#Q&A with L.J. Shen

Musings…
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am an avid fan of L.J. Shen. Her stories are engaging and her heroes are scrumptious. I never tire of her words. But if any of you have had the opportunity to talk to her, then you also know that she is one of the nicest, most generous authors I have ever had the privilege of working with. Her love for her readers and fellow authors is not only evident in her words but her actions. She is truly one of a kind and is deserving of all the success in the world.
Author Interview:
L.J. Shen Answers Reader Questions:
Where do you get the inspiration for your heroes and heroines (Sarah Cunningham)?
Mainly from people I know in real life. I don’t have to know them well at all. Sometimes it can be people I see on a regular basis and know pretty vaguely, but I make up a character for them in my mind and kind of play the game where I try and imagine how they’d act and react to certain situations. My mind is a weird place to live in.
What inspired you to create the Sinners of Saints series, specifically the Hot Holes (Julia MG)?
I really thought there was a story there for each of the characters to tell. I shied away from the idea of writing a series for the longest time, but when it came to them, I just KNEW each of them had a unique story to tell.
It was also during a time when I just moved to a new neighborhood and there’re a ton of teenagers living here. It brought me back to high school, and that kind of inspired me to write something that flirts with YA.
How do you find the balance of strong and vulnerable with your heroes (Deb James)?
I think the more you’re a douchebag, the saddest your story. I mean, something made you act this way, right? So I like to explore that something when I write a character. I don’t think there really is a balance. Some of my characters are plain ruthless (Troy), and some are more tortured than anything else (Alex). I think it really depends on the character. I don’t really know what I’m dealing with until I’m halfway through a book. That’s usually when I really get to know the character that I’m writing.
What influences your story-lines (Clarissa Kwan)?
News, TV Shows, hot gossip and my hectic mind. I always try to bring something fresh to the table. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a curveball at the eighty percent mark of the story, but I don’t want my readers to finish a book thinking, “yeah, I saw this coming from page 1.”
Are any of the places you write about from real life? Places you’ve visited (Rita Pacchiana)?
Well, Todos Santos is fictional, but it could be any SoCal beach town, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. Midnight Blue was written in 5-6 countries and I’ve been to all of them. The hardest to write about were Australia and Russia because it’s been a while since I’ve been there.
What is something you would like to write one day: genre, characters, theme, that you aren’t quite comfortable with writing yet (Joselyn  Pina)?
One day, I’ll write a thriller.
How do you write so much in one day (Rose Croft)?
I don’t. I really don’t write all that much. I plot and let the characters brew in my head. I have a pinboard that I use to remember all the bits and pieces. I can refrain from writing for two weeks because I’m not feeling it and then write 40k in two days. I don’t believe in writing every day, for the simple reason that I’m not inspired every day. But I do try to do something constructive every day, even if it’s editing a paragraph or watching a documentary that’s related to what I’m writing.
Are any of your characters based on real people you know or have known (Cat Wright)?
Yeah, pretty much all of them.
I don’t think the real people would like to be outed (especially the real Vicious, LOL), but they’re always based on people I know.
Where do you get your character names from, particularly Vicious, Ruckus, Sirius (Cindy Weidemann)?
Vicious was named after Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols because when I wrote him as a teenager, I imagined a lanky, pail, raven-haired boy. He fit his pet name perfectly, though, for other, obvious reasons.
Ruckus and Sirius just kind of came to me as I started writing Dean and Rosie’s story.
Which of your heroines do you relate to the most (Nikki Wrey)?
All of them! I can’t write a heroine I don’t absolutely adore. She needs to be worthy of the man she is going up against, right? I think my favorite, though, is Rosie, because of her strength, and the current heroine that I’m writing, because of her bravery.
What brought you to writing these stories? What is your process when writing a story (Nessa Parent)?
