Author Spotlight: Jeris Jean

Opening Lines by Jeris Jean, Jeris Jean gay romance author, Dominic Calvani model, CJC Photography book cover photographer

CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?

JJ: During the pandemic in 2020, I had an idea for a story, and I just started writing. I have an English degree, and I spent a decade teaching college English, so it wasn’t wholly unfamiliar turf for me, though my focus had never been on creative writing.

Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I shared the book with a few people, and the reception was overwhelmingly positive, so I decided to really “go for it,” so to speak.

CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?

JJ: The most rewarding part is being able to write books that make people feel something. I know I’m happy writing them, but it means so much more to hear readers tell me that they fell in love with a character or that they laughed out loud or cried. That my words can impact someone else in a positive, meaningful way is the absolute best.

I also have a bit of an “agenda” when it comes to writing in the queer romance genre. I’m a queer person, but I know many of my readers are cis hetero people. What I’ve discovered is that the queer romance genre can be a way for a lot of people to avoid triggers that might exist from reading male/female romance books. So, I’m happy to provide a space for anyone who feels more comfortable reading this genre.

The biggest challenge for me is self-doubt or “imposter syndrome.” I am an anxious person and a perfectionist, so, naturally, I am always highly self-critical. That’s probably my biggest hurdle.

CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?

JJ: My favorite novel to write was Crossing Lines, book three in the Hollywood Hopefuls series. I personally think it’s my “best” novel, mainly because that’s where I really found my voice as a writer. I loved writing all of my books, but I think I sorted out what my own style really is in Crossing Lines – lots of dialogue, complex relationships, a slightly larger cast of characters, and plenty of steam.

CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?

JJ: Running Lines, for sure. It’s the first book in the Hollywood Hopefuls series, and it’s where it all begins.

CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?

JJ: Running Lines. 100 percent. My dream cast for the leads would be Richard Madden and Froy Gutierrez.

CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?

JJ: My advice is that you have to be relentless. So many people think they could write a book. Not many can actually finish one. It can be hard, too, to stick out the early part of the process when you don’t have a readership yet. That’s where a lot of people get discouraged. But, it is rare to have instant success with anything, publishing included. The people that succeed at writing are the ones that stick it out.

CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?

JJ: I would love to co-write a book with my book bestie, Garry Michael. I admire his writing, and we just “click” in many ways. We may or may not have discussed this topic a time or two.

CJC: Favorite motto?

JJ: Progress is more important than perfection. It’s something I need to tell myself every day.

CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

JJ: I step away. I listen to music, brainstorm a different project, make graphics, or something else. Then I come back to it with fresh eyes.

CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?

JJ: Conversational.

It’s really not fair to ask a writer to give a one-word answer, you know.

CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?

JJ: For me, the blurb is harder. Not because it’s necessarily difficult to write, but because it is a different type of writing. It’s ad copy, essentially, and that’s not my forte.

CJC: Which author inspires you the most and why?

JJ: The author that inspires me most is Alexis Hall. For so many reasons. Mainly, because his books make me think and they make me feel. The characters are complex and memorable, and the writing is just freaking flawless. Witty and sharp and layered. Gorgeous, fantastic writer.

CJC: What is your writing process like?

JJ: I start with a concept, then come up with the main characters. It begins methodically and ends where it will once the creative process takes over. I outline. Then I expand the outline. Then I divide up chapters and start writing. Once I begin, the dialogue is what I “hear” first in my head, so I usually start there. Then I just write. The characters dictate what happens, so I ALWAYS end up straying from the original outline. Then I get feedback and edit accordingly.

CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

JJ: I’m currently working on the first book in a brand new series called Coleridge Cliffs. It is a little bit moodier and a little bit darker, but still plenty of steam and heart. I also have another project planned for later in the year that is top secret.

CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?

JJ: If you’ve made it to the end of my ramblings, thank you!

CJC: Thank you so much Jeris for featuring Dominic and I on Opening Lines which is now available!

Stay up to date with all of Jeris Jean’s latest releases here!

1 CommentAdd a comment

On Wednesday, June 30th 2021 at 9:09 pm, Tina Alicea said:

Great interview! I loved hearing your responses and more about your process. Thank you!!

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