Monday Musings: Do Unto Others by Author LaQuette

Happy Monday, y’all! I rarely equate happy and Monday unless it’s a holiday, lol, and as such, I have a guest blogger today. Not only is she an accomplished author, but I also consider her a friend. There was a little author/reader exchange a couple of weeks ago in regards to authors who write across genres and whether or not they should disclose to their core readership that their newest release goes “against the grain” so to speak. All I can say is it got pretty ugly at times. As an author, LaQuette felt very strongly about this and asked if she could speak on it, and you know me-I don’t shy away from controversy in the least. I embrace it because sometimes, we need to talk about the uncomfortable shit just as much as we do about the  feelgood shit too. So without further ado, I present, LaQuette and Do Unto Others
***
Hello,
My name is LaQuette and I’m a romance author.  First things first, let me thank the
ever-gracious Patrice for allowing me to hang out in her space today.  Blogs like this are so important to authors
of color, and authors who write about people of color. I’m one of those authors;
I fall in both categories, so I’m doubly grateful for the opportunity.  Hopefully some of you are familiar with my
work.  I’m most notably known for my Interracial Erotic Romance series: The Queens of Kings.  If you’re not familiar with me, you can find me on Amazon.  Now that the
not-so-shameless plug is over (if I don’t pimp my work, who will), let’s get
down to my reason for stopping by today.
Over the last few weeks I’ve seen many posts popping
up regarding what authors should and should not write, what tropes they should
and should not explore, and even what kinds of characters should and should not
appear, or star in their books.  I’m fully aware that people are entitled to their own opinions.  I in no way seek to silence anyone or sway
anyone from one side of the argument to the next.  My intention is simply to state my
perspective.  Some will agree, some will
disagree, and many will attempt to come for me depending on which side of the
issue they stand.  I’m really not here to
instigate hate speech of any kind.
That being said, as an author, as someone who has studied
writing for many years (because yes, you do need to study to do this, to be
qualified to do anything you need to learn as much about the craft, the art,
the technique as you can, continue to study no matter how prolifically you’ve
published), I’m here to tell you that writing is a very personal and individual
thing.  It’s something we writers share
with readers, but our stories come from us, and are unique to our imaginings.  Although we share our work with readers, and
hope against hope they will embrace and enjoy our work, please understand that
the work, the story, the characters, the imaginings are still ours.
As a reader, if you’re enjoying an author’s style, an author’s
work, please understand that’s because that author is providing you with their
unique abilities.  If that author were to
take every suggestion made about what should or shouldn’t be written, it would
effectively kill their creativity.  When
writers create, we are thinking, “This is a story I want to tell, in this way.”  At that stage, the reader reaction doesn’t
enter into the process.  It can’t be
considered at that point because the author has to be true to his or her
creative process and muse.  Where authors
consider their readership is in the technical aspects of the story, revisions,
editing, cover art, because when it’s all said and done, we want to provide you
with a quality product that’s worth your time and money.
Again, writing is very personal, it’s a business, but it’s
also extremely personal.  In my opinion,
a writer has every right to engage in whichever tropes, characters, and
story lines he or she decides.  Just as
the reader has every right to abstain from that story, trope, genre, if they
feel it doesn’t meet their reading tastes at that time.  Attempting to vilify an author for writing
something that’s different, or different from what the reader expects as the
norm, is inappropriate, and quite frankly, insulting.
Think of it this way.  If you had a child, and you selected a name
that was meaningful to you for whatever your reasons were at the time, and
someone insults your decision, tells you it’s silly to name your baby that name
you’ve treasured since you first thought about having a child of your own, how
would you feel?  Would you be hurt, would
you feel angry, would you feel insulted?Understand, I am in no way saying readers are not important.  Readers are crucial to authors.  I have nothing but respect for readers.  I’m delighted when a reader’s insight provides constructive criticism about my work.  However, voicing your opinion on how an author’s published work could be improved is not the same as dictating what that author is allowed to imagine, create, and ultimately write about.
I wholeheartedly believe that if we all took a little more
time to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we wouldn’t be so quick to
judge and make biting comments.
Constructive criticism is always welcome, but insulting or attacking
an author simply because you don’t want to read about those
characters or that story line is just plain mean and constrictive.  In order for authors to grow they have to
test themselves with new techniques, new genres, and new perspectives.  Just because an author writes BWWM IR today,
doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t one day try another combination of interracial
coupling.  Just because an author writes
a male/female pairing today, doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t decide to write a
male/male pairing tomorrow.  Just because
he or she has consistently written about heroines of color doesn’t mean he or
she shouldn’t attempt to write a white heroine at some point.  Trust me, white authors are writing about
people of color and benefiting from it.
Shouldn’t authors of color benefit from the reverse?
My tagline is: Embracing My Crazy…One Character at a
time.  That is literally my motto in
life.  I have to make decisions on all
aspects of my life—including my writing—on what is best for me at that
moment.  Attempting to please others will
only lead to destroying everything that is unique and beautiful about an
individual.  With respect to writing, it
will kill your creativity, and ultimately prevent you from growing as an
author.
The last point I want to address is this notion that authors
should never step out of the boundaries others have laid out for them in order
to become more mainstream and marketable.
Please explain to me why authors shouldn’t seek to cross barriers.  Knocking those barriers down, showing people
that our (people of color) love is just as beautiful, necessary, and relatable
as their love is the only way IR and AA romance authors will ever become as prolifically
published, well-paid, and respected in this field.  Love is supposed to cross those barriers, not
erect them.  I don’t know about you, but
I expect to be paid for work I’ve rendered.
I want to be held in the same esteem as mainstream authors because I put
in the same work, effort, and quality as they do.  Why shouldn’t I seek to earn what I’m worth?
They certainly do.
The take away I hope you have after reading this is
simple.  If you wouldn’t want someone
telling you how to do your job, please don’t presume to tell others how to do
theirs.  If you can’t get behind a particular project an author has produced, that’s more than fine.  You are more than well within your rights as a reader to say, “This isn’t my cup of tea, I have no interest in this book.”  However, attacking an author, besmirching their name simply because you don’t like a book, a character, or an idea isn’t fair.  If you’re a writer and feel that
qualifies you to do the same, the answer—in my opinion—is nope, you don’t get
to do it either.  Do you and let others
do them.  If we all practiced that simple
golden rule, we’d all be a great deal happier, and much more productive.
Sincerely,

