Black Romance Authors to Read this February: 5×5

If you’re still looking for a little love in your life, then look no further! These amazing authors have got you covered. In this 5×5 we interviewed five black romance authors to get their thoughts on the genre.

 

Meet the Authors!

Faith DeVeaux, author of When Duty Calls, was born into a military family, and grew up in Germany and several different states in the U.S. She earned a Bachelor’s in Humanities and a Master of Science in Management. She enjoys wine tastings, reading, travel and shopping at flea markets and consignment shops.

Images Provided by Faith DeVeaux

Tiffany V Bobb is a professional hand model, blogger, and owner of T. Victoria, a handmade accessories line. She pursued her creative ventures full time after leaving a successful career in fashion merchandising. Her book Fairy Tale and Finance is now available on Amazon. (Bio Via Amazon)

Image Via Amazon

Joya Goffney grew up in New Waverly, a small town in East Texas. In high school, she challenged herself with to-do lists full of risk-taking items like “hug a random boy” and “eat a cricket,” which inspired her debut novel, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. With a passion for Black social psychology, she moved out of the countryside to attend the University of Texas in Austin, where she still resides. You can learn more at https://www.joyagoffney.com, or follow her on Instagram @joya.goffney and Twitter @joya_goffney.

Images Via Joya Goffney

Nandi Taylor is a Canadian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent based in Toronto. Her debut novel Given garnered over one million reads on the online story-sharing site Wattpad and earned a starred review from ALA’s Booklist magazine. Common themes she writes about are growth, courage, and finding one’s place in the world. She will also be participating in the Wattpad Speaks virtual event celebrating Black voices later this month.

Images Via Nandi Taylor

Tina Glasneck is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy, crime fiction, and paranormal romance. She has published more than twenty books, including Twice as High. Participating in the Writers on the Moon project, she will launch her books in a lunar time capsule to the Moon in July 2021. Learn more about Tina, her books, and the upcoming launch at TinaGlasneck.com.

Images Via Tina Glasneck

q&A TIme

1. What drew you to writing romance?

Faith DeVeaux: What drew me to writing romance was that I grew up reading and watching romances, and of course was looking forward to having a great romance in my life as well! My parents’ marriage was a great influence on seeing a great relationship in action, and when my mother revealed the letters she saved from my father when he fought in Vietnam, it cemented that I would eventually be writing a romance. My mother gave me the title “When Duty Calls.”

Tiffany Bobb: As a hopeless romantic, it was the first subject that popped into my mind.

Joya Goffney: I’ve always been in love with romantic love. Fascinated by it. The butterflies, the crippling anxiety of having a crush, the “Do they like me back?” of it all. During my formative years, it was the worst, best, most feeling I had ever experienced (besides the inexplicable emotional pain that comes with teenage-hood, of course), and so I chased it—in the books I read, and when I couldn’t find myself in those, in the books I wrote.

Nandi Taylor: I probably watched way too many Disney movies as a kid. I’ve always been a sucker for a happily ever after, and you’ll always get that with a romance. I also love the drama, high emotions, redemption of characters and that first moment when they finally confess their attraction for each other. So good!

Tina Glasneck: Before writing romance, I wrote dark crime fiction. As a criminal paralegal for a law firm, I dealt with mystery-solving daily. All of that changed when the threat of violence clashed with my reality when a client threatened the office. Writing became a way for me to process this stress. But in 2016, life changed again. After my second child’s birth, I could no longer write such dark tales, but my love for writing didn’t dissipate. I started writing flash fiction and was encouraged by my romance author friend, Siobhan Muir. I dipped my fingers into writing my first paranormal time travel romance, A Dragon’s Destiny. I had so much fun that I couldn’t stop.

The power of romance is that it gave me hope and refilled my creativity. Love is so powerful that even when things are difficult, it finds a way to make characters survive and thrive. In my work, I desire to put my characters through the wringer to make them grow and change throughout a series. But in the end, it is all about the power of love and hope for a better tomorrow.

 

2. What genre would you like to explore going forward?

Faith DeVeaux: The genre that I would like to explore going forward is the action-adventure-spy arena. Guess what?! I’m working on one now with a female lead, and of course there is a marriage proposal involved!

Tiffany Bobb: I’d like to get into thrillers and suspense. I like to be on the edge of my seat when I read, and watch films.

Joya Goffney: Romance forever, but maybe for a different age bracket. I’ll always love YA, and right now it’s where my heart is, but I’m flirting with the idea of writing NA. I feel like NA generally has a bad rap for being opportunistic—they say it’s YA except with graphic sex—but I think, like any new genre, it’s getting more developed as we gain more material. I’d love to explore the nuances of love and the challenges of life for that age group. Also, maybe horror, one brave day.

Nandi Taylor: Possibly sci-fi. It can be difficult to write, especially hard sci-fi because there’s a lot of research that goes into even making things seem realistically scientific, but I’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi lately as a slush reader for Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, and there’s so much you can do with that genre in terms of exploring what makes us tick as human beings. Like you can rope in androids, aliens, theoretical technology that fundamentally changes the way the world works (like the internet). That or I could write love stories in space. Both? Let’s do both.

Tina Glasneck: I write magic and romance-infused books, and I love weaving those two together. For the moment, I see myself continuing to write Urban Fantasy with romantic elements and also exploring Paranormal Women’s Fiction (for heroines over 40). I think there is so much room for stories starring the 40+ woman.
Being of a particular age, I love the idea of a story with an older heroine who has a bit more wisdom and street smarts. For example, even when touching on the idea of fated mates, the generations would deal with this differently. A woman in her twenties might gush over the idea of fated mates. However, a woman in her 40s is going to question the hell out of it.

