Thank you for allowing me to interview you. So tell me all about you your family what you do, what you read, what you like what you don’t like. In other words—Dish. There are many who put down the romance genre, both writers and readers. I know that readers come from many diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of interests. So I seriously want you to tell us about you, your life, your likes and your dislikes.
LaTreka: I’m originally from a small town in North Carolina, but I have lived in the Metro-Atlanta area for the past nine years. I moved here to attend Devry and five years ago I received my bachelor’s degree in business. I hope to own several businesses within the next five years.
For fun I like to go the movies, visit museums, write and of course read. I have so many books, it is a shame. Some would say that my life is pretty boring, but over the years I have learned many hard lessons. I lost my parents at a young age and I had to accept their deaths and grow up fast. My past has shaped and molded me in ways most people haven’t experienced in fifty years, let alone twenty-seven. My grandma used to tell me when I was little, child you have an old soul. Now I know why. I had to have an old one to be able to handle the problems thrown at me starting at seven years old.
Dyanne: I hope you had a great holiday. Did you get everything that you wanted? And please tell us in great detail about a true romance story, Please!!!
LaTreka: I had an awesome holiday and yes I got more than I ever thought I could have. Okay a true romance story, humm. I have the perfect one! On Christmas Day, my boyfriend of three years proposed and I accepted. Over the weekend he kept saying, I have a huge surprise for you on Christmas. I thought he was talking about these earrings and tennis bracelet that I wanted for Christmas. He was like a kid in the candy store, whose momma told him he couldn’t touch anything. LOL! It was torturing him to keep the secret from me.
Christmas Eve he bugged me to death about going to get my nails done. My nails don’t look bad, so the first thing I was thinking was what his really saying. He knows how suspicious I am. So he had his mom ask me to go with her to have a girl’s day out. His mother is so sweet so of course I couldn’t tell her no. And being so stressed at work, I didn’t mind at all sitting in the spa chair to be pampered, even if it was only for forty-five minutes.
Christmas morning, after everyone opened all their gifts, my boyfriend looks at me and says, I think Santa has one more gift for you underneath the tree. But nothing was left under the tree but the tree skirt. I looked anyway, just in case. While I was distracted, he put Reason’s by Earth, Wind and Fire on the CD player and disappeared upstairs. When he came back down he handed me the jewelry box. He always says I'm too nosy, so he wouldn't dare leave the box downstairs unattended, underneath the Christmas tree the night before. When I opened the box, he went down on bent knee and asked me to be his wife. I looked at the marquise diamond with the baguette accents and said yes to the ring. His mom burst out laughing. Really, I’m not materialistic but the ring is beautiful and more than I expected. I am soo excited! I would still marry this man, if he had handed me a ring out of the bubble gum machine.
He and I have been friends for more than seven years. He actually took the time to court me like men my grandma spoke of. At first our friendship/relationship was turbulent because I was afraid to open up my heart, but now I'm glad I did. He is a wonderful man and his heart is way bigger than most.
Dyanne: Now for your reading pleasure. What types of books do you like to read?
LaTreka: I read all types of genre: Horror, Suspense, Historical, Paranormal, History and of course Romance. But I must admit I used to say, I’m not reading those romance books, until I actually picked up one. The first romance I read was Before the Dawn, by Beverly Jenkins. She ushered me over the threshold and I haven’t looked back since.
Dyanne: Tell me some of your favorite authors and why. I’m not fishing so you can’t name me.
LaTreka: I have favorite authors for different genres. Paranormal, hands down L.A. Banks has me on lock. The Vampire Huntress series is one that everyone should check out. She is a master at storytelling. For Historical Romance, my favorite is Beverly Jenkins. For Horror, it is a tie between Tananarive Due and Brandon Massey. For romance, I have several favorite authors. There are some wonderful AA writers out now who every time a new novel comes out, I support.
Dyanne: Have you ever written any on line reviews for the book that you love? How about the books that you hate? What do you think about the reviews on Amazon? Do they influence your purchases or just the opposite?
LaTreka: Yes, I have written a few online reviews for books I have enjoyed. However, I try not to write reviews on books that I don’t like because I personally don’t like to bad mouth writers. I know that if they had a chance at publishing, someone somewhere liked their work.
Sometimes the reviews on Amazon are notable, but they don’t influence my purchases. If I like an author, I’ll generally buy their book. For new authors, what influences my purchase is if I can see an excerpt. If the first five pages hook me, then I’ll spend my money.
Dyanne: LaTreka, I’m sorry for throwing so many questions at you on that last one but I had a reason. In recent weeks four of my friends have decided to give up writing. They’re all published and all talented but they have gotten tired of the harsh reviews. Do you have any words of encouragement to give to those writers?
LaTreka: Don’t give up. I too am an aspiring writer. The craft grows with each piece that is written. And though we try, you can’t please everyone. Focus on your reader base and give your readers what they want.
Dyanne: LaTreka, I think this will be a standard question I will ask of readers because it’s important for the writers to know this. I know you already know that not everyone like the same things and what one man finds wonderful the next one finds distasteful. What things in books really set your teeth on edge?
LaTreka: A cookie cutter novel. Over the years I have read a lot of books and the ones that I forget are the cookie cutter novels. I like drama, but the same drama fed with a different spoon, becomes tiring over time.
Dyanne: What words of advice do you have for writers that are staying in the game?
LaTreka: Keep those fingers typing and churn those novels out so that we can escape from the harsh realities that face us daily. Without writers, those of us who like to read would be lost.
Dyanne: What are your least favorite type of books and why?
LaTreka: I am not into the urban lit, though I have read a couple. The market has been flooded with those books because the publishing companies think that is the only thing African Americans can relate to. However, not all of us can relate to it. We all have diverse backgrounds and not all of us want to read those types of books. The talented authors that you spoke of are the ones being forced out of the industry.
Dyanne: If a writer disappoints you in one book will you give that writer another chance?
LaTreka: Yes, I generally do. Every writer has a not-so-good book and I think they should be entitled to have at least one. But readers can tell when a book is just thrown together. It shows in the dialogue, the errors, plot, etc. So if the next book I read from that author is a disappointment, I probably won’t purchase another one.
Dyanne: LaTreka I have to ask this question. When you like a writer and they stop writing the kinds of books that you started reading them for are you disappointed or do you understand that the writer is just growing?
LaTreka: I understand for the most part and the art of writing evolves with every book written.
Dyanne: I find that more and more discussion on the internet has to do with the amount of sex in books, and I’m not talking romance or love scenes but sex. There is a difference. Do you find the amount of graphic sex in books to be offensive? Do you think writers have crossed the line? How do you think they can rein it back in while still keeping their audience? Why do you think women are demanding more and more books with more and more graphic sex?
LaTreka: Too much of anything can lead to disaster. Graphic sex has its place and there are readers out there who like to read those types of books. If the writer is known for that type of book then readers know what to expect. If a writer I like, switches suddenly it probably would shock me, but I wouldn’t stop reading their books because of it.
If women are demanding more graphic sex in books it is because of our society. Our society as a whole has become vulgar and offensive. If you turn on the radio right now and listen to the music most of the songs are graphic. What we hear and see influences our thought processes, even when we are unaware of it.
Dyanne: LaTreka, once again I’ve asked you a bunch of questions in one. I value your opinion and I want to give you a chance to have your voice heard. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like to say?
LaTreka: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to voice my opinions.
Dyanne: Thank you, LaTreka. I would also like to issues you an invitation to join our yahoo family. We’d love to have you.