Literary ans were in for the treat of a lifetime at The House Party Experience 2023, hosted by Alexandria House. The acclaimed romance novelist presented her second annual event, held this year in Atlanta.
"It’s a thank you to my readers because I'm so appreciative that I get to do what I love to do for a living because of them,” House tells EBONY. This year’s theme was based on The Romey University series, an Audible Original production. "So it was an HBCU homecoming,” she declares.
Guest gathered in the Peach State to indulge in all things relating to House’s latest book anthology, which revolve around three friends who attended school together and are now juggling the demands of "grown" life. “I wanted it to feel like a real homecoming experience, House declares. “I'm an HBCU graduate. I went to the University of Arkansas. My parents met there and I have two children who are graduates from the same school, so there is that heritage and legacy.”
Guests mingled over cocktails and libations from Michael Lavelle Wines, Bumbu Original, Path Water and Coca-Cola and nibbled small bites during the three days of festivities. “What I loved about the first House Party Experience was the community that it built. I didn't realize there was one already there because of my books. People who went to the first House Party are still friends so it’s a really good safe space for Black women: no drama, just a vibe.”
This year included the House Party sorority, an opportunity for attendees to join the House sisterhood. “You could customize a jacket and pick out a line name, and we did their line number by their birth date,” House says. “It was a very cool experience.”
The Romey U series includes three books: Teach Me, Touch Me and Temper Me. “It’s about educated and sophisticated women having it all and the men who love them.” The collection's omnibus also includes the fictional history of Romey University. “It was created by the daughter of an enslaved woman and her enslaver. She was their only child and inherited his estate where she built a college for Black people," House shares.
To celebrate Romance Awareness Month, several other independent Black romance writers were on the scene to tell their tales and toast in honor of Black romance fiction, and guests took pictures in front of their favorite book covers. The evening's Teach, Touch and Temper Me rooms played homage to the series themes of Black erotica. “Passion Play is a sex shop that the mother of one of the book’s heroines owns, so there were a lot of interesting things in those rooms,” House says with a chuckle. “We wanted to literally bring the book to life, which is something very rare in the Black romance community.”