Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with Jade Lee

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jade Lee. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Before we start, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself. I love LOVE. Yeah, I know, who doesn’t? But I mean, I love love stories, I love falling in love. I love HOT SEX. And I love all the interesting character twists that go with dropping your baggage so you can step into your happily ever after.

SO…it comes as no surprise that I write romance. Historical romance, fantasy romance, urban fantasy romance, contemporary romance…basically ROMANCE. I’m known for really, really, really sensual romance. Not graphic, per se, but one of my greatest strengths is creating the mood and atmosphere of …well…a really good love scene. It’s just what I’m good at.

I also started in screenwriting, so my dialogue has always been fun. But apparently, it’s my love scenes that really put me on the map in terms of publishing. So…there you go, that’s a nutshell about me. Right now I’m writing in to sub-genres. Fantasy romance with DRAGONBOUND (dragons and love, what could you want more?) and historical romance (regency era). My latest one is titled The Dragon Earl about a Englishman trained in China who shows up in saffron robes at his wedding. Bride is understandably confused as she thought (a) he was dead and (b) who the hell is barefoot and in saffron robes in England????

I understand you have a new release out called
DRAGONBOUND. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

From the moment I read Lord of the Rings when I was a kid, I’ve wanted to write fantasy romance. Why? Because Tolkien did not, not, not know how to do women. And I really wanted a good love story! So…years ago, I wrote a book of my heart title DRAGONBORN. It’s a love story with DRAGONS! Woo hoo! I loved, loved, loved writing it. The book came out to a great response. Guess I wasn’t the only one who liked dragons and love stories. So…demand was high enough that I wrote the next book in the series…DRAGONBOUND. Yeah, I know the titles are similar, but that was a publisher decision. Now, before you ask, you can read the books out of order. I try to go as stand-alone as possible, but it’ll be more fun if you read them Born then Bound.

DRAGONBOUND is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

In the first book, Dragonborn is someone who hatches a dragon egg and is tied mind-to-mind to their dragon. They become “dragonborn” because the joined mind is a new person.

Dragonbound was because my hero and heroine are tied to the past and to each other…much as they both hate and love one another. They have to break with the old ties—even the ones to each other—and form a new link. Or not. That’s a tough order for anyone to follow.

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?

Truly, the best way to learn how to write fantasy is to read in the genre. A LOT. I have worldbuilding books, but nothing takes the place of just reading and understanding how others have accomplished it before you. (Or me, in this case) And also…basic understanding of ecology, physics…you know, the sciences. My kids are in high school now, so I’m getting that from all over! (Gawd, and frankly, what these kids have to learn today is WAY harder than what I studied in high school).

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

The relationship between Cordain and Sabina (hero and heroine in DRAGONBOUND) is just the most incredible thing I’ve ever written. He used to be a dragon and she was his dragonmaid. (That was my original title for the book, but it was changed.) She took care of him, but she also did a whole lot more. And there was a skanky villain back then who abused her while the dragon had to sit chained up and watch. Ooooh, I can’t tell you how many readers have commented on how much they both liked and hated the skanky villain sex! Anyway, they have a whole history as maid and dragon, but then he becomes a man. Can they release the bonds of her childhood abuse? Can he show her who he is as a man, not a dragon? Can he BE a man and not a dragon? I so loved writing this book! I love complex people!

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?

Character sheets, imagery sets, notes, EVERYTHING! And then I throw it all away. The people have to be real to me. All the note-taking and interviews and stuff is just a way to make them real. Once they settle in, I can start writing. Then the real work begins because I always, ALWAYS discover a ton more about them as I go further.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

Do you mean I SHOULD use maps, charts, and drawings? Um…yeah. But my notes are very sketchy. My stories are about people, not places. Yes, since the three countries are gearing up for war, I kinda had to put them somewhere—north, south, east, west—in releationship to each other. Bit by bit, land shapes and characters appear, but that’s mostly because the characters and story demand that I figure them out. Not because I really like doing it. I know people who get really detailed in their geography. That’s not me!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to name. Right now Jim Butcher’s Dresden series is just flat out incredible. And Jacqueline Carey in terms of worldbuilding. In romance, there are so many… I love Gina Showalter, Elizabeth Hoyt, Nora Roberts, oh…wow, I could go on and on and on!

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Nothing is really effective except writing a good book. Of course, I spent tons on give aways. Bookmarks, tee shirts, free books. But…in the end, it’s all about writing the best book you can.

What do we have to look forward next?

In September, I’ve got a Blaze coming out titled IN GOOD HANDS. That’s fun contemporary romp with good sex. Hey, I call it like it is! But I’m hoping to write more in my base: Regency-era historical romance and fantasy romance. I love them both, so that’s where I plan to hang out!

Thanks, Jade!

To celebrate her book release, Jade Lee is offering a free book of Dragonborn to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (check back on Monday night to see who wins) She's at the RT convention in Orlando, but she's assured me she has internet access. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


A USA Today bestseller, Jade Lee has made her mark with sizzling romances. She adores unique settings, dark characters, and erotic, exotic love. And if she throws in a dragon or a tigress here and there, it’s only in the name of fun! An author of more than 25 novels, she adores the fabulousness that is love! She calls her books sexy treats and hopes you find them equally delicious!

