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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Jeannie Choe

I first heard about Jeannie when I saw the gorgeous cover for her debut, Written in the Oceans circulating on Instagram. It might have taken me a while to read the book, but I did and the angsty, emotional rollercoaster had me hooked. Since then, Jeannie’s released two more books in a series of interconnected standalones that I’m really looking forward to reading soon!


Jeannie might not like enemies to lovers as a trope, but that won’t stop her from reading it or enjoying it when done the right way. She is also enticed by aspect of a secret relationship, and honestly, who isn’t? As a fan of the brother’s best friend trope, I’m excited to see what Jeannie’s got in store for us.


You can get all of Jeannie’s books in Kindle Unlimited right now. And while you’re here, make sure you check out In Between The Pages Podcast that has Jeannie and fellow author, Kaye Rockwell (who was also featured in this series) talking to other indies about their author journeys!


BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

I’d say the need for a creative outlet. Writing has always been a way to express my creativity and if I didn’t, I feel like those stories in my head would be itching to get out.


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

The best part is the connections I’ve made with fellow indie authors and readers who support my work. It’s been such an amazing experience connecting with everyone I’ve met on social media. I’ve made some true friendships here. The worst, or hardest, part is the multiple hats that I have to wear. Essentially, I do my own marketing, PR, promoting, etc. While all of the work is very rewarding, it gets a little overwhelming at times.


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

Initially, it was because I was too impatient. I wanted my debut in the hands of readers but now that I’m approaching my third release, I’m seeing how much control I have over my work. I don’t think I could give that up. I’m sure there are many perks to both, and this isn’t to say I will never go the traditional route, but for now, this works best for me.


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

The biggest way to get my creative juices flowing is through writing. Whether it’s plotting or writing scenes for future chapters, it’s my biggest creative outlet. But I’m a strong believer in taking breaks when I’m starting to feel burned out so to recharge my creative battery, I’ll pick up another one of my hobbies. I’ll read or work on some kind of arts and crafts project, rewatch old movies.


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

Most are surprised that my favorite book isn’t a romance book considering I’m a romance author, but my favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It’s a story of two Afghan women brought together by marriage as a first and second wife during the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. It’s a heartbreaking story that I believe every woman should read.


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

1. Don’t give up. Your readership is waiting for you. 

2. Cultivate your relationships with fellow authors. They are going to be the ones who understand your journey and become the support system you need. 

3. Write that first draft. 

4. Reviews/ratings are not for the author, they’re for readers. 

5. And lastly, quoting Kristin Wiig: “If you are creating anything at all, it’s really dangerous to care about what other people think.”



ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

I wish my answer was something deep and meaningful, but it’s so much more simpler than that. It’s fun! I have a total blast creating angsty scenarios and the SPICE?! Yes, please!


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

I would probably dip into women’s fiction and maybe even historical fiction. Those are other genres that I enjoy reading and they always say to write the book you want to read!


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

My favorite is friends to lovers. I love the foundation of a friendship where the romance builds on. It gives the progression of the relationship a deeply genuine feel to it. And my least favorite… I’m going to preface this by saying that just because it’s not a favorite does not mean I will not read it. I’m a pretty loose reader and I’ll try any book with a good recommendation and a catchy blurb attached to it. So, my least favorite is enemies to lovers. Now, I do appreciate the heated angst when the enemies finally become lovers but all of the animosity and bullying, I’m not a fan of. I just want everyone to be kind to each other!!! However, a few of my favorite books are enemies to lovers. I just tend to not gravitate towards them.


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

I recently discovered I love writing secret relationships. The angst of being in love with someone you shouldn’t be while hiding the whole relationship from people can be written with so much pain and beauty. So there will be much more secret relationships in my future books!


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

I personally think there needs to be some appreciation for a not happy ending. Sometimes love isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and I think some appreciation for the journey is good for the soul. It lets us know that we aren’t alone and there are plenty of love stories that are just love stories without a happily ever after and that’s completely okay!


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

IT’S FUN! I honestly have no other answer than that. I’ve thought about not having an open door romance scene in my books, and I may in the future, but it’s so much fun. When I first started, I went through a huge learning curve and hated it because it felt kind of cringey, but each step of that smut writing journey has been so entertaining!


YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

With each book, it’s a different reason. With No Place Like You, I very much wanted to write a book with a found family trope. With the book being the second in a standalone series, I used the characters chosen to get their own book to create a storyline to fit that trope. Once I’ve decided on the characters, the plot sort of builds itself. I’ll throw in tropes I didn’t even plan on having or subplots I didn’t even realize would fit. And voila! A story is made.


Can you briefly tell me about your books?

So far, I’ve stuck with new adult and contemporary romance. My debut is a celebrity romance with a large focus on mental health. My interconnected standalone series leans closer to a rom-com though there are hints of emotional undertones in certain scenes. I’m still very much a baby author so there are a hundred different ways my writing can go for future books.


Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

Oh no! Are we allowed to play favorites?! I think as a couple, my favorite is Natalia and Hayden from Best I Never Had. I loved the friends to lovers storyline their relationship has, which is deeply rooted into their past. It’s a dual timeline book and those hints of their past makes their story oh-so-sweet! As far as a favorite character, I don’t think I have one! I guess I love my babies all the same!


If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Now this is a question that’ll pull me into a IMDB rabbit hole! I’ve never been asked this question and I am feeling the pressure! If I was basing my choices solely based on looks, I would most likely choose Victoria Justice to play Natalia Marquez from Best I Never Had and a younger Chace Crawford to play Hayden Marshall. I think that’s all my brain can scrounge right now! Maybe my readers can help me come up with the other characters!


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

I’ve only really put myself into the characters from my first book. Written in the Oceans is a book that dips heavily into depression and anxiety and there was a lot of myself in that aspect. Describing how depression feels and how grief feels felt very natural once I put myself into that mindset while writing. For that reason, it’s a very personal story for me.


What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?

So far, a lot of my characters have been in their early mid twenties and I’ve learned that it’s getting a little hard to relate to those within that age range. (*Taps mic* Where are my elder millennials at?) I really want to write more characters in their late thirties, early forties, ones I can pour a bit of myself into, with life experiences that I’ve had. Plus, I’ll be able to add some nostalgic fun with some 2000’s pop culture tidbits!


Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?

There will always be a heart tugging subplot. Obviously, romance will take up much of the plot but I enjoy making my readers feel, and sometimes, cry. So please cry while reading my books!! 


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

I’m currently working on a brother’s best friend with a dual timeline. It’s very much in the early stages of the writing process, but it’s coming along and I’m hoping I can apply a lot of what I’ve learned so far as a writer to the story. And it will have plenty of those early 2000’s moments to fill every elder millennial’s heart!


When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

I want my readers to feel as if the characters from my books are real. Not just fictional people on paper but real people they sympathize and feel for. As a reader, I find that my most cherished reads are ones where I feel deeply connected to the characters. I want readers to have that same experience when reading my books.


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense

  • Single or Dual POV—either one, no preference

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances—depends on my mood (hello mood reader!)

  • Music or silence when writing—usually music but depends on my mood

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser—I am a Jesus take the wheel-er. There is no method to this madness!

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?—coffee in the mornings, decaf tea in the nights, and always a huge jug of water too.

  • Cold or warm weather—with a lot of blankets and fuzzy socks

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—I’ll write at all hours, usually when I can, but my best writing is in the middle of the night at like, 2 am. Yay insomnia!

  • Illustrated or photo cover?—both! Depends on the vibes of the book


Want more Jeannie? You can find her on Instagram and Goodreads. Make sure you check out her website and also get your hands on signed paperbacks!

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