Indie Support Sunday: Lindsey Jesionowski
A fellow 2022 debut author, Lindsey Jesionowski is also a new friend! Like so many romance readers, Lindsey got back into reading when the pandemic confined everyone to their homes. And all that reading has resulted in her debut—Alone Together.
Mom to two kids and writing when she gets the time, Lindsey’s already got the next few books in her debut series planned out. And I’m both excited and honoured to have a chance to interview Lindsey so she can tell us all about her debut, her writing process and why she picked the romance genre!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I’ve always loved language and telling stories. My dad said he started losing arguments to me when I was 2. I wrote a few things when I was young but didn’t start taking writing seriously until adulthood. I was a high school literature and creative writing teacher. Helping students become better writers inspired me to get back into it.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
When the pandemic started, I got back into reading. A lot. And I noticed a theme: I kept gravitating toward romance novels because they filled me with joy, and I’m such a sucker for HEAs. So, I decided this was the genre for me.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I liked being able to have control over my content, covers, and especially my schedule. I’m a mom of 2 busy children, so I liked the flexibility being an indie author provided. If I can write 3 stories in a year, great. If I can only write 1, that’s okay, too.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best is all the support from other indie authors. I’ve made so many friends who are going through all the same things I am, and we truly have each others’ backs. The worst part is the marketing/advertising. I’m not good at promoting myself. I mean, I want people to read my book, but I don’t want to go around shouting, “hey, read my book!”
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
I am doing it on the side right now. I have one child in school full time and one who only goes a couple mornings a week, so I’m trying to soak in all the moments I can before they’re both in school all day, every day. Once they are, I’ll likely start writing on more of a full time schedule.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
I was a dancer for 20 years. I wouldn’t say I’m still good at it, but it’s something I still enjoy. And it’s something I’m incorporating into my second book, so stay tuned!
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I have a background in news writing, so I might dabble in a little nonfiction. Maybe tell stories of people whose stories are still untold.
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Gosh, there are so many. Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez changed me. I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in 8th grade, and it really stuck with me. Two totally different books, but they really hooked me.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Read your genre. It sparks creativity, inspires you, and teaches you the rules, expectations, and themes of the genre.
Branch out and meet people. Social media is a crazy place, but I’ve met so many amazing people that were so willing to support me through this journey. They’ll never know how much their words of encouragement and advice meant to me.
Know you’re going to stink at it. Your first draft will be a dumpster fire. And that’s good. It means you wrote something, which is the hardest part. It can only get better, but nothing can happen if you don’t start.
Let people who know what they’re doing read your work. A couple authors offered to read my first manuscript, and I hesitated. I was nervous…I mean, these were REAL AUTHORS. But I got an absolute education from their critiques. Their advice was worth more than gold, and I never would have had that if I’d kept it to myself.
Show, don’t tell. That was something a critique partner told me, and I think of it every time I sit down to write. And it has made all the difference. Don’t tell your story; show it.
Can you briefly tell us about your debut?
When the pandemic started, I kept hearing about these people who created a “pod” or “bubble” with neighbors or friends, and I started thinking about that. What if you were new to an area and knew no one, and suddenly you’re on lockdown? So that’s where the story got its roots. We have these two lonely neighbors (and a meddling teenage niece) who decide to make the most of the situation. It was a way to force proximity, and the end result is both hilarious and swoon-worthy. Both characters have their issues to work through, but in the meantime, they just enjoy being alone together.
What inspired this story? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
The pandemic may have started turning the gears in my head, but then it turned into something bigger. Max has suffered a huge loss in the past, and that was inspired by something that happened in my town to a friend of mine.
How much of yourself do you put into your characters?
I put a little of myself in Hannah. She is a group aerobics instructor, and I did the same job part time before I got married. So, I was able to give a really accurate portrayal of that aspect of her life because we shared that. She also struggles with anxiety in the book, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I want my readers to feel hope, especially in Alone Together. Max and Hannah both have some tragedies in the past they are trying to overcome, and with the help and support of their friends and each other, they succeed. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. And that’s what I hope my readers feel by the end. We’re not alone.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I want to tell stories that lean into real issues and situations but also make people happy by the end.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
Max and Hannah each have a best friend who make it into the story. Both friends have big personalities and already can’t stand each other. So look for something with the two of them next!
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
I love friends to lovers and enemies to lovers. I don’t dislike the millionaire or celebrity tropes. I just think I haven’t read enough of them to say they’re a favorite.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I really want to write the “best friends since childhood and in love with each other but don’t know it” trope. And I’m definitely eyeing that for book 3.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
I’m seeing it more, but I think the mental health representation needs more visibility. That’s why I wrote Hannah with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I wanted to show that she doesn’t need to be fixed because she isn’t broken, something I think a lot of people feel about themselves when afflicted with a mental health issue.
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
I can’t get enough of the hope for a happily ever after. Because, isn’t that what we all want in life?
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser I pantsed my debut and had a mess to fix. I’m plantsing my second, and what a difference that has made. I don’t think I’ll ever be a plotter because I like a little more freedom when I write, but a little structure has helped tremendously.
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover