Suanne Laqueur is the award-winning and best-selling author of The Fish Tales Series and the Venery Duet, Exaltation of Larks, and most recently, A Charm of Finches, which releases this week. The former ballet dancer, dance teacher, and food blogger lives in Westchester County, New York with her family.
MW: What makes you tick? What makes you angry?
SL: Creativity makes me tick and laziness makes me angry.
MW: Which came first, the decision to write M/M or Jav’s character?
SL: Jav’s character came first and in the beginning, even he didn’t know what his persuasion was. Of all the characters I’ve written, he went through the most complex evolution. He was a public defender, a JPO and a social worker. He was straight, he was gay, he was bi. It took forever for him to settle into himself but once he did, I found writing about his sexuality to be very natural and easy. It felt like him.
MW: How much research do you put into a novel like Charm of Finches?
SL: About two months worth. Books and articles and journals and internet surfing. And then I needed a month to recover and regroup because the material was so intense. I worried I’d bitten off more than I could chew, and I worried there was a lot more I could get wrong than right. But in the end, all you can do is write the most truthful story you can.
MW: Tell me about food and cooking.
SL: I wrote in Exaltation of Larks that “Marriage is what happens in the bathroom, not the bedroom.” In the same way, life happens in the kitchen. I love food, I love to cook and I feel strongly cooking is an art to be shared. I had the most wonderful experience in Boston this past weekend. At the restaurant Sinclair in Cambridge, we were eating these Brussels sprouts that were out of this world. The chef came out to say hi and we went on and on, “These are fantastic, how are they made?” He went back in the kitchen and got his little red notebook and let me take a picture of the recipe! It was awesome. You can follow him @nickythefork on Instagram and tell him I said hi. And if you ever go to the Sinclair, get the Brussels sprouts!
MW: Talk to me about dancing.
SL : Dancing was a huge part of my life, from toddlerhood to my thirties. My mother owned a dance studio in our hometown. It actually began in our basement. The studio was my life. I majored in dance and theater in college, and then I came home to teach with my mother for ten years. We had an amazing collaboration. My love of dance was very bound up in my love for my mother, and when she was ready to retire, so was I. I gave dance my all and I have no regrets. And then I was ready to move onto the next thing and I have no regrets about that either.
MW: What is “emotionally intelligent romance?”
SL: I prefer its other name, “contemporary train wreck.” Emma Scott actually coined it as “therapy fiction” which I think is great. I love to write about hard stuff. I love to write epic, modern journeys. My books have romantic elements, but rather than feature the pursuit of romance and the conflict between two lovers, I like to pit their relationship against the external forces of life. How does their being in love help them survive? How does love get us through our darkest days and our longest nights? How does love bring us deeper into life? I write to connect with readers, because connection is what makes the world go round.
MW: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books?
SL: I don’t get to read as much as I like, but when I do, I drift into fantasy works more often than contemporary fiction. I love Phillip Pullman—he just came out with his Book of Dust and I ate it up. Neil Gaiman, Catherynne Valente, VE Schwab, Leigh Bardugo: if they write it, I will read it.
MW: Are you dressing up for Halloween?
SL: No, I’m totally lame. As we speak it is 9:41 on Halloween and I’m in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. We live in a very isolated area and literally nobody rings the doorbell. So I have a bag of Kit-Kats and a bag of Reece’s all to myself.
MW: What’s coming next from you? Do we get another Venery book? Will Jav and Stef appear or will it be all new characters?
SL: I don’t know. In all honesty, Finches took a lot out of me. It was an exhausting, challenging book to research, write, edit, revise and market. I’m wiped out and at the moment, I don’t see Venery being more than a duet. None of the characters are clamoring at me to tell their story, but if pressed, I’d say Roger Lark and Stavroula Kalo deserve their time. Also, I feel strongly Alex Lark-Penda’s sibling is out there somewhere.
Charm of Finches, the second book in the Venery Series releases today.
Mara White is a contemporary romance and erotica writer who laces forbidden love stories with hard issues, such as race, gender, and inequality. She holds an Ivy League degree but has also worked in more strip clubs than even she can remember. She is not a former Mexican telenovela star contrary to what the tabloids might say, but she is a former ballerina and will always remain one in her heart. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children and yes, when she’s not writing you can find her on the playground.