By Gabriela Martinez
Award winning romance author LaQuette will speak at KU about writing romance novels and diversity on April 5 at 6 p.m. in the MSU Alumni Auditorium. She will also teach a master class on writing romance on April 6 at 4 p.m. in AF 201.
LaQuette writes sensational romances that feature diverse characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. The author of over twenty romance novels, LaQuette first fell in love with romance when she was 16 years old.
She was first exposed to romance as a child watching soap operas with her grandmother. The drama and the love stories from these soap operas captivated LaQuette.
LaQuette became a romance novelist because she had a feeling “something was missing” in mainstream romance stories. According to LaQuette, too often the romance genre has protagonists who are thin, white and straight because for the last 40 years, most authors have been primarily of that demographic.
While LaQuette was growing up, romances rarely focused on people like her and Black families, and if they did, they were not portrayed in a positive light. She wanted there to be an accurate representation of Black people in romance while also unpacking stereotypes.
One of the dominant themes in her books is family, whether they be blood related or found family, and the different relationships within Black families. She writes her characters in a community that is uplifting and allows them to feel joy and be happy.
LaQuette makes sure that regardless of the conflict her characters must overcome, their situation is fair. In her romance novels, there is no power imbalance between characters or in the world.
For example, in her novel “Under His Protection,” the main character, a queer Black man, lives in a world where there is no sign of homophobia. There is no inequality between the straight characters and the queer characters in her books.
LaQuette’s romance novels contain Black heroes and heroines that are strong and sometimes not straight. She creates main characters who are not pop culture stereotypes and celebrates their unique identities. She writes her characters with endings that allow them to not just struggle and overcome conflict, but to truly feel the love they deserve.