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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Author Jade Lee!

Terrific Tuesday!
Hi there everyone!  

I can't tell you why I have a fascination with the orient.  I'm not sure if it has to do with all those Charlie Chan movies I watched as a kid (ah, Son number 2 makes good observation!), the intrigue of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, my fascination with dragons, or if it was because while growing up I heard comments about my eyes being somewhat Asian-looking.  That's also been commented on recently as well.  While I can't say for sure that I do have an Asian connection because I'm just not ready to go searching for my true lineage (I'm adopted), I can say with certainty that I've always been fascinated with the orient and all things Asian.  I also have a fondness for Asian music, especially that found in anime.  Try as I might, I can't understand why I love Japanese and Chinese architecture so much.   

No matter how it happened, I found myself thoroughly enjoying historical novels from Mary Jo Putney based in China.  Okay, call me crazy, but I just never realized that other people would appreciate historical novels set in China, so I didn't expect there to be too many of them.  Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered Jade Lee.  

I found her completely by accident.  I was really intending to interview Katherine Greyle for today, but found that Katherine Greyle is now Jade Lee, and Jade Lee has lots of steamy, no, wait, make that fiery novels set in historical China.  I haven't quite gotten to them yet, but they are on my list and queued.  However, I have managed to skim through enough of them to know that I really want to read them!  So, I bring you Jade Lee!

Shorting the Glitz and the Glamor

Jade LeeI’m in between books right now. This means...well, it means that I get up late, read or watch tv, and rollerblade until my hip hurts. I also play a lot of solitaire, all in the name of finding that great idea. Truthfully, no idea comes to me until I spend some time meditating. No games, no tv, no physical activity, just my mind quiet and receptive. A mature woman would skip all that other stuff and go straight to meditation, but we’re talking about me. So, it took me a couple weeks, but, yippee! I finally got an idea for my next regency-era historical. I’m going to explore sibling issues in this next book (and sorry, that’s all the teaser you’re going to get!)

But once the basic concept was nailed down, I have a ton of other questions. In this blog, I’m going to ask you all about SETTING. Don’t roll your eyes, it’s not as boring as you might think. We all know the basic settings for regency era. You’ve got ballrooms and Almacks, Hyde Park and carriages, plus secret alcoves for kissing. There’s even the occasional folly or stable where more than kissing can take place. So here is my question to you:

How much setting detail do you want?

Assuming that the characterization and love story are gripping, do you really care about the pretty dresses, ballroom crush, or bad lemonade? If the writer gives you general descriptions: nice trees in the park, grand buffet at the ball, intimate spaces in the folly, can you fill in the other details all on your own?

I’m not talking about historicals set in China, for example. When I wrote my tigress series set in historical China, I knew that most people didn’t have a clue what Shanghai looked like in 1800. Smells, textures, even furniture decor had to be described. But I’m talking about Regency England, the mainstay of mainstays in historical romance. If I say there’s quite the crush in the Duchess of Whatever’s ballroom, do you need to have more detail? Or can I just go on to talk about what the hero looks like as he reacts strongly to my heroine’s gawd-awful gown (which of course would be described because...well, it’s gawd-awful).

I am guessing that you the reader has turned to a regency-era historical because it’s a land of balls and lords, glitz and glamor. So am I shorting you by not dwelling on the glitter? Can I give you the romance without the period details beyond the very basic? Inquiring minds want to know!

And if you answer in the comments, then someone will win a copy of one of my Jade Lee books be it contemporary Blaze, historical regency, or dragon fantasy. And yes, they’re all romance! So...what do you think? Oh...and extra point if you’ve purchased my current Blaze release Getting Physical. But my most recent historical, btw, is The Dragon Earl.

Getting Physical    The Dragon Earl

7 Moonbeams (comments):

Carrie said...

I like details, but not too much. Okay, so how much is too much? Well, I don't need a detailed description of the food unless it comes into play for the storyline somehow. If it's just a passing glance and has no real relevance to the story or plot itself, I don't really need to know that much.

Of course, a certain amount of detail is always needed to set the scene such as french doors leading to the garden, etc. That kind of thing.

If you're going to discuss clothes, then offer a frame of reference. Be sure the reader understands why the hero might think the heroine's gown is awful. What makes it that way? Is it because it's outdated? Is it because it's tattered or doesn't fit right? Is it just too darned sparkly for words? These types of details are relevant. Remember though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it's important for the reader to understand the hero and his reaction to the heroine's gown can say a lot about his character and other things. Gawd-awful isn't descriptive enough for me.

In order for the reader to feel ensconced enough in a regency-era novel, a certain amount of detail is required to set the scene, but as I am sure some readers will agree, we don't need to be overwhelmed with details.

It matters if it is a ball gown or a morning gown. Is it in fashion or not? Was it designed for her? Who designed it? etc.

Amanda Quick (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz) is an excellent example. She gives just enough detail so that you can picture things in your mind, but she doesn't overwhelm you with details. I have never felt any of her details unnecessary. If it was mentioned, it fit into the story somehow, if not immediately, later on. Sometimes, the details a character notices the night of a ball may not make sense until later, when she is discussing it with the hero.

This is just my opinion though.

Kenzie Michaels said...

Ditto, Carrie:) I don't want to be overwhelmed, but I do like to be able to visualize colors and general idea of the setting.

Anonymous said...

Me too. Really need the details. For esemple I love how Nora Roberts (almost a Classic ;-) describes the different lanscapes in her books I love food description too. Feelings are extremely important too (I really need to know how the characters feel. Sometime I feel like some characters arent explored enough). I guess a good book is the right combination of descriptions and dialogues.
I haven't read any of your books, Jade, YET. But I'm planning on doing do very soon ;-)

Jade Lee said...

Thank you all! And yes, I agree with you about detail in books. Just enough to get the WHY it is important in the STORY. But balance is so hard. And personally, I'm so interested in the characters and the enfolding romance that I always focus on the byplay between the characters and have to remind myself to get setting details in!

And Emanuelle...THANK YOU!

Sheila Deeth said...

I want the details, but the ones that the characters would notice. It's like the difference between visiting a museum and visiting an ancestral home - the details may be the same, but they mean more in the home. I like the book to feel like visiting the home.

Paula R said...

Hey Jade, sorry I missed you yesterday. I bought GP!

I loved the time period you are going to explore. I actually majored in Victorian and American Lit. Personally, I love reading about the details and descriptions of homes, especially country homes, but it is not a necessity for the story. I have been reading regency books for a while, so I would like to think that I could fill in the blanks. I would be more interested in descriptions of reactions on people's faces...however, if someone new to reading regency picks up your book, a little background and a more in depth description would be worth reading, just so that they can get a sense of where they are, and possibly get a better view of the limitations women had back then. It could help with the "shock" value as well.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Kim Castillo said...

Hey Everyone! I'm popping in for Jade. She's at Moonlight and Magnolia down in Atlanta.

The winner is Kenzie Michaels!

You can contact Jade at and tell her what book you want!