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Lauren Kung Jessen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lauren Kung Jessen
Lauren Kung Jessen is a mixed raced Chinese American writer with a fondness for flirtatious and witty dialogue and making meals with far too many steps yet a ton of flavor. She’s fascinated by superstitions and myths and the way that beliefs, ideas, stories, and traditions will evolve over time.

From working in the world of of Big Tech to attending culinary school to writing love stories, Lauren cares about creating experiences which make people feel something. When Lauren’s not busy writing novels, she works as a user experience writer and a content strategist.

Lauren writes a film and food blog, called A Dash of Cinema, where she makes food that is inspired by TV shows and movies.

Lauren loved writing while she was growing up, however didn’t pursue it as a career until much later. Attending culinary school was a way for her to deepen her baking, cooking, and culinary management skills, however she had intended on going into food writing afterwards.

Ironically, she wound up working in one of the most intense kitchens in all of New York City, where she found she was much too tired to write at night. But she still managed to learn a lot of useful skills and valuable work ethic practices in culinary school and in a professional kitchen. The whole experience helped pave the way for how she handles her current writing schedule and pushing through early mornings and late nights.

It was when she had began doing user experience writing for the tech companies that she began to claim being a writer in a much more professional sense. Spending her days working on technical writing made her crave writing more creatively. She gravitated more toward writing romance not just because it is what she personally loves reading, but also because they provide comforting and safe spaces to explore more difficult topics. Life is not just made up of romance and love. There is also struggles with identity, trauma, pain, and grief. She wanted to explore tougher topics in a space which could also make people feel good and where there’s stolen glances, flirting, and laughter.

Lauren is a huge fan of the enemies to lovers trope. It just lends itself well to built-in tension, a fun plot, and witty banter. It also brings the lead characters together in a way where they are concerned with the external situation that they are forced to deal with, in Lunar Love’s case competing Chinese zodiac matchmaking businesses, but the internal developing feelings they’re experiencing, as well.

For the novel, she had the idea for the traditional matchmaking business that paired compatible matches in-person first. Then she started thinking about how dating’s changed through the years, particularly since Lauren met her husband through online dating. Now that we have technology playing matchmaker at our very fingertips, she was drawn to how tradition and modernity may work together, or in the case of “Lunar Love”, compete. Enemies to lovers just resulted naturally from such themes.

When it comes to tropes in romance, Lauren loves seeing the familiar get spun into something fresh and new. The key’s staying true to the trope yet daring to add your own unique take on it. Tropes are such a useful way to provide readers a sense of what you can expect in a novel. Like happy ever afters, tropes give a level of comfort to the reader so that they know what is coming. If you stray too far from what they were expecting, they might get caught off guard. It is also practical: should a reader like a certain trope, like enemies to lovers or opposites attract, they can find other books with similar tropes more easily.

In Lauren’s life, she receives and expresses love through food, and uses food as a way to learn more about her own cultures. Like in life, the food in “Lunar Love”, brings her characters together, offers an outlet to express themselves, provides comfort, and is a way to communicate love and feelings. Food’s also used as a way to showcase the cultures of her characters. We all grow up with certain sorts of food, whether it is preference, cultural, tradition, or learned, and it can be satisfying to see food that you grew up eating reflected on a page.

Food resonates so well with readers of romance since it’s another way to delight our senses. The way the food smells, tastes, and feels, eating is such a sensual experience. And just like love, food is a human need. Food can be really comforting, which is appropriate for romance novels and happy ever afters. It is just as fun for Lauren to write about food as it is for her to write a first kiss or a meet cute.

She has always been fascinated by the element of compatibility in the Chinese zodiac, and when she set out to write this novel, she found herself wondering what it meant if she was not married or dating somebody whose animal sign was compatible to her Horse. She became excited to explore compatibility further and dive into the various animal signs to see how they’d play out when manifested as characters competing, interacting, and falling in love.

“Lunar Love” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2023. This sweet, enemies to lovers debut rom-com novel filled with Chinese astrology is going to undoubtedly prove to be the perfect match with readers of Helena Hunting, Helen Hoang, and Jasmine Guillory.

Always a matchmaker, and never a match.

Olivia Huang Christenson is excited/horrified to be taking her grandma’s matchmaking business over. However when she discovers that there is a new dating app that has made her Po Po’s traditional Chinese zodiac approach all about “animal attraction”, her emotions begin skewing toward outraged/furious. Particularly when Bennett O’Brien (LA’s most eligible bachelor) is behind the app which could ruin her family’s legacy.

Liv knows better than to fall for any guy, let alone some infuriatingly handsome one that believes that traditions are meant to be broken. While these two businesses go head to head, Liv and Bennett make a deal: they will find each other a match, and whomever falls in love is the loser. However Liv is dealing with somebody that is already adept at stealing business ideas, so what is stopping him from stealing her heart as well?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Lauren Kung Jessen

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