The AMAZING L.J. Shen agreed to do some interview questions for me.
Thank you so much!!!
About L.J. Shen:
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 Best-selling author of contemporary and YA romance. Her books are translated into several languages. She lives in California with her husband and son, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.
Connect with L.J. Shen:
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Website ➜ www.authorljshen.com
Or text SHEN to 313131 to get new releases alert (US only)
- What is your favorite restaurant?
There are quite a few but I think I’m going to go with Leo’s Oyster Bar in San Francisco. I’m obsessed with seafood, as you can probably tell.
- Where is your favorite or dream vacation spot?
I have a very soft spot for Asia. My best vacation was probably in Thailand. But I also enjoy Europe very much. I would probably choose somewhere I haven’t been yet. Maybe India. I love the spirituality and mentality there. There’s a lot of depth and happiness in their culture.
- What do you eat and drink while writing?
I try not to eat when I’m writing because it’s a sure recipe to gaining them pounds, LOL. I do drink a lot of herbal tea and water. Sometimes coffee, but I try to kick the habit, since I sometimes get to 4-5 coffees a day. Still, while editing, coffee is my best (and sometimes only) friend.
- Where were you born?
I was born in Israel.
- If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?
That’s a toughie. The list is pretty long. It’s a tie between Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe. Those two should not even be in the same sentence, but I would have loved to have a candid conversation with both of them.
- How often do you curse?
Oh, let’s see. Only about every other hour.
- What is your favorite movie?
OMG I can’t. There are too many. Trainspotting is up there, along with Little Miss Sunshine and Donnnie Darko. I gravitate toward indies, maybe because I am one, and I love the nakedness and rawness of them.
- What three words best describe you?
Well, this is just according to me, but I would love for people to see me like this because it is certainly my goal in life: compassionate, emotional and happy.
This or that:
- Vodka or Rum? Vodka
- Summer or Winter? Summer all the way.
- Baseball or Football? Football all the way.
- Heels or Flats? I wish I could wear heels for more than two hours without wanting to die. I’m an AIR JORDAN’S girl through and through though.
- Plan everything or Go with the flow? I plan everything months ahead.
- Cat or Dog? Both. Love animals.
- Toilet paper: Over or Under? Over! Under seems logistically unacceptable and not very hygienic.
- Beer or Wine? I wish I could say wine, but in reality—beer
- Tattoos or no tattoos? Yes. Fuck yes.
- Fruits or vegetables? Enjoy fruits more but I eat a lot of vegetables because I’m trying to excel at this adulating thing
- Puzzles or board games? PUZZLES. Addicted.
- Pasta or pizza? Pizza.
Specific Questions (Spoilers possible):
- I have read 6 of your books so far….and each one has its own personality. The first book I read was Tyed. Why do a book about Mixed Martial Arts?
I love MMA. I love watching it and I used to do it. Not so much anymore. At the time, I was a UFC junkie. So I thought it would be a cool thing to write about. I did my research and I’m so glad I wrote this book because it was different from my usual stuff.
- Why did you make Blaire a sassy, quirky heroine?
All my heroines are based on different parts of my personality. Blaire is unsure of herself and her place in the world, much like I was when I was in my early 20’s. She wants to be independent and fierce but sometimes she isn’t, and sometimes…she wants to let go and let Ty take the lead.
- Why only write from on POV in this book?
Honestly? Because I was terrified. It was my debut novel and I wasn’t sure I could pull off a guy’s perspective. As I wrote more and more books, I realized that this was pretty much the part I really enjoyed and was decent at.
- Vicious…..what a book. I can honestly say I hated Vicious for about 80% of the book. And even after finding out why he was the way he was, I still kind of hated him. Did you plan for your readers to hate him?
I planned for readers to find it very difficult to relate to him, because he wasn’t relatable, until he was. I wanted to show/convey that even villains have a story behind them.
- What was the hardest scene to write in Vicious?
I think the one where he has a heart-to-heart with Jo at the pool.
- I connected a lot more to Dean in Ruckus than I did to Vicious. This book was a heart wrenching love story. Why did you write Ruckus so different than Vicious?
