[20 Questions] LJ Shen @lj_shen

Because we are rebels here at the Unrated Bookshelf...
It's more like,Twenty-ish Questions!
When is your birthday?
September 24th, 1986
Are you a morning person, or a night person?
Definitely a night person. I do my best writing, reading, pumpkin-carving and all things artistic at night. I’m borderline dysfunctional before four p.m.!
Why did you choose to write for the genre that you do?
I believe that we read to tickle our heartstrings. We read thrillers when we want to be scared and autobiographies when we want to be inspired and cooking books when we want to make a kick-ass casserole. We read romance primarily to laugh and cry and get all the feels, and I am humbled to work in a profession which allows me to reach the hearts of so many people.
What is your favorite season or holiday?
I love the spring and summer. I’m a sunshine girl through and through. I don’t think I could leave California even if I wanted to. I mean, maybe…to Arizona. Or Nevada. Or Australia. Or hell. Somewhere warm, for sure.
If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go, and why?
I’ll go back to Thailand because it’s one of my favorite places, to Paris because it’s the most beautiful city in the world, and to India because I’m in love with the spirituality of the people.
If you could live with one person living, dead, or imaginary for one year in a tiny one bedroom apartment, who would you choose and why?
Can the person be dead *while* I live with them? Because I’m a real introvert, LOL. Kidding. I would probably be content living with someone just as quiet and in their own world as I am, someone who keeps to themselves. Maybe Einstein or JK Rowling. Our conversations would be hysterical.
What are three things that you would put on your Bucket List?
Finally get that tattoo.
Take a sabbatical and tackle my TBR list.
Go on a vacation, just me and my son. I loved spending one-on-one with him.