I write what I’d like to read more of. It’s as simple as that. I don’t write to please (even though my readers are extremely important to me). I write what I look for when I browse through Amazon looking for my next read.
The process varies. Sometimes I spend weeks doing research, sometimes I kind of barf out the words and finish a book in two weeks. Every book is unique.
What did you want to be when you were a little kid (Leah Dynes)?
I always wanted to be a writer. Always.
How do you match the storylines, the books, the mood, the characters to the music on the playlist (Deb James)?
It happens naturally for me. With Midnight Blue, I had a ton of fun going back to the original bands I used to listen to as a teenager and that was such a blast. I loved it. With my current WIP, I listen to stuff I normally wouldn’t, but it fits the story so well. It’s angry and desperate and gritty like the story. Normally I choose a plot and then kind of dig out the songs that I like that fit it and play it on repeat for hours as I write and plot.
Who does the covers for the Sinners series (Phyllis Lamken)? 
Letitia Hasser at RBA Designs and she is AMAZEBALLS. My friend Sunny helps me come up with concepts. In fact, ALL my covers need to be Sunny-proofed.
What book of yours would recommend for those who have finished Midnight Blue, and it is the first book they have read by you (Neva-Michael Arrington)?
Sparrow or Vicious.
What do you do to get yourself in the mind frame to start writing (Nancy Erdmann)?
Make myself some coffee, make sure I answered all my emails and turn off the WiFi so I’m not distracted.
L.J. Shen Answers Random Questions:
What is your favorite under appreciated novel?
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare. I don’t think many of my friends have read it but it is so freaking awesome.
Favorite read of 2017? Anticipated read of 2018?
CAN’T answer the first one because there were just too many books that took my breath away in 2017. I feel like I won’t be doing my friends and colleagues justice. My most anticipated read for 2018 is All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover and The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting.
Favorite aspect of the book community?
The true friendships and huge love for the written word.
If you didn’t write, what would you be doing for a job?
I would probably be a teacher.
If you could describe your stories in one sentence, what would it be?
Nawwwww, I’m really bad at this. It always sounds like I’m humblebragging. My stories are hopefully complex and unique. Let’s leave it at that? LOL.
L.J. Shen Answers Either/Or:
French Fries of Salad – FRENCH FRIES.
Summer or Winter – Summer all the way.
Wine or Beer – I very much want to be a wine chick, but I’m a beer girl through and through.
Books or Movies – Books
Tattoos or Piercings – piercings for me, tats on others (I’m really indecisive)
Dressed up or dressed down – Down. Lululemon 4Life.
Book or Kindle – Gimme the real deal. Nothing smells better than a new book.
Sky diving or bungee jumping – NEITHER. Can’t I just sit at home with Netflix and chill?
Tropics or Europe – Europe
Bowling or Movies – Movies
Art Festival or Music Fesitval – Music
Stay in or Go out – In
Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – Instagram.

Midnight Blue Review & One-Click

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Upcoming L.J. Shen releases:

THE END ZONE (Novella)

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Jolie Louis is a smart girl. She knows that her best friend, Sage Poirier, is a bad idea. He’s a walking, talking cliché. The Adonis quarterback with the bulging biceps and harem of fangirls trailing behind him on campus like a stench you can’t get rid of. Sadly, that’s also the reason she can’t stay away from him. Well, that and the fact that they’re roommates.

Jolie is already straddling the line between friendship and more when Sage comes to her with an offer she cannot refuse: Be his fake girlfriend and live for free for the rest of the semester. She tells herself that she can handle it. He’s just the boy she saved 10 years ago, right? Wrong. So very wrong. He is a man now, and she is his captive, heart, body, and soul…

Audiobook pre-order  ♦ LIVE release alert

Bane is coming May 10!!!

The final installment in the Sinners of Saint Series!

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About LJ Shen:

L.J.LJSHENLogo Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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Happy reading,

6 Comments

  1. Midnight Blue was the first book I read from LJ Shen. Now I need to go back and read the others…

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