their stuff is really good.
Jeff: It really is. Yeah. I would always go for the beef log and the cheeses and the crackers. I was… I never did the breakfast thing. Oh my gosh.
LaQuette: They also have this little ham. So if you eat ham, like they have this miniature glazed ham. The best thing you have ever tasted.
Jeff: Yeah, it is quality stuff.
LaQuette: It really is.
Jeff: Oh, now I’m gonna have to go get a catalog. I haven’t had a catalog of their’s in years.
LaQuette: It’s so good.
Jeff: This episode of the show, brought to you by Swiss Colony.
And I love to know about gifts, like what’s a favorite gift that you’ve received maybe as a child or even as an adult, like what kind of sticks out from Christmases past.
LaQuette: The best, as a kid, like I really loved dolls, right? So I was your typical little girl. Like, my sister hated dolls cause she cared nothing for anything that was remotely classified as feminine and, for those of you listening, I’m putting up air quotes with that, so when I say classified as feminine. And I just loved like Barbies and dolls and my mother was really big on making sure I had things and toys that looked like me. And so Barbie wasn’t always that inclusive.
So one year, the year I finally got Barbie was… I had to be really young at this point. I couldn’t have been more than… I couldn’t have even been 10 I don’t think. And she got me astronaut Barbie and astronaut Barbie was this beautiful, deep brown Black woman with gorgeous hair, beautifully applied makeup, gorgeous outfits, and these amazing four inch pink knee high boots, and with a silver leotard as her astronaut suit with the big bubble that goes over her head.
And when I tell you how I adored that and my corn silk Cabbage Patch doll, which again was a Black… now those dolls were ugly as hell. They really were. Those Cabbage Patch dolls were so ugly, but every kid in the eighties and nineties had to have one. But it was a Black doll with beautiful hair and that I could braid, and play in, and put beads in and do all these things to it. And it was, I think it was the first time I realized how wonderful it was. Like, you don’t know how wonderful it is… you don’t know what you’re missing until you get it and then realize how badly you were missing it all that time.
I kept that Cabbage Patch doll, her name was Danielle, and Astronaut Barbie, like those two, that was the greatest Christmas, besides the year that my mother gave me my first computer so I could start writing. That was the best Christmas as a kid I’d ever had.
Jeff: So we love to get recommendations here. What are you watching or reading that our listeners should be checking out?
LaQuette: I’m currently watching, I think it’s called “Big Love.” I don’t know. [Note: The series is called “Young Love.”] It’s it was based on these children’s book called “Hair Love,” which was about a young black girl whose mother is in the hospital with cancer. And so her father teaches her to love her hair. He learns to do her hair and teaches her to love her hair. And so they’ve created a series on HBO Max based on that and it is the most entertaining thing that you could ever want. I absolutely love it.
Books wise, anything Naima Simone writes, I’m here for it. So she has this rock band series and the third book just came out. It’s on my Kindle. I’m about to hop into that because, again, Naima is my catnip.
If you’re looking for holiday books, Adriana Herrera has several holiday romances. You will not be disappointed.
Jeff: No, you will not.
LaQuette: That woman will write you a sexy holiday romance. She is not playing with you. She is not for the games. If you want a holiday romance, sexy holiday romance, Adriana has got it for you. So please go look her up.
Jeff: What can you tease us about what’s coming up next? And the big question for me is when do we get more queer romance from you too?
LaQuette: I was really happy to be able to get this opportunity to write Stephan and Carter’s story. I don’t often get the opportunity to write as many queer romances as I would like because most of my stuff is traditionally published now. And my established writing is more male/female than it is queer. I think I only have maybe two or three that have been put out into the traditional space. But I definitely want to work on more stories.
I want to do like a small town rom-com with queer characters that are like, based in some teeny tiny little small town in the mountains, like where I live now. That’s really… I would love to be able to do that. So if anyone’s out there listening, any publishers, hollar at your girl.
Jeff: You got to do all of the Brooklyn-ness and now you can do all the Poconos-ness.
