Jasmine Guillory Is the Reigning Queen of Romance Novels
Toni Morrison once tweeted, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” And it’s safe to say New York Times best-selling author Jasmine Guillory has done just that.
Hailing from Oakland, California, the avid reader and baker has dominated the lit scene with her modern romance novels, The Wedding Date and its follow-up, The Proposal. And with The Wedding Party, her highly anticipated third book dropping July 16, Guillory shows zero signs of slowing down.
To learn more, we chatted with Guillory about the radical notion of centering Black women’s stories and what’s on her summer reading list.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
ZORA: My friends and I love your books and we also subscribe to your newsletter where you share some incredible recipes, so I have to ask: what came first, your love for books or baking?
Jasmine Guillory: Definitely books. I started reading as a very little girl and I’ve loved books ever since. I taught myself how to bake from my mom’s cookbooks, so they sort of go hand in hand.
When I was growing up, books were mostly about little Black girls in slavery or the civil rights moment. And while I liked those books, none of them felt like my story.
I noticed that food also plays a large role in your books as well. Is that intentional?
It was never really intentional, partly because I think about food all the time, so it’s natural for my characters to eat all the time. I come from a big family that’s mostly based in the Bay Area, and when we gather together, it’s usually around food. So I grew up thinking food is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. Both my grandmothers made gumbo, people bake cakes… those are the things that become gold star days on my calendar. I grew up thinking that…