She loves hearing from readers. Visit her at or email her at

Check out author’s website at Buy Dragonbound at


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Jade. Thanks for blogging with us again. No writing related question this morning. How is the Romantic Times Convention? Any breaking news? :)

Jade Lee said...

Good afternoon! Yeah, I was in panels all morning, so I couldn't quite get on line! But to answer your question...I just bought $130 worth of beautiful silk wrap (I think it's called a ruwana) plus jewelry! I also spent about 15 minutes this afternoon fondling a cover model. This morning, I spoke about sex and ... um,, we spoke about everything erotic for 2 hours and my sides still hurt from laughing. And those are just the highlights!

Frankly, RT is always so much fun for me. I LOVE talking to all the readers and booksellers. I love it when people wear my tee shirts! And I really love it when they say they either are going to pick up my work to try it or they absolutely love what I've done! But even before I was published, this convention was great because of all the great book people I got to hang with.

In short...I'm having a GREAT time!

Shelley Mosley said...

Hi Jade!

Your books are so wonderfully imaginative. I really admire your creativity!

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm, jealous. Fondle some for me, too:) Glad you're having a great time over there.

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Great interview. Very inspiring. Jade, I met you once at a readers conference in Baltimore. You sat next to me at one point and when I found out you also write under Katherine Greyle, I was so excited and told you how much I love your Katherine Greyle books. You graciously gave me a free book, "No Place for a Lady." I still have it. I've read most of your Katherine Greyle books, and now I'm on to the Jade Lee books.

dogmom2six said...

Thanks Jade. Dragonbound sounds wonderful. I'm anxious to read it.

liana laverentz said...

Hi, Jade. What books would you recommend to learn about world-building?



Jade Lee said...

Hello again and thanks all! I'll definitely fondle cover models for all of you! And Carolyn, thank you! You are so kind!

As for books on Worldbuilding, there are a bunch of them, aren't there? The Writer's Digest books are good, and I believe there's one by Ben Bova. But truthfully, I recommend READING. A LOT. Not how-to books, but books that build worlds. Fantasy books. Urban fantasy. (Jim Butcher's Dresden files are Fabulous! but I believe I said that in the interview, didn't I?) Anyway...everyone knows about internal consistency. Just keep the rules of your world straight.

World building is the same in every book for me--writing the details that create a world that comes alive. It doesn't matter if the sky is a different color or if you're writing about a ballroom. Details...the tiny details of moving through a fictional world make it come alive. The feel of fabric, the shiver of anticipation when a cute guy catches your eye, the pain of shoes that are too tiny for your feet. THose details bring the world alive.

So read a lot, especially the kind of books you want to write. Focus on the world buildilng and the details of the books you read. Notice when it's done right. Notice when it's done badly. Learn from what you read.

Hope that helps!

Gerri Bowen said...

Hi Jade~
I just finished The Dragon Earl and loved it. Will there be a book/sequel involving Christopher or Maddy?

Sara Reyes said...

Hope you're having fun in Orlando at RT, It does sound like you are ... fondling and shopping!

I'm happy you're writing fantasy but also enjoy the historicals as well. Can you tell us anything about future historicals? More from the Dragon Earl?

Jade Lee said...

Whew! RT is winding down, and all rumors that I ran up on stage to beat up a cover model are vastly exaggerated! I swear!

To answer Gerri's comment, yes, I plan on writing Christopher's book. I've already got 4 chapters done. It's just a matter of finsihing it and getting it slotted with Dorchester. It was supposed to be my april book (out now), but Dorchester switched in Dragonbound instead.

And Sara...yes, I'm loving the fantasy but I plan to keep up the regencies as well. In fact, I just sold to Berkley! I'm writing a dark, sensuous underbelly of London story currently titled Surrender To Me. Yeah, i know that others have used that title too, but that's the meaning I like. We'll have to see what marketing thinks.

Jade Lee said...

AND NOW... It's time for the FREE BOOK WINNER!!!!! (Cue Drum Roll)

The winner of Dragonborn (or another Jade Lee book if you already have that one...) is...

Carolyn Matkowski!!!!

Carolyn, please email your snail address (jade @ jade lee author . com -- no spaces) and I'll send it out!

And thank you Kim for having me. This has been such a treat!

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Thank you, thank you, Jade. I'm so thrilled to win one of your books. I'll get the information out to you right away.

Jeannie Lin said...

Even though I'm too late to win a copy of Dragonborn (drats!!)
I just wanted to say I love how your books can go anywhere! Looking forward to the Dragon series (yes, I know I'm always behind on the TBR pile). I love a good heroic traditional fantasy a la Tolkien, and this just screams of it!

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hi Jade!
Your book sounds exciting. Like on of those great books you just can't put down. I loved Dragonborn, it was so real and I'm looking forward to this book too!