Shelf Life: Local Romance Author Jeannie Moon

The writer of over 15 contemporary romance novels, Huntington born-and-raised author Jeannie Moon is a teacher, librarian, mother, and self-proclaimed “romance cheerleader.”

Moon said that romance literature isn’t always well received. “It’s gotten a lot of names,” she said of the genre. “People think it’s lowbrow.” But she embraces an alternative label for romance: the literature of hope.

As echoed by the Romance Writers of America—a nonprofit association geared toward networking, advocacy, awareness, and resources for both published and unpublished romance writers—romance literature is meant to end with either a “happily ever after” or a “happy for now.” Moon finds this characteristic key. “As a writer, romance allows me to tell stories that make people happy,” she said, adding, “and as a reader, romance gave me hope, escape, and happiness.” She sees immense value in that.

Moon began reading Harlequin books as she entered Huntington High School, and has found solace in the genre ever since. In fact, Moon credits romance novels with helping her as her father faced terminal illness. “The authors I read sat with me when I was sitting at my dad’s bedside,” she said. “They got me through that summer.” Now, full circle, Moon receives messages from readers thanking her for the solace her books provide.

Moon’s publications keep on coming; from her first book The Temporary Wife in 2013, to All of Me, which will be released this August.

In addition to writing, Moon has been a teacher for 33 years, and a librarian for 23.

At Smithtown High School East, Moon faces the challenge of encouraging students to see reading a fun, rather than a chore. “Like romance helped me through a tough time, I think the thing is to find a book that will help a kid through a tough time,” Moon said. ”My goal is to find what they love, then find a book to go with it.”

Students often look to Moon for literary guidance as well. She always keeps her door open. “Students come in saying, ‘Okay, you’re the professional. Can you help me?’ and I always say, ‘Absolutely! Have a seat!’”

Moon encourages aspiring writers to connect with others pursuing the same goal, as writing can be isolating. She stressed the importance of writing groups, as they open the door to networking, learning the ins and outs, and providing much needed support. Moon also tells writers not to give up. “You’re giving away a piece of yourself and not everybody is going to appreciate that; you have to keep looking for the person who will. It took me 12 years to get my first contract.”

Her closing words of advice? “Find your people, find your tribe, and hang on to that dream.”

Jeannie Moon is participating in Arboretum Park’s “Readings Under the Tent” in Melville on July 18. Click here for more information. To learn more about Jeannie Moon, her books, and her upcoming events, visit supports literacy efforts. If you have book-related information you’d like to share, email Molly Prep.

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