 

3. What’s your favorite part of the romance genre?

Faith DeVeaux: My favorite part of the romance genre is when the two people who eventually wind up together first start seeing the other person’s qualities, and start to have feelings toward each other, secretly of course. The era doesn’t matter to me, just that story development. I love romance stories from different eras.

Tiffany Bobb: There is something special about being there when a relationship unfolding. I loved creating the moments when they laid eyes on each other, met, and the romance developed.

Joya Goffney: I most appreciate how it provides readers the opportunity to fall in love over and over again, book after book, with people and personalities that they might have never thought they could fall for. Because us romance writers are like magicians—framed just right, any “imperfection” can be made beautiful and desirable—which is a pretty powerful ability. Not only that, but our stories can set the standards for a healthy romantic relationship and normalize consensual behaviors—not just for our readers, but also for ourselves. I have personally learned a lot about toxic relationships and behaviors through collaborating with the writing community. Thankfully, things are changing for the better, in terms of consent and boundaries within relationships, and it shows in our books.

Nandi Taylor: It’s probably the most formulaic of the genres, which makes it the most comforting to me. I like sometimes knowing exactly what to expect, and going along on the ride to get there. A good romance story has always helped me through times of uncertainty, for example now during the pandemic. It’s nice to get lost in a story where you know everything will be alright at the end.

Tina Glasneck: My favorite parts of romance are the hope and escapism. When I was growing up, I spent my weekends picking up as many books as possible from my local library and devouring them. Romance books allows you to learn and empathize with others. To a certain extent, it also teaches and gives insight into the human psyche—how we are all fighting our own battles and conflicts and striving to become better people.

Romance novels usually show the growth of a character, whereby they are no longer unfulfilled but have learned something about themselves which allows them to love someone else. Although maybe broken, they have learned to heal and let someone else into their lives, to share it with them.
I’d dare even say that the genre highlights how love is the greatest gift that we can ever give or receive.
The pinnacle of romance for me is that love has value and all of these nuances. Love can be passive, unrequited, and sit on a shelf; it can be slow-burn, tension-filled whereby the setting and dressings of the scenery’s richness metaphorically reveal the untethered hearts beneath corsets. When two hearts collide, and sparks fly through witty and charming dialogue, the push and pull as the hero and heroine size each other up and do the dance of attraction that always gives me butterflies to read and write. Love makes no sense but is the greatest of gifts one can ever receive or give.

 

4. What would you like to see more of in the romance genre?

Faith DeVeaux: What I would like to see more of in the romance genre is along the lines of interracial romance in the past or contemporary times with slightly older couples (besides the Lovings). There are so many fascinating untold and hidden stories. Guess what again?! I’m working on two of them now based on stories that I’ve personally been told.

Tiffany Bobb: I’d like to see more unexpected twists, because in life, that fairy tale sometimes comes crashing down.

Joya Goffney: More Black joy. All of the Black joy. More stories about Black kids from all walks of life, so maybe any Black kid who says they “don’t like to read”—because they’ve never been able to find themselves in a book and aren’t interested in reading about people/situations they can’t relate to—can finally enjoy the wonders of a book that speaks to them. More stories about Black kids falling in love with each other as they fall in love with themselves.

Nandi Taylor: I’d like to see even more diversity in romance. Lately we’ve seen some excellent books come out with characters of color, queer characters, trans characters asexual characters and characters with physical and mental disabilities. I think this is important because romance especially is one of the most escapist genres. So when most of the genre is erasing marginalized people what does that say? That we’re trying to “escape” marginalized people? That’s horrible!

Tina Glasneck: America has a very diverse culture, and I look forward to the American romance market reflecting this.
If you’ve ever traveled abroad, no matter what part of America you come from, you bond over your similarities when you meet another American. It is why we all know the differences between Chicago and New York styles of pizza, even if we’ve never been to those cities; we can discuss the nuances of West Coast versus East coast music; or, even touch on that of pumpkin pie versus sweet potato pie. As Americans, the American culture permeates through our life experiences.

I’ve been reading the genre since I was fourteen. I’d love to see the mainstream media embrace diverse stories that reflect the multiculturalism here.
Previously, I participated in an anthology about why diversity and representation matters in fiction. Unfortunately, this myth still pigeonholes POC books and stories, assuming that they are all dealing with trauma or race relations. For some, this conjecture that stories either written by POC or having POC characters were incomprehensible for a more mainstream audience is complete nonsense. There is more that unites us as Americans than what divides us.
Love is complicated, as good love stories are, but I look forward to all love being celebrated and diverse stories continuing to breathe life into this ever-growing genre.

 

5. What is something you want to see less of in the romance genre?

Faith DeVeaux: What I want to see less of in the romance genre is the overall “whiteness” in marketing and the stories that receive attention and the assumption that Blacks and other minorities are not involved in and having great romances.

Tiffany Bobb: I’d like to see less dream men who plan romantic dates with candles, and rose petals on the bed, etc, because that isn’t relatable for the average woman.

Joya Goffney: Less tokenism? More genuine representation. Less diversity for the sake of being diverse. More authors of color writing their own stories.

Nandi Taylor: Less glorifying misogyny or “alpha males”. Not only is it overdone, it can give impressionable young people the impression that this behavior is normal or OK, leading them to put up with toxic relationships they really shouldn’t.

Tina Glasneck: Factionalization.
The writers and readers have created a thriving community. I love how inclusive the genre is. The great thing about romance is that the genre provides something for everyone. As a part of this circle, I think romance books have the power to transform people, shift mindsets, and create lasting ties. I believe that the more romance books are released into the world, giving voice to all, reflecting and embracing its diversity, then the better place our America can become. However, we still have a ways to go.
Through love stories that showcase the human condition and the underlying desire to be loved, understood, seen, and heard, we can transform the genre and be leaders, changing our world for the better.