 

 

 Author Bio:
 
2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance, 2015 Swirl Awards Finalist in Romantic Suspense, bestselling erotic romance author, LaQuette, is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.
Writing–her escape from everyday madness–has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she’d forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.
She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Facebook, Twitter, , her website, Amazon, her Facebook group, LaQuette’s Lounge, and via email at NovelsbyLaQuette@gmail.com.

 

The Queens of Kings Series 
by 
LaQuette 
Available exclusively on Amazon

 

Whew! Thank you LaQuette! I welcome your thoughts and comments cause missy said said some thangs!
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18 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Do Unto Others by Author LaQuette

  1. Good post! I’m always afraid to cross boundaries in writing as well. I also think the stories I want to tell are too much for folks because not all folks like addressing infidelity, domestic violence, colorism, disability, lgbtqiap, or any other touchy subjects.

    I’m glad such a seasoned writer is giving me confidence to challenge this =) Lovely post!

  2. Great post, LaQuette! You really do have to stay true to your story and what you believe in. As much as I want my readers to like what I write, I am the one who decides what stories I will tell. And not everyone is going to like them, but that can’t be helped. Some stories need telling, even when readers don’t initially connect with them. There is always someone who will love it even if others hate it. 🙂

    1. Exactly, Kim! If you try to alter your writing to meet every single person’s taste, it will end up being a complete mess. A, “Too many cooks spoils the soup,” kind of thing. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. When it’s all said and done authors have to write the stories they want and readers have the right to read what they wish. Perfect example. Suzanne Enoch writes historicals. But for some reason I can’t seem to get into her historicals. She then started writing a contemporary series titled The Burglar and the Billionaire which I fell in love with. For whatever reason a decision was made and she stopped writing contemporary. No matter I had to get over it.

    I still try to read series romance. And I go way back before Harlequin bought Silhouette. My favorite the Harlequin Desire. But what does Harlequin do. 90 percent of Harlequin Desires are blackmail/ revenge or secret babies or oops I am pregnant or marriage of convenience. I hate these tropes. So guess what. I have gotten over it!!!!!( I actually did contact Harlequin and ask for more variety. It turns out those babies are popular). Readers will be ok. My TBR pile is still growing just fine.

  4. Love this article, I’m a firm believer in supporting the author writing. As a reader I stay in my lane. Not going to tell authors how they should write their story.

  5. Very well said, LaQuette! There’s so much truth here. You touched on the very thing that has so many authors (myself included) considering the possibility of juggling multiple pens–that fear of readers tearing down a project, not because it’s bad, but because it’s different. I’m glad you had the courage to post this. I feel like your speaking for so many of us…

    1. You know, I will be writing a m/m at some point. I’ve thought about changing my pen name, but ultimately decided that I am LaQuette. I will put notices on my work that differs from my IR work, but I’m going to keep my name, because it’s mine.

      My writing style will not change, even if add a new subgenre to my repertoire, the voice will still be LaQuette, so why shouldn’t I keep the name?

  6. I was so excited to see this article! I think it’s a conversation that needed to be had. I’m all about diversity, and that encompasses so much more than skin tone. A writer has to be true to their vision, and what their characters tell them. I find authors who cover a wide range of things to be inspiring and brave. ❤ #tothineownselfbetrue

    1. Honestly, that’s what it’s all about. Being true to the voice inside you. Celebrating your visions being brought to life through words. If you dream of technicolor love, where all shades, shapes, and varieties of love exist, why shouldn’t you be allowed to write it?

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