Author Spotlight Interview: Jeana E. Mann
This week we have a quick chat with Jeana E. Mann, the USA Today bestselling author of The Exiled Prince, The Rebel Queen, and The Ruthless Knight. A former corporate executive, Jeana now has over twenty books, three series, and several awards beneath her belt – proving that she made the right choice to boldly live out her dream of becoming a writer.
HG: First off – WHO IS Jeana E. Mann? How do you describe yourself? I saw your bio on Amazon (I’m a writer, too, and I followed you out of corporate America. I’d love to explore that! You’re so inspirational!) but first – who is Jeana E. Mann to readers who might not have heard of you before?
JM: Although I always wanted to be a writer, I got a degree in Speech & Hearing (which I hated) and ended up going back to school for accounting.
Since then, I’ve worked in a lot of corporate offices, and I like to draw on that experience in my books. My love was always with writing though. After reuniting with a high school friend who is living her best life as a horse trainer, I decided life was too short to be unhappy and dug out an old manuscript. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. People were starting to make money in self-publishing, and I had the skills to do it. So, at age 50, I published my first book. Three years later, I was able to quit my corporate job and pursue writing full-time.
I know it sounds “like a fairy tale”. But I spent a lot of sleepless nights working two full-time jobs. I decided to give myself three years to either make it or break it and gambled every dime I had to do it.
HG: Haha, I’ve been on that journey myself. It’s funny how many years it takes to become an ‘overnight success.’ I love that you followed your passion. So, how did you get into writing? I started writing stuff at 12 years old and KNEW I’d be a writer since then. Similar to your story?
JM: Me too! When I bought a new house and paid off all my debt with book royalties all my doubters changed their minds.
HG: That’s SO inspirational. How did that feel? I remember when my first book took off and I was, like – WOAH. When did you realize you’d found your niche?
JM: It was pretty amazing! I was at an all-time low financially. I had a bucket in my bedroom to catch the rain coming through the roof. At first, I thought it was a fluke, but the books kept selling. I was making way more than my day job.
I didn’t really find my niche until I started writing billionaire and royalty romance with a darker side.
HG: Ooooh, I like that. I just read Lilian Monroe’s Prince trilogy and the darker she got the better it got.
I LOVE your covers to The Dirty Princess and The War King. What inspired that setup? It’s always difficult to weave something believable when you’re working with imaginary royalty, but it seemed to work with yours in a way I hadn’t expected.
JM: I’m so glad you liked those covers. I made them myself. I took my inspiration for The Exiled Prince from Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind and Manwhore by Katy Evans. That book was written purely for myself as a standalone for a collaborative box set. I love to create heroes who seem irredeemable in the beginning but steal your heart by the end. I haven’t read Lilian Monroe but I’ll check her out.
HG: Manwhore is a phenomenal book. Your covers are fantastic and I’m seriously impressed (I make my own, but it took years to get them to this level and they’re still nowhere near as clean as yours.) How did you learn Photoshop? Your covers are GREAT. It’s not so much Photoshop as having the eye for design. You’ve got it with bells on.
JM: Thanks so much for that! I started out with Book Cover Ninja. They have tons of tutorials and then I started watching Youtube videos. Once I got the basics down, it wasn’t too bad.
HG: And the organic success you had blows my mind. You nailed it. So, what’s the writing process like for you? Do you have an office? A space? Or are you a laptop-at-Starbucks kind of author?
JM: I’m a little of both. I have a home office that I rarely use. Most of the time I’m in my favorite chair or at the dining room table. A few times a week, I go to the library or a coffee shop for a change of pace.
HG: So, which books, authors, films and shows have influenced you most?
There are so many different things that have influenced my writing. As I’ve said, one of my all-time favorite books is Manwhore by Katy Evans. And I also love the Beautiful Bastard series by Christina Lauren. Those are the first billionaire books that I read, and they really pulled me into their worlds. American Queen by Sierra Simone is a book I can read over and over. Aleatha Romig has been a huge influence. Her books are amazing, twisty, and dark. Her book Consequences changed my view of writing forever. I found myself loving and hating the hero and hating myself for loving him. I love the way she used “closed door” scenes to make my imagination run wild. I don’t watch a huge amount of television or go to the movies, but I really enjoy shows like Breaking Bad, How To Get Away With Murder, and Good Girls -anything with complicated, dark plots is a winner for me.
HG: So, if readers want to find out more, where are you lurking on the Internet?
Thank you so much to Jeana for taking the time to speak with us – and, remember: If you like her books, or want to read other romance or even books from and of 15 different genres, you’ll receive invitations to read and review the hottest new releases FOR FREE as a subscriber to Hidden Gems.