Author Spotlight: Jean Lee

Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:

Jean and I met via our blogs about a year ago. We connected immediately, sharing reviews and tweets throughout the day. Jean’s been a wonderful supporter of indie authors, and when she published her own book, I jumped on the bandwagon to get to know her better. I also read and reviewed one of her short stories from the Tales of the River Vine collection, The Boy Who Carried a Forest in His Pocket, which you can see in the link in this section. It got me really excited to devour the whole collection and the first book in the series, Stolen. She’s such a wonderful person, and her writing style has fluidity and magical components. Before I share too much, let’s get to know a little more about her…

About the Author

Jean Lee is a Wisconsin born and bred writer excited to share her Young Adult Fantasy fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum that surrounds us. Her first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, is available from Aionios Books. She is also the author of Tales of the River Vine, including the novella Night’s Tooth. 

Stories are the fire that warms the soul. They melt fear, ignite hope, and spark relationships like nothing else. I’m honored you seated yourself here by my hearth to enjoy my fiction’s light. Please feel free to visit often, for there are many treasures bizarre and fantastic in my imagination waiting to speak with tongues of flame. Then we can talk about the writers that refuel us, as I do on my site https://jeanleesworld.com/, and the stories that stir us like marshmallow sticks poking a campfire’s embers. Join me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram under @jeanleesworld, and help me send the fire’s sparks flying like so many fireflies into summer’s night, calling more out of the cold darkness.

Key Links:

Overview of Book (s)

Jean will discuss her books in the Q&A section, but here you can see a highlight of the ones currently available. Check out those gorgeous cover photos… novellas, short stories, full-length series… and one has its grand debut on August 29th! Who’s excited?

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Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Princeborn-Stolen-Platinum-Parts-ebook/dp/B07JYLFQP4/

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Middler’s Pride

https://channillo.com/series/middler-s-pride/

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Tales of the River Vine: Night’s Tooth

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WFX2LB9/

Excerpt from Next Release

Are you interested in reading an excerpt from the upcoming August 29th release? Check out the link below for Jean’s wonderful intro…

https://jeanleesworld.com/2019/08/01/the-tale-of-the-prophets-massacre-an-excerpt-from-nights-tooth-coming-late-august-2019/

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Interview: Questions & Answers

  • What is your location?

I’m Wisconsin born and bred, a writer excited to share young-adult fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum of everyday life. The rural landscape is brimming with potential, if one’s got the eye and imagination with which to look.

It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.” —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes resonate deeply with me for two reasons. First, they were dearly loved by my father, who would, on a rare evening when he could delay his church work, read a story aloud to me at bedtime. I still remember the thrill as he described Dr. Roylott’s fate in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” or the sadness in his voice when Watson discovers Holmes’ note by Reichenbach Falls. I devoured these stories, despite my mother’s attempts to interest me in more child-friendly works such as the Little House books. Nothing doing, especially after I read “Copper Beeches,” for that brings me to my second reason: our town, our state, really, fit the description Holmes gave of England’s picturesque countryside.

Wisconsin is filled with hidden towns, small growths of community where railroads and highways meet, places that no one finds unless they mean to find it. Rock Springs was a town of 600 when I was a child, a little grain-fill stop for the railroad. We didn’t even have a gas station until I turned 5, and our library, a small portion of the town’s community center, could fit in a utility closet (it probably was a utility closet at one point). Farms and wild wood filled the gaps between towns. Unless, of course, you went towards Wisconsin Dells, where the wilderness is trimmed and prepped and ready for its mandatory closeup before the tourist rushes to the proper civilization of water parks and casinos.

JJC Comment: Hmm… Wisconsin is 1 of the 12 states I haven’t yet visited. Now I have more of a reason to go… I love the countryside.

We drove through those wild patches often. I never tried to occupy myself with books or toys in the car. There was too much to see, out there in those scattered homesteads, too much to wonder about. What happened inside that dying barn? Why is that gravel drive roped off, and where does it lead? Where are all the people for those rusted cars littering the field?

This is the Wisconsin I live in now. The land dips and rises in unexpected places. The trees may crowd a rural highway so much you can lose yourself driving, only to have the tunnel burst open to sunshine and a white-crested river running beneath a bridge you’d swear had never seen a car before. In Rock Springs, one could stand on the lone highway through town and hear snowflakes land beneath the orange street lights.

  • Tell us a little bit about your books including the genres.

Oh, fantasy, first and foremost. I’ve always been drawn to creating unknowns where I can discover places and persons right alongside the reader. Such stories are the fire that warm the soul. They melt fear, ignite hope, and spark relationships like nothing else, especially for those ready to leave childhood and come of age.

I do have a series, though there’s not much too it yet. The Fallen Princeborn Omnibus is outlined to be a series of 5 novels (thus far), with short stories and novellas intended for prequels or one-offs from the main storyline. So far I’ve the first novel, Stolen, published and available for purchase. The second novel, Chosen, is in the editing stages with plans to be published in early 2020. Meanwhile, some best-selling short stories I had originally published individually, Tales of the River Vine, will be expanded a bit and re-published in two volumes for the Omnibus sometime…well, let’s just say next year, assuming there’s no crazy crisis at home like the basement flooding (again).

JJC Comment: Again? Oh, you need a break… I’m sending positive energy to Wisconsin in advance of my future trip.

