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LaTanya McQueen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

When the Reckoning Comes (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Believers (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Leopardia (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

And It Begins Like This (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

LaTanya McQueen
LaTanya McQueen was born May 31, 1984. Her work has been published in Florida Review, TriQuarterly, West Branch, Bennington Review, New Ohio Review, and Fourteen Hills, along with many other journals.

LaTanya received her MFA from Emerson College, her PhD from the University of Missouri, was the 2017-2018 Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow at Cornell College.

As a writer, LaTanya started with fiction, something she loves. Both genres are very interesting. She was going through school to become a journalist. She had hoped to do in-depth feature reporting, not wanting to do straight news. Had she realized what the nonfiction genre was from the start, as there are so many subgenres that she find fascinating, she may have been drawn to this first.

But she’s not exactly sure if she has a preference. With fiction, she is always trying to do something different. It is really important to her. When she’s got something new, she tends to gravitate toward fiction. With nonfiction, it’ll be more of a question that is motivating her.

LaTanya struggled with some issues relating to her black identity. She had a bunch of self-hatred over that. Parts of “And It Begins Like This” was her attempting to figure out where this came from. Her family had a lot of issues as well relating to race, and a lot came down to LaTanya’s mom.

She was attempting to examine the history of where this self-hatred came from and why exactly she had it. Part had to do with the way culture privileges ways of looking at some versus others, part with her mom, and part with the story about Leanna Brown..

With “When the Reckoning Comes”, she was interested in the idea of writing about the white gaze, more specifically white fear. Taking the premise/hook: ghosts of slaves are looking for revenge and killing the slave-owning descendants, that is a horror premise. However the horror element, the part that elicits fear, is a white fear of Black Americans. She believed it could be interesting to center a book which used the white fear of Black Americans in its premise while simultaneously critiquing it in such a way to discuss white supremacy.

LaTanya began writing the novel in March of 2018, and worked on it over three months, finishing the first draft around the end of June. She was able to get an agent shortly after, and then they spent the next year revising it. The overall structure remained the same, mostly. It was a matter of rearranging and expanding specific chapters, working on character development, and dealing with various plot inconsistencies.

LaTanya was surprised at how quickly she was able to actually write it. She had written this other novel before, one she was unable to get representation for, and she worked on that novel for several years. What was different with this novel was that she had stopped caring so much if she got published. She focused on the book she wanted to write with that just being her end goal. She did what she wanted to without thinking about if it would match other people’s desires or expectations, and it helped the writing come pretty easily.

“When the Reckoning Comes” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. A haunting novel about a black woman that returns to her hometown to attend a plantation wedding and all of the horror which ensues while reconnecting with the blood-soaked history of the land and her best friends she left behind.

Mira fled her segregated, tiny hometown in the south to forget over a decade ago. With each mile that she traveled, she distanced herself from her own past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town being the only white girl with any black friends. From the spooky Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves. From her old neighborhood. From the horrifying memory of this ghost that she saw that one awful day when a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse, the guy she secretly loved, arrested for murder.

However now she is back in Kipsen to go to Celine’s wedding being held at the plantation, which has been turned into a lush vacation resort now. Mira hopes she can reconnect with her friends, and particularly, Jesse, to tell him the truth at last about her feelings and all the events of that devastating long ago day.

However for all of its fancy renovations, the Woodsman is still a monument to its oppressive racist history. The bar serves antebellum drinks, the entertainment includes terrifying reenactments, and the service staff is almost completely black. But the darkest elements of the plantation’s past have been erased with care, with rumors circulating that slaves were tortured mercilessly and their ghosts roam the lands, looking to get vengeance on the descendants of those that tormented them, which includes most of the guests of the wedding.

While the weekend unfolds, Celine, Mira, and Jesse are each forced to acknowledge their history with each other, and to save themselves from what’s to come.

LaTanya delivers a haunting, dark, and atmospheric novel which explored themes of privilege and race. The social commentary was woven seamlessly into the narrative, and the horror in the novel was rather quiet and understated, making this more like a suspense novel. She makes the fact that everybody’s haunted by history both startlingly beautiful and real and serves up stark lucidity and beauty, she never hides from the darkness from the past. Instead she makes a meaning out of it, and has created a wonder of a novel.

There’re parts where this deliciously uncomfortable novel get to be so difficult where you have to put the book down, take a deep breath, and like the hero, urge yourself to push forward. It’s a novel that reminds the readers that as long as people do not acknowledge just how much of the past still shapes the present, it’s going to bring out its hatchets, whips, and fists to force everybody to learn.

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