What is the wallpaper on your cellphone?
My son, Benjamin, sitting on the couch with Wayfarers and I’m-better-than-you expression. It’s epic.
What are three things that you always keep handy at all times?
Hand sanitizer, gum, and my phone.
What inspires you, or where do you look for inspiration?
Everything. Movies, books, TV shows, people, places, scents, everything.
What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
I’m left-handed. I dropped out of uni. Twice. I remarried when I was 26 (!). I think that covers my crazy self pretty much.
What is the weirdest thing that you have ever googled?
“can you sit on a chair in Minecraft”. And not even for me. I’m a really cool aunt, you see.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to future generations? To the opposite sex?
Oh, God. I’m totally not in a position to be giving advice. Getting some, sure. Okay, let’s see. Future generation? Don’t get addicted to social media. I kills your good vibe and sucks up all your free time. To the opposite sex? Don’t objectify women. It’s gross.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
My life is a chain of embarrassing moments laced together by the behavior of yours, truly. Most recently, I showed up to my son’s Halloween party very early. And I mean, three days earlier.
What is your most favorite time in History?
I’m obsessed with the 90’s. I’m biased because I was a wee kid then and literally *everything* seemed cool, but I honestly believe that the best music was made in the 90’s. And movies. And TV shows. Gah.
Who are three women in time, real or imaginary, worth looking up to? Why?
I love E.L. James. She is a huge star and still takes the time to communicate with her readers and peers on social media. To me, that shows fantastic character. Her journey is always humble and beautiful to see.
Anne Frank, because she was strength, beauty and resilience, all tucked together in such a young child, and still, she loved. Hard.
Third—both sisters in The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. When I think about strong women, they are a perfect example. Although I’m sad that I didn’t choose even one woman in politics. Can I throw in another one? Pretty please with a cherry on top?
What is the most attractive, and the first thing you notice, about the opposite sex?
Physically, smile and jaw. Personality-wise—the tone and steadiness of their voice.
Who is the first person you call when you are having a bad day?
My husband. Unfortunately for him. I can go on forever. He once went through a one-hour conference meeting while I was on the phone with him, complaining about some guy who cut me in line at Costco.
What kind of drunk person do you turn into when you drink?
1-3 drinks: still same old me.
3-6 drinks: fun, extrovert, slightly-louder-than-usual Leigh.
6-and more drinks: I will sit you down and tell you all about my issues and what’s wrong with the world.
How would you describe your favorite color to a blind person?
Like the taste of strawberries and chocolate melting in your mouth.
If you could be any color in the big box of crayons, which one would you be?
Pink or black (see what I did there?)
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
My toddler is just learning how to use things, so he is constantly misusing things. The other day, he tried brushing his hair with a toothbrush. Or a few days ago, he picked up the remote and put it to his ear and started yelling, “hello? Who is this?” He cracks me up. He is sort-of kind-of speaking right now, so he is having entire conversations with the remote control, and it’s always random things he picked up. “Hello? What? Huh? What?! Yeah. Yeah. No. Ball. Elephant. Okay, bye.”
What was your worst autocorrect situation?
Ducking. My characters do that a lot.
What is your favorite 90’s throwback jam?
How much time you got, Missy? Probably Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana or You Ought to Know by Alanis Morissette.
What do you put on your pizza?
Everything. I would put another pizza on my pizza if I could. My favorite is tomatoes, black olives, pepperoni, pineapple (yes! I went there) and bell peppers.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Do you eat your feelings, or starve them?
I eat them, and then I give them seconds and thirds. Then dessert, because: aww, poor feels.
What is your biggest baddest guilty pleasure?
Reality TV. I literally follow 10 different reality tv shows. I know more about the Kardashians and Chase Christley’s family life than my own.
Who would win in a fight: Batman or Spiderman?
I’m rooting for Batman but probably Spiderman. Batman sometimes needs to lose and get all broody with Alfred before he bounces back.
Do you believe in Ghosts? Aliens? Big Foot?
No, yes, and no. I only believe in aliens, but I don’t believe they actually visit us. I find it unlikely that we’re the only living creatures in the universe.
So, the Moon Landing, did it actually happen?
But of course!
If only one of your books could be turned into a movie, which one would you choose and why?
I really can’t choose. I love them all equally but differently. I think Sparrow is the most cinematic, Vicious is the most marketable, Scandalous is quirky, Sundance-y and Ruckus would be great for couples on Valentine’s Day.
Who is your favorite author, and/or what is your favorite book?
There are so many. Again, choosing would make me feel horrible. I can honestly say some of the books that shaped me as an author are The Bronze Horseman trilogy, The Nightingale, and everything Colleen Hoover.
If you could throw a parade, what type of parade would you throw and why?
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe a parade of people who really need their morning coffee. We’ll probably look like zombies, but…still.
Do you ever google yourself?
Do you ever hide secrets in your books that only a few people would find?
No. It never actually occurred to me, but I think my writing process is so complicated and consuming, I would probably forget, anyway.
What is one thing that you have edited out of any of your books, that you wish you could put back in?
Nothing. I love the way I edit my books. I have a great team of editors and beta-readers. I sometimes wonder how Sparrow would have done if it still had its original ending. (SPOILER ALERT: she ends up with Brock.)
What is one food, or drink, that you could NEVER give up?
Diet coke. It’s my kryptonite. I think I need it more than coffee.
What was the hardest scene, or book, for you to write?
The revelation. No matter what the revelation is, it’s always the hardest. Because I need to tie everything together and show so many emotions.
What is your most favorite quote or lyric?
“She needed a hero. So that’s what she became.”
Do you sing in the shower?
No. The shower doesn’t deserve it.
If you could be on any reality TV show, which one would you choose?
Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I sometimes want to crawl inside the TV and just get things done, you know? Show them the right way. Make them see the light.
Are you a Clutter Queen or a Neat Freak?
Clutter Queen galore! I keep and save everything. My office is a complete mess but my house is super neat because my husband is THE King of OCD.
If you were forced to open a bakery, what would you name it?
Hot Buns. 
Would You Rather... 
See but never smell, or hear but never taste?
Never taste, please. #DietGoals
 Looking Forward...
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing a rock star romance, MIDNIGHT BLUE, and will soon have a release date for it. I’m also working on BANE (Sinners of Saint #4).
What other plans do you have with your writing?
That’s a top secret.
When is you next book possibly going to release?
So is this.
 More About L.J. Shen...
L.J. Shen is an USA Today and 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.
Check Out Her Books!


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