LaToya: If you could choose a famous African American who has impacted your life who would it be and why?
Te Russ: Zora Neale Hurston was one of the first African American writers I remember studying about in high school. I remember being completely fascinated by the Harlem Renaissance. I remember thinking, "I want to be like them." That is when I definitively knew I was going to be a writer.
LaToya: Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Te Russ: I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina (a military brat). I currently reside in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, near Arlington.
LaToya: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Te Russ: I think I've always known I wanted to be a writer; though romance was not what I originally planned to focus on. I used to want to be a writer for magazines. In my mind I was going to work for a magazine like Cosmo and live a lavish life in New York City. :-)
LaToya: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Te Russ: I've been writing in some form since I was thirteen. It started with the typical girl's 'Dear Diary' then evolved to poetry and so on and so forth. I finished my first book, Dream Lover, I believe in early 2012.
LaToya: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Te Russ: I started reading romance when I was about 15. I stopped for awhile and got back into it after I got married. I had a large amount of romance books :-) As I began reading them, I thought to myself, I could really do this. I'd written a few things here and there, but nothing really complete. Once I finished my first book, I was hooked.
LaToya: Where do you get your ideas?
Te Russ: Everything around me is susceptible to becoming inspiration for my books. Music, movies, people around me. I'm always studying life around me. I also have a lot of 'what if' scenarios that kind of just pop into my head. I usually try to expound on those and create a story from them.
LaToya: Name one book that you would categorize as a life changing read.
Te Russ: I'm currently reading a book called Outliers. It's very eye opening.
LaToya: Who is your favorite author?
Te Russ: I would have to say the late Francis Ray has always been and probably always will be my favorite author. She is part of the reason I moved forward and decided to write romance. I emailed her as a fan and told her I was thinking of writing a romance and she rallied me on. We occasionally kept correspondence over the years and she was very generous with advice any time I contacted her with questions. So I consider her a mentor of sorts.
LaToya: Name one book you wish you’d written.
Te Russ: I honestly can't say there's a book I'd wish I'd written. Every author is different and if there is a book that I wish I would have written, usually that's exactly what I do, but in my own style. There will always be tropes or general storylines that are used over and over; it's our jobs as writers, I believe, to make those tropes unique and fresh enough to keep the readers engaged and invested in the story.
LaToya: Tell us about your latest book.
Te Russ: My latest book is Autumn Kisses, book three in the Four Seasons of Love Series. When Rowan Hunter begins to suffer from a bout of the proverbial writer's block, his editor offers up his beach cottage in Martha's Vineyard. Prepared to relax, unwind and pray that the words begin to flow again, he gets an unexpected surprise one evening.
To the world she is known as the eccentric jazz singer Sapphire Woods. But to the small town of Oak Bluffs Massachusetts on The Vineyard, she is simply Laurel Asher, their best kept secret. In need of some time out of the spotlight to work on her next album, Laurel goes to the one place that's always been home.
Thanks to a misunderstanding Laurel and Rowan end up under the same roof. As the house has more than enough room, they decide to share the place. But what neither of them expects is the sensual attraction that begins to build up.
As the color of the leaves begin to change and fall to the ground, these two find themselves falling as well–for each other.
LaToya: How can readers connect with you?
Te Russ: I love hearing from my readers connect with me at:
LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Te Russ: Absolutely do not give up on your dreams. If this is your passion, keep going. There's is nothing more fulfilling than being able to do the one thing you know without a doubt you were born to do. Also, if you need help, reach out to your fellow authors. Most of us are extremely open and more than willing to help and answer any questions you may have to the best of our abilities. We are all in this together and we want to see each other doing well.