Jade: Jade Lee and…a long time ago…Katherine Greyle.
Ester: How long have you been writing?
Jade: I’ve been writing novels about 15 years. Before that I was going to be a great screenwriter. Even got a MPW (Masters in Professional Writing) from USC. But then I came to Central Illinois for my husband’s job. Not a great place to sell movies! So…I switched into what I really loved: romance novels. And the rest is history!
Ester: How did you get started in writing?
Jade: I’ve always re-written everything I see or read, since I was very small. I re-wrote the Hardy Boys tv show to include me! I re-wrote the Lord of the Rings to include…me and Aragorn. I re-wrote a ton of things so that Luke Skywalker, for example, fell in love with me! Eventually I decided to write my own romantic movies, but film was not my place. So, I switched to romance novels (I mean I’ve been reading them forever!)
Ester: Ha, ha! I’ve always imagined myself in those roles, but never thought of re-writing the stories or movies. What genre(s) do you write in and why did you choose it?
Jade: I write ROMANCE! Fantasy romance (DRAGONBORN and DRAGONBOUND). Historical romance–I have a ton of titles, most regency-era, but there was my 6 book TIGRESS series set in historical China. And I’ve also recently begun writing SEXY in Blaze books. In fact, GETTING PHYSICAL is out right now! In short, I just write a lot. I can do that because I know my technique and because I do this every day. You can afford to write in different genres if you’re prolific.
Ester: What was your first published work and how did you get published the first time?
Jade: My first book was ORACLE by Katherine Greyle. I was even up for a RITA with that book. It was a small press because it was a futuristic before futuristics were even conceived of. I still get fan mail for that book!
Ester: How cool!
Jade: Since I have the rights back, I may revisit that world. I plotted a trilogy. Any of you ever read it???
Ester: I’m sorry I didn’t, but it sounds interesting. I love futuristics. How did you celebrate that first sale and how many books have you published since then?
Jade: To answer the first question, dinner and sex! Er…TMI? On the second, are you seriously going to make me count? Uh…okay, including anthologies, 27. (But it took me 15 minutes to get that information together!)
Ester: That’s impressive. Do you have an agent, or have you used one in the past?
Jade: I have an agent. I would never sell single title with one. In fact, I wouldn’t sell to just about anyone without one. They may not be able to get you more money, but they can protect you from a ton of other things in the contract that I would never have thought of on my own.
Ester: Great advice there. Who or what influences your writing?
Jade: Everyone and everything. I have just spent a bunch of time reading, and I learned something new from PC and Kristin Cast, Nora Roberts, Shannon Butcher, and my all-time fav, Jim Butcher. I’m constantly learning new techniques and new concepts from the people I read. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to (1) write and then (2) read.
Ester: Sometimes I get stuck in a writing mode, and reading helps clear my mind. What is the hardest part of writing a story?
Jade: That’s like asking what’s uglier — a dismembered body part or a dismembered animal? Okay, that was gross. But really, it’s all hard and it’s all wonderful. I suppose the hardest part is sitting my butt down and doing it. I would much rather read. Or go shopping.
Ester: Ahhh, shopping. The town I work in has a great outlet mall…but I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes. Do you have a writing ritual or quirk?
Jade: COFFEE. COFFEE. And then a LATTE chaser. Seriously, caffeine is my quirk. I can’t do anything without it! And lately, I’ve begun journaling. I got the idea from THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron. I love it and hate it. But then that describes my writing life, doesn’t it?
Ester: That’s a great book. I incorporate my journaling with my prayer time. God hears all my complaints and then sometimes He inspires me, right on the spot, for my stories. What publishing houses/editors do you currently work with?
Jade: I’m with Berkley and Dorchester (Leisure and Love Spell) for my single titles, and Harlequin Blaze for my really, really sexy stuff!
Ester: Did you get to keep the titles you chose for your books or did your editor change the titles?
Jade: Mostly I get to keep them. Which is sad because I don’t feel like I’m very good and coming up with really marketable titles. But every once in a while, the editor changes it. Not because I’ve got a bad title but because someone else used it recently. Yeah, romance titles tend to repeat!
Ester: I didn’t know that. Did you have a say in the cover art on your books?
Jade: HAHAHAHA! Actually, they did ask my advice on DRAGONBORN’S cover, which I think came out very nicely. But beyond that…I see it when the art department is done and there are no more changes.
Ester: Do you belong to a critique group or do you have a critique partner?
Jade: I belong to an RWA chapter that does critiquing. I also mentor through the St. Louis RWA chapter. And best of all, Elizabeth Hoyt and I get together often and…er, we would never gossip. We network. We also help each other out as we write.
Ester: Do you write full-time, part-time, or when did you know you could quit your day job?
Jade: FULL-TIME! I couldn’t work at another job then come home and write. It just wasn’t in me. Especially since I have children. I quit my day job when my husband agreed to support me while I worked.
Jade: GETTING PHYSICAL (contemporary hot sex) is a September Blaze. www.eharlequin.com
Before that were my fantasy romances, DRAGONBORN and DRAGONBOUND (dragons, adventure, and hot sex!) And of course, all my historical romances, the latest was THE DRAGON EARL (regency fun and hot sex!)
Ester: Thank you, Jade, for taking time to chat with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jade also has out THE CONCUBINE (Blaze historical) Feb 09, and
WINTER HEAT (anthology) Jan 09.
Jade lives in Central Illinois with her husband and two daughters, where she enjoys racquetball (as a pro until she blew out her knees), rollerblades, and computer games (www.pogo.com). She attends a ton of conferences, but Romantic Times and RWA nationals are her mainstays. You can check out her latest appearances and book signings on her website at: www.jadeleeauthor.com