Funny, I’m not really sure either. I never really realized I was writing romance, but my novels all have a strong central love story with a happy ending, and that respects the genre’s parameters! The publishing industry defines literary books as primarily character driven, as opposed to plot, but so many genre novels have brilliant characterizations.
I saw you say on Instagram, “Write what tickles you. »What tickled you in writing SDIJ?
Audre, the 12 year old daughter of my protagonist. She is precocious and wise beyond her age, and often she is smarter than all the adults in the room. It was so much fun writing to her, mainly because she was based on my own precious preteen. I loved writing the dialogue between Eva and Audre, because I learned so much from my lived experiences as a single mother with my daughter.
Can we talk about writing sex? So many people, I think, don’t go because it’s awfully difficult to do well. How do you approach it? And what are the best sex scenes you’ve read?
Writing sex scenes is a tricky thing. It can go so badly, so quickly! I have three rules for sex scenes. First of all, he has to advance the plot in some way. Unless your book is erotic, it shouldn’t be sex for the sake of sex. The scene should reveal something new about the characters or add to the narrative tension. Second, avoid using old-fashioned phrases like “throbbing manhood” or “mound of dew”. Third, be realistic. Your characters should be groping a bit, laughing, making mistakes. Messy stuff is super sexy. The best sex scene I have ever seen was in an old Sandra Brown novel called Slow heat in paradise, which could also be the best title of all time. The scene involved a Cajun bad boy, a nice waspy girl, and an explosive atmosphere of enemies for lovers. I encourage everyone to go and read this book immediately.
Once SDIJ became a bestseller, your previous book, The perfect find, got a brighter cover and a reissue. Does it have something to do with publishing, well, belatedly, waking up authors Black and BIPOC a little more?
The publishing industry, which is starting to wake up, has a lot to do with it. Corn The perfect find also got a glossy cover to coincide with the film’s version, which will arrive on Netflix in the spring! It’s with Gabrielle Union, and I still pinch myself.
Speaking of which: the thrilling TV adaptation of SDIJ. What’s the last one? How involved will you be and do you have dreamy casting thoughts for Eva and Shane?
I’ll be one of the executive producers. We’re in the early stages of production so nothing to share at this time, but I couldn’t be more excited to help bring this book to the screen. I’ll keep you posted.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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