LaQuette: Yeah. I really want to see like those… one of the reasons that, I mean… every time Will posts about, what is his name? Luke Macfarlane or something? Is that his name?
LaQuette: I’m all over it because Will has all the goods on wherever this man’s movies are and I love to see him. Whenever I see Will put something up, I’m like, yep, he definitely has my number. No, there’s not enough diversity in Hallmark, there’s nowhere near enough diversity in Hallmark movies just like there’s nowhere near enough diversity in romance, but I do make it my business to watch them when they’re on so that we get more of them.
And so when I see that they’re putting LGBTQ+ couples in main character spaces, I’m all for it, right? So I’m all over those movies and I’m already like Googling to see what the lineup is going to be to see what they’re bringing us this year because I need me another queer romance in a small town somewhere where these two people are falling in love. Like I need it.
So yeah, if I have a desire out there for what I want to… if I’m putting it out into the ether, I’d really love to do a male/male rom-com, like I said, small town rom-com somewhere. It would be like some, really like backwater dude and a city slicker, It would be so funny.
Jeff: Some publisher out there, get in touch with LaQuette, she’s got a book for you.
LaQuette: Exactly, if you want me hollar at your girl, I’m here.
But as for what’s coming up next the Devereuxs have not gone away. I’m actually moving over to Presents, Harlequin Presents, and I’m creating two royalty stories based on two Devereaux cousins who are identical twins from a different branch of the Devereauxs.
Jeff: Oh, fun. Okay.
LaQuette: So we’ll get to see a couple of, well, Stephan is definitely going to be in these books. We’ll get to see he and Carter and their daughter and maybe a couple of the other Devereaux characters sprinkled in these books. But yeah, it’s going to be fun.
What is the best way for people to keep up with you so they know when all this new stuff is coming out and for, anywhere you’re off doing events and things.
LaQuette: So if you go to my website, laquette.com, that’s spelled L A Q U E T T E dot com, you can find all of my upcoming events and upcoming books and things like that. And if you sign up for my newsletter… I am a really sparse newsletter person, so I probably only send it out maybe four times a year, maybe a little bit more if I have a couple of releases. So your inbox will be flooded from me if you sign up. You’ll probably be like, why don’t I ever hear from this chick?
Cause I’m really like, I can’t do more than four times a year. That’s just how I get down. But you can find all of my information on my website and sign up for my newsletter on my website to keep up with me to figure out… cause social media is hit or miss nowadays cause this PhD program doesn’t allow for a lot of that. So if y’all haven’t seen me online that’s why.
Jeff: You are one busy person, that is for sure.
LaQuette, thank you so much for coming and talking to us about Christmas and everything else. We’ll link up to everything in our show notes and can’t wait to see what you put out next.
LaQuette: Well, thank you so much for having me. And you know, I’m always… I mean, I’m such a fan of you and Will, so I’m always happy when I get to come and hang out with either of you.
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, head on over to the show notes page for this episode at BigGayFictionPodcast.com. We’ve got links to everything that we’ve talked about in this episode.
Jeff: And thanks so much to LaQuette for talking to us about “Secret Heir for Christmas.” I am so excited we get to see more of Stephan and Carter in the upcoming book she’s working on for that Harlequin Presents line. And please, someone out there in the publishing world, get in touch with LaQuette and sign her up for the queer small town romance series that she wants to write. I have to say, that’s probably the top thing on my Christmas list, is for her to get to write that.
Will: Alright, I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next on Monday, November 20th, we’ve got even more holiday romances to talk about when author M.A. Wardell visits.
Jeff: I’ve become such a huge fan of M.A. Wardell. I loved “Teacher of the Year” and his latest “Mistletoe & Mishigas” is so wonderful. Matt and I have a fantastic conversation about his books, what prompted him to start writing about teachers, and we’ve got a good dose of holiday goodness as well.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself, we want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kinds of stories we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then, keep turning those pages, and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.