Hey, beautiful ones. I am excited to introduce the author, Ann Raina. Ann lives and works in Germany with cats and a horse. Riding and writing are her favorite hobbies. Her latest series, starting with Twisted Mind, turns around an FBI-agent, his demanding lover, and a bad case getting worse.
In all of her books, she combines romance, suspense, and humorous elements, for no thrilling story can stand without comic relief.
Hello, readers! I am thrilled to introduce author Talia Hibbert. Talia is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.
I have reviewed Talia’s books Damaged Goods and That Kind of Guy. She expertly fuses humor and sensuality. Her book A Girl Like her is book one of her popular Ravenswood series. Check out the blurb.
In Ruth Kabbah’s world, comic books are king, silence is golden, and human contact is a pesky distraction. She doesn’t like people, which works out just fine, because the people in this small town don’t like her. The exception to that rule? Evan Miller, her way-too-charming next-door neighbor…
Ex-military man Evan is all tattooed muscle on the outside—and a big, cuddly teddy bear beneath. He’s used to coaxing prickly people from their shells, but he’s never met a woman quite like Ruth. Blunt, sarcastic, and secretly sad, she’s his exact opposite. She’s also his deepest desire.
I am a huge proponent of using fiction as social commentary. Novels can reflect and influence society, and many readers seek to connect to realistic characters with problems and issues reflecting the human condition. I wrote Sweet Love, Bitter Fruit to highlight how strong love is not invincible. There are times and situations that will test the strongest bond. Toni and Marcus have it all—fabulous careers, awesome Harlem apartment and the respect of their family and community—but they have to endure the trials of infertility. They are usually simpatico, but when Toni wants to go through more in vitro treatments after agreeing to give up, it threatens their love.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Romance, romance, and more romance. The genre offers the chance for authors to show the ways characters navigate and negotiate a foundational human emotion. Romance can be diverse, influenced by readers and the broader culture. It is truly a misunderstood genre that deserves more respect than it gets in the literary world. Love elements exist across genres, so romance is a foundational part of literature.
I have known about Umm Juwayriyah’s (Maryam Sulivan) work for a while but became a fan after reading her amazing Muslim urban fiction novel, Tried and Tested. Check out the blurb.
A teenage Iman Johnson left home over a decade ago to follow behind a sweet, loving hustler who promised her the world. When that world became too much for her to endure, mentally and physically, she found herself back in Pittsburgh, PA at her Muslim mother’s doorstep, seeking refuge.
Will the Muslim family and community that she’d turned her back on years ago be ready to finally accept her, or is there too much time, emotions, hurt, and secrets built up between them to overcome? Iman will have to find the strength to face her past and relearn the basics if she ever hopes to find the sweetness of faith Allah promises.
She is a prolific author, whose works include poetry and prose. She has penned five books for children, young adults, and adults. I will never forget when she walked on stage at an event—for what everyone thought would be an author’s reading—and started dropping bars like it was nothing.
She is an educator and organizer of wonderful initiatives like the #MuslimGirlsRead literacy campaign. Every year, she raises funds to provide Muslim authored and centered books to urban youth. Yeah, she’s pretty dope.
All right. Straight away, I have to let readers know that King Ellie is an author that knows how to apply some heat to a plot in a way that makes one cringe and tingle with excitement at the same time.
King Ellie discovered her love for dark romance through reading. As she read more, she found that it was the genre for her and decided to own it. I mean, all of it. She did not come to play.
When writing antiheroes and characters typically classified as villains, she tries to show how hurt, heartbroken males can love hard. The author explains:
The heroines get a chance to be loved deeply and only by the antiheroes. Love isn’t always just black and white… it’s a spectrum of color.
King Ellie is one of a few authors who served as my introduction into dark romance. Much more than the bodice rippers of old romance times, her work encourages readers to consider how the unsettling mixture of sensuality, kink and depravity simultaneously disturb and titillate our senses.
I first started reading Talia Hibbert a year ago. As soon as I read her book Damaged Goods, book 1.5 in her Ravenswood series, I was hooked and had to backtrack to catch up on the series. I was quickly caught up in all of the steam and drama. Really, she has some serious don’t miss reading.
Talia writes smart and relatable characters who are wonderfully imperfect, which I love. I am looking forward to the release of That Kind of Guy [Ravenswood book three] tomorrow, May 2! Check out the blurb:
A Muslim woman who wears the hijab and is a romance author? Why can’t all those descriptions belong to the same woman, says Layla Poulos, whose debut novel, My Way to You, is climbing its way up some of Amazon’s Best Sellers charts. Layla, who has been writing for years and loves the romance genre, advocates for more openness and discussions about romance and sexuality from a faith-based perspective. When it comes to her fiction writing, however, she places no restrictions on how much heat she brings to her stories. I recently spoke with Layla, who writes under the pseudonym Lyndell Williams, about her career, writing romance stories as a hijabi Muslim woman, and if she will ever write romance with Muslim characters.
A covered Muslim woman is probably the last person readers would expect to write a romance. What made you want to write in the genre?
I’ve been an avid romance reader all of my adult life. When presented with the opportunity to study the genre during my graduate studies, I took it. I now explore romance as a reader and romance scholar.
Lyndell Williams, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m KayelleAllen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here!
Why did you write this book?
I had a few reasons for writing My Way to You, the primary one being that I wanted to write a romance centering what I gleaned as the increasing lines of solidarity between Blacks and Asians in the country. I also wanted to highlight the growing Black Woman-Asian Man (BWAM) subculture, where members of two social groups deemed less desirable are learning to appreciate each other as love matches.
Black women and Asian men have to tackle with a contrived lack of appeal stemming from stereotypes masculinizing one and feminizing the other. My Way to You and other romances centering BWAM love interests pushes back against that and offers representation for couples in similar relationships as well as interracial couples in general.
Christmas is coming, and there are holiday parties to attend or shopping to do. But if you want to get away from it all and curl up with a good book, I’ve got an author you’ll want to meet. I had a chance to interview Lyndell Williams. She is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She is the managing editor of the NbA Muslims blog on Patheos and a cultural contributor for Radio Islam USA. Her novel, My Way To You, is an interracial romance that takes on controversial topics head-on. I had a chance to talk with her about her writing routine, what future subjects and projects she will tackle, and what writing romance means to her.
Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Lyndell Williams: I have two must-haves when I’m writing. I make myself a huge…
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I recently published my first novel, but I have numerous short stories published in a couple of collections.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest novel is My Way to You. I wrote it to show some of the struggles interracial couples face when beginning a relationship and trying to keep it strong.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
One writing habit people may find strange is that when I’m deep in my creative zone, I like to pull my hair into a big hug afro puff. Not one of those cool Angela Davis ones, a mess of coils and coconut oil. I feel like it allows creative energy to flow into my head. It is also a good signal to the husband and kids that mom is deep in her writing and disturbing her would be a hazardous venture. Continue reading “Awesome Gang Interview with Lyndell Williams (Layla Abdullah-Poulos) —”→