Summertime is the perfect occasion for indulging in life’s luxuries, fantasizing and reveling in the depths of love, especially Black love. Whether shared with friends, family, or lovers, this love makes you feel good and euphoric. Above all, Black love is dope, multifaceted and there is no one way for this kind of love to manifest. It’s not perfect but that is what makes it so beautiful to discover and explore.
Very rarely do Black folks find examples of Black love in mainstream culture that are positively uplifting and without trauma. Because of this, depicting the fullness of #blacklove is where author Tia Williams finds the most joy. The esteemed writer, editorial director of Estée Lauder Companies, and a bonafide boss lady has served Khadijah James realness for over two decades while developing her own love story. Most notably, she has crafted a variance of romantic lifelines that are relatable and allows readers to simply enjoy and get caught up in the rapture of love. (*cue auntie Anita Baker*) With her 2014 novel The Perfect Find, which is currently in the process of being adapted into a film for Netflix and slated to star Gabrielle Union and Niecy Nash, we could not be more excited for this to hit our screens.
In the meantime, her latest novel, Seven Days in June, takes us on a weeklong voyage that makes us question if second chances at love can truly work out for the better. Through including tidbits of herself with a little added spice, we are introduced to Eva and Shane, both writers in their own right, who tried the love thing years prior as teens but serendipitously (well, almost) reconnect and give it another shot.
Before you (safely) prepare for your vacay or vibe out poolside with this captivating read, check out EBONY’s interview with Tia Williams as she dishes on the complications of rediscovering love and some of her favorite fictional Black power couples to date.
EBONY: Congratulations on The Perfect Find being turned into a film. What has it been like to have the book turn into a movie?
Tia Williams: Thank you! The production is happening at the end of June and it’s been such a long wait due to COVID. When I wrote The Perfect Find, I was picturing it as I write with a cinematic style, so I am beyond excited to see it come to life on screen with the casting, the setting, set design, and all of it.
It’s no secret that art imitates life and one can only imagine the life experience that led to the creation of this tale. How did this love story come to be?
I got the idea to write Seven Days In June after watching Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio; and, I was just thinking about what would have happened if Romeo and Juliet hadn’t died. What if they had this wild romance as teens and then met again as grown ups? Would that spark still be there? It prompted the question, “Do soulmates have an expiration date?” You always wonder what you would do if “the one” got away and came back. What would you say? What would you wear? Would your memory of that time together be the same? Where does all that love go? So, I was inspired to write a big decade spanning romance. I love an iconic love story and I hadn’t seen one like this before featuring us.
When I started writing this book I was a single mother of a 12-year-old, living in Brooklyn with a Creole mother. All of those things are what I share with Eva. I took inspiration from my own life but that’s where the similarities end. I definitely do not share a traumatic past, and my mom and I get along very well. But I feel that generational trauma and complex relationships between mother and daughter are always worth exploring so that is how Eva came about.
If you were to cast Seven Days In June tomorrow, who would be in your dream cast lineup?
I would love to see Zazie Beetz as Eva. Trevante Rhodes would play Shane. Saniyya Sidney for Audre. Jada Pinkett Smith as Cece. And, Teyonah Parris as Belinda.
What is something that you wish you knew earlier about love, and what has writing this book taught you about it?
I think you are always learning about love. I met my [current] husband halfway through writing this book and it changed the vibe of it a little. Since I started, we’ve become a little family similar to the way that the characters do in the book. You learn to reconfigure and re-adapt after being used to one dynamic your whole life and opening up to another. When my then-boyfriend and now-husband first started visiting, I wanted him and my daughter to forge a relationship but it was awkward and weird at first. This adaptation of love definitely went into the book.
Who are some of your favorite fictional iconic Black couples?
- Whitley Gilbert & Dwayne Wayne played by Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Harrison (A Different World)
- Tracey Chambers & Brian played by Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams (Mahogany)
- Nina Mosley & Darius Lovehall played by Nia Long and Larenz Tate (Love Jones)
- Janie Starks & Tea Cake played by Halle Berry and Michael Ealy (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
- Carmen Jones & Joe played by Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte (Carmen Jones)
- Bernie & Joan played by Kevin Hart and Regina Hall (About Last Night)
- Sparkle Williams & Stix played by Irene Cara and Philip Michael Thomas (Sparkle)
What do you want readers to take away when they read the book?
I think it really humanizes us when we consume entertainment that celebrates our humanity, every facet of it. We are all evolving, we are funny, boring, fashionable, dorks, writers, world travelers, regular—we are everything. We are not a monolith and we all carry interesting journeys. There is not one sole Black experience. In the 80’s and 90’s, there was one Black experience reflected, if at all. It’s important to me to give us this gift of great love for the sake of great love. Just a wish fulfillment story for Black folks to get lost in.