Interview with Jeannie Lin

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Joanna here. GambledAway-hires

I’m interviewing Jeannie Lin, writer of most excellent

Historical Romances set in Tang Dynasty China and Steampunk set in an alternate but formidably realistic historical China. She writes love, adventure, complicated family relationship, and high stakes in a world that sets all our assumptions wobbling. These are not your everyday Romances, folks.

This week Jeannie and I celebrate the release of our new novellas — hers and mine — in the e-anthology Gambled Away.

Joanna:  Howdy Jeannie. Glad to see you.

Jeannie: Hello! So glad to be back here with the Wenches. Can you believe Gambled Away is finally here?

Joanna:  I'm so happy to share an anthology with you. Oddly enough, I think both our stories are, at the core, about women escaping the constraints that narrow and bind their choices. 'Taking their lives into their own hands' as you put it.

My Aimée, in Gideon and the Den of Thieves, was sold into the service of Lazarus, the King Thief of Regency-era London. One does not just walk away from that service. One runs. We see Aimée trying to free herself from Lazarus.

Jeannie: I must admit after reading Lazarus, I had big baddie envy. I want to go back and rewrite the entire last half of my story. *smacks hand* Lazarus is so dark and twisted and complicated! Completely unpredictable.

AncientchinesecoinsMy crime lords are much more straightforward — they're businessmen. They don't make emotional decisions, which makes them neither evil nor good. Unlike everyone else in the story, they have  nothing to hide and their goals are quite clear. It's all the other characters who sneak and lie and betray one another, often times believing they are doing the right thing. 

New york bowry street gangJoanna: I’ll just reassure you that there is no lack of menace in your crime lords. Pretty chilling customers.

While my Aimée faces the obvious practical problem associated with dwelling among the brutal and larcenous, Wei-wei’s life is more comfortable — on the surface. But it is not, perhaps, more free.

 

Jeannie:  There's two sides of that coin for me. Chinese women in imperial times are known for being subservient — it's a stereotype often perpetuated in the West. But for me what's interesting is the ways that women have empowered themselves while keeping the illusion that they were not wresting power. When Chinese women were forbidden to write, they came up with their own written language, for instance.

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The Wenches Welcome Jeannie Lin!

Pat here, welcoming back Jeannie Lin, author of Chinese historical romances and soon, a mystery set
Jeannielin_photo_highresduring the Tang dynasty. Jeannie started writing her first romance while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. Her first three novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and The Dragon and the Pearl was listed among Library Journal's Best Romances of 2011.

Jeannie currently writes historical romances for Harlequin Historical and Harlequin HQN.

 Jeannie, you’re a science teacher! What drew you to writing romance?

When I started my first book, it was actually a “West meets East” sort of fantasy set in a land based on ancient China. Yet as I was creating what I felt was an epic tale – double crosses, love triangles, dramatic deaths – I realized I didn’t feel anything on the page for my characters. I wondered, how do I fix that? How do I learn how to write emotion?

Well, the answer was on the other part of my bookshelf: in romance novels.

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