By Laia Feliu.
We are very happy to welcome Jayci Lee to The Reading Corner to discuss her upcoming romantic comedy “Booked on a Feeling“, out July 26th!
Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.
If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.
Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…
Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.
Hi Jayci! Firstly, thank you so much for your time. Let me start by saying that “Booked on a Feeling” was my first 5-star RomCom of the year, and I don’t give 5 stars lightly! I loved your characters and their love for books.
Before diving into the interview, I would like to give you the space to introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I’m Jayci Lee. Thank you so much for giving “Booked on a Feeling” 5 stars! That makes me so happy! Okay, so about me…I write contemporary romance featuring Korean-American main characters. I hope my stories give my reader all the feels and lots of laughter as well as a realistic glimpse into Asian American culture—or at least my take on it based on my life experiences. I want to show that love is universal and that romance is for everyone.
Lizzy’s favourite place in the world was Hideaway bookstore in LA, was this store inspired by a favourite place of yours? If not, what is your favourite place to go when you need a break?
Hideaway Bookstore was inspired in part by The Ripped Bodice in Culver City and Chevalier’s Books in Larchmont Village, but also by my general love of all bookstores. There’s something so magical about being surrounded by all those different stories, voices, and worlds in a warm, cozy space filled with the smell of books.
Lizzy’s love for romance books is something I could really relate to. Is Romance your favourite genre as well? If so, is there a romantic comedy that impacted you when you were younger?
Romance is definitely my favorite genre, and I love that there is something for everyone in the genre like fantasy romance, historical romance as well as contemporary romance. I read my first Harlequin Romance when I was thirteen and was hooked ever since.
“Booked on a Feeling” is an incredibly heart-warming book, and both characters face problems I am sure many of your readers can relate to. Did you pull inspiration for your book from real life experiences?
Yes, more so for this book than any of my other books. I was a litigator for fifteen years before I became an author. I wrote about the demands and dynamics of being an attorney partially based on my personal experience. The choice to pivot from one career to another also came from experience. Lizzy realized that her dream was to own a bookstore, and I realized that my dream was to become a romance author.
This book has two of my favourite book tropes: friends to lovers and second chance love. If you could any read one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s a hard one. I love the depth of history between the characters in friends to lovers and second chance romances. But I also find the edgy vibe in enemies to lovers stories quite exciting.
I often wonder what happens after I finish a book I really enjoyed, what do you think the future holds in store for Lizzy and Jack?
Happily ever after, of course. I don’t want to give anything away, but Lizzy and Jack will continue to grow in their careers and personal lives. They will always be there for each other to challenge and support one another, and learn what it means to be a family.
How do you come up with interesting characters? And how do you get to know those characters well enough to write a great story about them?
The characters are the first thing that take form in my mind well before I write their story. I don’t think I deliberately formulate who they will be. They kind of come alive in my head—their likes and dislikes, their flaws and strengths—all of that kind of happens. Once I know who they are, they are the ones who decide what their journey will be and how their story will be told.
We are starting to see a lot more diversity in romantic comedies, and readers and writers are beginning to realise there are many more cultures out there that need representing. Do you think the publishing industry is doing enough to provide the public with more diverse stories, or is there still a long road ahead of us?
I think this is only the beginning but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m honored to be part of the change.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
I think the magic of books is that everyone will have a unique takeaway. They will find what they need in that moment through the story. In whatever points they are in their lives, I hope Booked on a Feeling gives my readers joy, hope, and laughter.Are there any books within the genre or with similar messages to “Booked on a Feeling” you could recommend?
I think Ruby Lang and Jackie Lau have written some delightful contemporary romances that readers would enjoy. Please don’t make me pick just one.
And last but not least, where can everyone get their hands on this amazing story?
I think the best place would be your local romance friendly independent bookstore, but Booked on a Feeling will be available at Barnes & Noble and all your favorite online retailers.
Jayci Lee writes poignant, sexy, and laugh-out-loud romance every free second she can scavenge. She lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. At times, she cannot accommodate real life because her brain is full of drool worthy heroes and badass heroines clamoring to come to life.
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