I try to give something new in every book. Vicious was an enemies-to-lovers story, whereas Ruckus was a second chance love story. I’m so happy people connected to Ruckus as much as they connected to Vicious. Dean and Rosie’s story was one of my favorite to write.
- Why did you give Rosie cystic fibrosis? Why that illness?
My uncle suffers from it and I wanted to bring awareness to it.
- Scandalous was AMAZING!! Trent and Edie are like oil and water. How did you balance Trent’s character? He was an asshole but he wasn’t a monster. He was cold and ruthless, but he still had a heart.
Yes. Trent has always been this way. Aloof, but with a heart of gold. He pushes Edie away because he’s been burned in the past real bad, and because their age gap is bothering him a lot (which it should), but love conquers all.
- Where you ever worried about he age difference between Trent and Edie being an issue for readers?
Not particularly. I write love stories I believe in. They’re unconventional, but what guides me through them is my own moral compass, even when they are slightly taboo. Trent and Edie were both of legal age when they started pursuing one another. Technically and lawfully, they could do whatever they wanted.
- The last of the “Sinners of Saint” book Bane was WOW!! Jesse BROKE my heart. Why did you choose to write such a tragic past for her?
I wanted to write a different story for a character who wasn’t an original sinner strictly speaking. I really wanted to write a gut-wrenching story because I knew my next release was going to be on the lighter side (not a romantic comedy, just lighter). I took myself places I’ve never been before and I’m very happy that I did.
- What was the hardest scene to write in Bane? Was there ever a time when you thought “maybe that was too much”?
The prologue. For sure. I didn’t want to touch the book for weeks because I couldn’t fathom what it would feel like to go through what Jesse went through.
- If you had to pick a celebrity to play Bane, who would you pick?
Charlie Hunnam or Alex Pettyfer.
- Sparrow is the perfect title for Sparrow’s book. How did you come up with this title and the meaning behind it?
Dror—which means Sparrow in Hebrew—is actually a very common name in Israel. It represents freedom (the bird and freedom are actually the same word). I thought it to be symbolic when writing an arranged marriage book. Ironic, but also fitting.
- Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the plot-twist for this story? The real reason Troy married Sparrow.
I knew from the beginning that Troy wasn’t a man to force himself upon a woman. I needed a good reason for him to marry her. And I love that they hated each other at first for real and that he didn’t think he could ever love this strange bird (pardon my pun).
- Your average rating on Goodreads is 4.20. I think that is pretty awesome. Do you read the reviews people write about your books?
I try not to because I find it distracting on a professional and artistic level. If a blogger sends me a link to their review in DM however (which I highly encourage!) I would of course get in, read it, and Like it (I was once told it is unprofessional to comment on your own reviews even when they’re positive, so I try not to do that). I’m grateful for every single review and each review fills my heart with joy. And I do get into my GR account and choose reviewers at random and send them ARCs to show my appreciation.
Random Ending Questions:
- Is it hard to write duel POV? No. I prefer it to writing single POV because I believe that there are two sides to every story (three, really).
- Who are your one-click authors? Helena Hunting, Mia Sheridan, Tijan, Penelope Douglas, Vi Keeland and Colleen Hoover. But there are a ton more I can’t think of right now.
- Do you write full-time or part-time? Full time.
- Do you feel authors should put trigger warnings in their books? I personally do not believe in trigger warnings. When I write a book, I invite you to take a chance on my story and want you to take my hand and let me guide you through it with eyes closed. I can’t promise HEAs and I cannot promise books without triggers.
- What is the average time it takes to write a book? Varies between two weeks to a year. At least for me.
- What can readers expect in the future?
I just wrapped up Dirty Headlines and it’s with the betas, getting ready to be sent to the editor, so I’m very happy about it. It’s sexy and sassy and a much-needed pallet cleanser from the heavy book I wrote this year—Bane. I’m also working on the first book in ALL SAINTS HIGH, which is a delicious mature YA series. I’m also working on another surprise I can’t wait to share with ya’ll! It’s different from my usual stuff but delish nonetheless.
- Anything you would like to say to your readers?
I love you and cherish you so much. I wake up every day feeling blessed to have you in my life and do not take you for granted. And that applies to you, wonderful bloggers, too!
Books by L.J. Shen (Click the book to go to the Amazon page):
Sinners of Saint Series: