Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.
Synithia Williams is an author who prides herself on writing “spicy Southern romance”, and her stories embody every bit of that phrase. She had her first novel published in 2012 and has been cooking up romances ever since (which we are so lucky to be readers of!).
I was introduced to Synithia’s books through the first installment of the Jackson Falls series, called Forbidden Promises, and then went on to devour the remainder of the books that were published in the series. You can read my review here, but the long and short of it is that 1) it is VERY difficult to get the forbidden romance trope correctly, and 2) it is also hard to strike the right balance of politics and romance when incorporating both, and she does both beyond amazingly. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and immediately knew I had to read the next one in the series.
We are beyond excited to invite Synithia to the Pond for Black History Month, and she visits us as a regal pink cat, sipping a glass of wine!
Careless Whispers by Synithia Williams
Elaina Robidoux knows how people view her: coldhearted, ambitious, ruthless. But it doesn’t matter. Running the family business is all she’s ever wanted and she’s so close she can almost taste it…until her father fires her and hires her nemesis—arrogant, unflappable Alex Tyson. Elaina may be hurt but she refuses to be defeated, so she throws herself into creating a business of her own. But she never dreamed that to close her first deal, she’d need Alex’s help…
Alex understands the power of a family legacy better than most and the last thing he wanted was to take that from Elaina. Her beauty and fierce strength are undeniable, but there’s a softer side that no one but him seems to see. She’s been taught that emotions are a liability, yet one impulsive kiss starts a chain reaction that neither of them wants to stop. But can love ignite—and survive—when secrets and loyalties collide?
Author Interview: Synithia Williams
Joce: Hi Synithia, welcome to The Quiet Pond! Thank you so much for visiting us. We’re so happy you’re here. For our friends who are meeting you for the first time, please tell us a little bit about yourself!
Synithia: Hi Joce! Thank you so much for inviting me to The Quiet Pond. For those who don’t know me, I’m a contemporary romance author who loves to write sexy, messy, emotional romances. I enjoy exploring the dynamics of complicated relationships and strive to make characters readers can relate to. When I’m not writing, I work full time on water quality issues, am the wife to an amazing man, and the mother of two wonderful boys.
Joce: You have been working so hard on your Jackson Falls series, with Forbidden Promises and Scandalous Secrets having been released this year, and Careless Whispers coming out in March. Can you give us a brief overview of the series?
Sure, the Jackson Falls Series follows a wealthy Black family in North Carolina. The Robidoux Family flipped their family history as tobacco sharecroppers into a successful, multi-sector company. In each story secrets are revealed, forbidden love comes into play, and the family has to deal with the lies they’ve told in order to get where they are today. I was a huge fan of soap operas growing up, so there is definitely a soapy feel to the stories. I also happen to love drama. 🙂
Joce: The books in this series are among my favorite romance novels of all time and I find them so difficult to put down because of the compelling nature of both the politics and the romance aspects. How do you balance and incorporate these two facets in your writing?
Synithia: Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. With each story I want to show how the politics of running a huge company influences the characters decisions (past and present). I make the politics the backdrop but focus more on the relationships between the Robidoux siblings, their parents and their love interests. I want the work they do to be interesting enough to keep a reader entertained but not let it overwhelm the story. For instance, in Scandalous Secrets, Byron Robidoux’s political campaign is a big part of the story, but I always focus on the way he and the heroine, Zoe, prepare for a political event or handle the fall out after instead of making a scene about the actual event. Readers are here for the relationship, not to read a campaign speech. Lol.
Joce: Your tag line is “Spicy Southern Romance”. For our international readers (and American readers less familiar with the South), can you tell us why the American South is distinguishable and special to you specifically, and what makes you want to focus the settings of your books in these states?
Synithia: I was born and raised in South Carolina and still live here. Some of my favorite cities are in the South. Yes, the South has its problems and stereotypes, but there are also so many other beautiful things about living in the South. I don’t ignore the bad in my books, but I don’t let it take over. I try to highlight the good things about living and growing up in the South. Small juke joints, family bar-b-ques, games of spades, and even the heat and humidity have all shown up in my stories.
Joce: How do you think Romancelandia has evolved in terms of how Black authors and readers are treated and represented, from when your first novel was published in 2012, to now?
Synithia: I’m moderately optimistic to see more calls for diversity from editors. It’s funny (not funny) to see the calls come from some places that wouldn’t give a Black romance novel the time of day a few years ago. While some people may view the calls for diversity as too little too late, I think about the advice from my friend, Piper Huguley, to take advantage of every opportunity offered. There’s nothing wrong with pitching, submitting, and basically requiring the people asking for stories by Black authors to see and acquire our books. Self-publishing is a great option, but if someone wants to go traditional then make the establishment put their money where their mouth is.
Joce: I love your books so much because they celebrate Black joy. What and who are some other romance books or authors that you would recommend that also celebrate Black joy?
Synithia: Goodness, there are so many! I have to start with Beverly Jenkins and her historicals. I love them so much. I also really enjoy the romance and women’s fiction by D.L. White, she really makes funny and realistic stories about Black romance and relationships. The same with Sharina Harris, Cheris Hodges, Jamie Wesley, Delaney Diamond and Sharon Cooper. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but if any of your readers follow any of the people I mentioned they’ll find plenty of other amazing authors who celebrate Black love and joy.
Joce: On your Twitter you mention that you watch K dramas and C dramas! What are some of your favorites?
Synithia: Ashes of Love (C Drama) is my favorite, because it’s the story that sucked me into this world of amazing dramas. Yes, it’s 63 episodes, but it’s totally worth it. Just pretend you’re watching several seasons of one show. I also have to recommend It’s Okay Not to Be Okay (K Drama), Itaewon Class (K Drama) and The Flower of Evil (K Drama). I could gush about this all day, but I’ll make myself stop. Lol! Special shout out to My Love From The Star (K Drama).
Joce: On behalf of CW, Skye, and myself (Joce), thank you so much for visiting the Pond. It was so nice to have you here and we can’t wait to read more of your books (especially Careless Whispers coming up)!
Synithia: Thank you so much for having me! I always love talking to and hearing from readers.
Joce: Now that we have had our TBRs and Netflix queues thoroughly filled, we again want to extend a huge thank you to Synithia for visiting the Pond! Romances that celebrate Black joy have a permanent place on my bookshelf and I highly recommend all of her works. They are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea and a bowl (or a few!) of ice cream at the end of a long day.
About the Author
Synithia Williams has been an avid romance novel lover since picking up her first one at the age
of thirteen. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. She’s
a native of South Carolina and now writes romances as hot as their southern settings. She’s
published over fifteen, novels since 2012. Her seventh book, Making it Real, was listed as one of
the Must Read Romances of 2015 in USA Today. Her second release with Harlequin Kimani, A
Malibu Kind of Romance was a 2017 RITA® finalist and she’s a two time African American
Literary Award Show nominee in Romance. Synithia is married to her own personal hero and they
have two sons who’ve convinced her that professional wrestling and superheroes are supreme
entertainment. You can learn more about Synithia by visiting her website,
http://www.synithiawilliams.com, where she blogs about writing, life and relationships.\
Synithia is represented by Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary Agency