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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Ten Things Many People Don’t Know About Me

Now with a blog topic like that, who can resist? So here’s the secret confessions of a Harlequin author:

1. I’m not Chinese.

I don’t really hide this fact, but I realize now that since I chose a Chinese pen name, it may be misleading. My family is from Vietnam and my great-grandmother was Chinese. I feel an affinity to Chinese culture because of its influence on Vietnamese culture and history. What’s been causing me the most anxiety is that the “other” Jeannie Lin doesn’t yet know my name isn’t really Jeannie Lin. We’ve built such a nice rapport over the internet that I feared this confession. Don’t hate me, Jeannie!

2. I used to want to be a Disney Imagineer. I thought it would be a lot of fun to do the detail work on the rides.

3. I really am this sickeningly optimistic.

Apparently when I first arrived at Romance Divas, the moderators were incredulous. “Is she really like that?” they asked one of my friends who was a mod. “Yes, she really is that positive all the time.”

You know how people start typing something snarky and then think twice and delete it? I start typing something and then I read it over and think, crikey, you sound like Yoda on an extra dose of endorphins. Delete that crap.

4. I’m a math and science girl.

I’m an extreme nerd because of this when it comes to writing and also promotion and marketing. The writing itself feels like black magic and alchemy to me, but I spend a lot of time reflecting about the how and why afterward.

5. The thing I’m most proud of doing is helping to start Animo Pat Brown Charter High School. Imagine creating a school from the ground up: creating the schedule, the uniforms, writing the rules, calling parents, signing up students. All that on top of planning your lessons.

At the end of the first day, the principal took the teachers and staff into a room after all the students had left. There were about ten of us. We were all dead tired. It had been a long year leading up to Day 1, and we all still had a hundred things to do before Day 2.

“We just opened a school today,” he said.

OMG, we just did. It was all worth it.

6. I have zombie dreams.

Recurring ones where I keep telling people to frickin’ board up the windows and don’t get bitten. I’ve had to chop off heads in one dream because people weren’t listening. I’ve gotten these for years now, before zombies were so popular. Maybe I should have listened and I’d actually have written something that wasn’t a hard sell?

7. I joined the Speech and Debate club in high school because I was so frightfully shy.

Being called on in class would tear me to pieces. It was so easy for people to tease me because I’d just shrivel up and want to disappear. I knew I had to do something about it. I didn’t win many trophies in speech, but it did help me get over some of my fears and now I actually like public speaking, but I still get very nervous every time I speak.

8. I’m really into reality TV.

It’s not just dumb entertainment for me. I get so into it. I actually get inspired by those shows and have to keep myself from referencing it so people will still take me somewhat seriously.

For example, I love Daniel Vosovic’s quote from the second season of Project Runway. When asked in the finals what he brings to the fashion world, his answer was: “All I can give is my unique point of view.”

Isn’t that wonderful?

9. I’m very proud of my writer’s callous.

Even more so that people don’t get them anymore. I used to grip my pencil really hard in elementary school. One summer, my mom put a bug in my head that if you wrote stories that were good enough, people would actually buy them. So I sat down and tried to write as much as I could because I knew books were very long.

Then one day, I woke up and my hand was swollen. I could barely move my fingers, they were so stiff. My mom took one look and said, “You’re writing too much.” She had me soak my hand in ice water and it got better.

It was only many, many years later that I realized: Hey, mum just knew because it must have happened to her in that same way.

10. Well, if it isn’t obvious by now, I’m kind of sentimental basketcase when I start typing. That’s why I figured I better write romance.

Jeannie Lin writes historical romantic adventures set in Tang Dynasty China. Her short story, "The Taming of Mei Lin" from Harlequin Historical Undone is available September 1. Her Golden Heart award-winning novel, Butterfly Swords, will be released October 1 from Harlequin Historical and received 4-stars from Romantic Times Reviews—“The action never stops, the love story is strong and the historical backdrop is fascinating.”

Join the launch celebration at for giveaways and special features. Visit Jeannie online at:

In addition to being entered into the weekly contest, one commenter will win a download of "The Taming of Mei Lin," the prequel to her upcoming Butterfly Swords.


Anonymous said...

1. I had a hunch about that. All I know of your appearance comes from the photos you've posted online, and I'm certainly no expert in the subject, but something about your appearance tickled my mind as "not typical Han Chinese". Of course, I never would have said anything about it if you hadn't mentioned it because I tend to go out of my way to avoid offending martial artists who can beat the crap out of me, but it is interesting to learn that my hunch was correct.

3. Stay that way. Speaking for the totally cynical and hopelessly pessimistic, we NEED the sickeningly optimistic to brighten our days because we darn sure aren't going to be able to do it ourselves!

Just don't expect us to ever admit it...


4. I can sympathize. In case you haven't noticed by now I tend towards being (overly?) analytical and coldly logical, which is useful in some areas, but applied to human relations is sooner or later going to get me killed.

6. It's probably not too late for you to submit a story to "Hungry for Your Love 2: Another Anthology of Zombie Romance",...

assuming they are daft enough to be assembling it.

7. Me too. I'm still most comfortable expressing myself (anonymously) in writing.

8. What turned me off of Reality TV was the way so many Reality TV shows (especially Survivor!) seemed to encourage the worst in us. Competition I don't mind but lying, treachery, backstabbing, etc., I can do without. There is nothing wrong with the concept of Reality TV, but I've yet to see one I could call uplifting in any sense of the word.

Lexie said...

Its funny a lot of people when they talk to me assume I am British or Australian because for a good chunk of my speech therapy life I watched British dramas to improve my diction (they tend to enunciate their words more precisely than American shows).

My flow of speech tends to slide in the British direction. Than when I tell them 'oh no! Jersey born!' they do a double take and I spend five minutes repeating words with a clearly Jersey accent XD

I'm a reality TV girl too--its something me and my dad enjoy quite a bit together. We watch Survivor, The Colony, Top Chef, and America's Next Top Model. Oh! And Solitary--which was really pretty cool because it was a very singular game, you didn't know what your opponents were doing unless the 'voice' told you.

I have Zombie dreams as well!! Though I adore Zombies and I am the sort who has an inch thick binder of contingency plans in case of a Zombie Outbreak...

Jeannie Lin said...

@FredTownWard: 1. I had someone come up to me after a workshop at Nationals to ask me if I was Vietnamese. It's the eyes, I think.

@Lexie - I tend to like the shows where they're competing and creating something. Amazing Race would have to be my favorite. The competitors usually went in with such can do attitude and I got to vicariously travel.

Julie said...

1) I was just going to go with "southeast Asian" and hope wildly that that covered all my bases, haha. But if you hadn't cleared the air, I would've just gone on blithely assuming you were Chinese (1/8 of you is, anyway!).

4) I'm hoping I did my math right above, otherwise this next statement will be real embarrassing: hurray math and science girls! *waves Biology Major flag* I love that you can reconcile both parts of yourself in your writing process.

And I firmly believe that optimistic sentimental basketcases are the best. :)