Mississippi River Valley, 1870s. The white man wields rails and guns to bring law to the land. But there are more than wild animals hiding in the territories, and it will take more than guns to bring them down.

Sumac the bounty hunter needs no guns to hunt any bandit with a price on his head, even one as legendary and mysterious as Night’s Tooth. But Sumac didn’t count on other bounty hunters coming along as competition, nor did he expect hunters sharing his own magical gifts.

It’s one man against a gang and a mystery, all to protect a train that must cross the territories at all costs…

Inspired by classics like
For a Few Dollars More and fantasy cult favorites like Highlander, “Night’s Tooth” is a western with a fantasy edge set in the Fallen Princeborn universe.

  • Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

Woops! I think I covered this already. 😊

JJC Comment: That’s okay… we both like to repeat ourselves sometimes, I suppose. It sounds even better here!

I wish I could give you some semblance of a plan for all this, but honestly, I fear setting milestones teaching and/or family won’t allow me to reach. It’s all very well and good to map out two more novellas, for instance, but with three kids and a hundred students, writing time is never a guarantee.

So, the most I demand of myself is to focus on the WIPs mentally every day. Whether it’s reading up on some history for worldbuilding or plotting out a death scene, I know that the clearer I see the story in my head, the easier it will be to write when I do have the time.

  • What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Uff, that’s a tough question. Stolen is clearly written for a YA Fantasy crowd, what with an eighteen-year-old girl as the lead protagonist. We get the story through her experience, which means going on her emotional journey, too.

“Night’s Tooth,” however, isn’t written with teen readers in mind. Yes, it takes place in that same Princeborn universe, but the cast of characters here are all adults, seasoned hunters and killers all. I mean, if you think about it, how many teens are excited to pop in a Clint Eastwood western?

But I can’t help what stories fill my head. I will write them for whomever will read them. That’s all I can—all I wish—to do.

  • Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?

Well, for all my talk about planning, I’m actually quite a pantser. I got this way during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’d have a rough idea of the overall arc, a few key scenes in mind, but how A gets to B or X achieves Y is never clear until I write.

I do try to outline more, especially now that there’s a series arc to keep in mind, but even then, I write a lot by instinct. It’s easier to stay genuine to each character’s motivations that way.

  • Do you write full-time or part-time?

I teach composition for an online university part-time. I parent three children full-time (9, 7, and 7 (yes, twins (yes, they’re identical (yes, I can tell them apart)))).

JJC Comment: Oh my! I don’t think I could handle twins. I’d feel like they were always trying to trick me.

Still, writing’s a must. When I write, I channel the depression away from my family and into a universe where my characters can fight it.

It’s never completely gone, you know, depression. We can slay it, burn it, bury it—but it never dies. Only by spinning stories can I transplant some of that darkness into villains, heroes, and worlds. From the darkness grows the adventure and the hope.

  • What type of books do you like to read?  Who are some of your favorite authors?

This might sound hypocritical, coming from a fantasy writer, but I actually spent my childhood reading mysteries, not fantasy. Save for Chronicles of Narnia, I was usually sticking my nose into the pages of Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Nancy Drew.

Now this isn’t to say I’ve no fantasy authors I enjoy in these adultish years. Far from it—JK Rowling and Philip Pullman are great, Tolkien is fine (oh hush, you know epic fantasy on that scale is NOT for everyone). Jeff VanderMeer is an amazing genre-blender, while Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys is one of my all-time favorite reads, period. But more than any other author, I’d have to say that Diana Wynne Jones is my favorite. This is a woman who had an extraordinarily difficult childhood, a hard-earned classical education, and a wit. I mean, this woman’s storytelling will have you spitting milk one chapter and sobbing the next. Her characters are never clean-cut, her plots never predictable, her settings never ordinary. There’s a reason writers like Neil Gaiman and Adrian Tchaikovsky look up to her so much. If you read her work, you’ll find out, too. 😊

  • Which other authors and/or books do you think are similar to your own books?

My novel’s been compared to the likes of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman, which is…just, wow. Comparisons like that put me at a loss for words.

  • Do you blog and share book reviews of other authors?

I do, after a fashion. I enjoy interviewing authors, and will try to do so once a month. There’s quite a collection of authors from across the genres on my site, if you care to see!

Click here for more: https://jeanleesworld.com/category/author-interviews/

I also enjoy studying fiction to learn what I can about craft. Agatha Christie, for instance, was a joy to study as far as pacing and plot misdirection goes. Jeff VanderMeer is a wonder at world-building, while Raphael Montes’ ending STILL leaves me breathless. I keep all my lessons learned from reading gathered on my website, too.

You can click here to read more about them: https://jeanleesworld.com/category/lessons-learned/

Every story you love, you love for a reason. When you study what goes into the craft behind that reason, then I think you’re truly learning something special. All the writing classes and books in the world just cannot match the story that bonds with a writer’s spirit. 

  • What do your plans for future projects include?

Apart from Princeborn? Oh, I’m all over the place. I want to write about trolls and dragons, cyclists and graverobbers, heart-eaters and dream-killers.

The heart-eaters and dream-killers will be first—two dark fantasy novellas with the spirit of mystery I do so love…

I hope you’ll join me at jeanleesworld.com for updates! You can always subscribe to my monthly newsletter, too.

Here’s the link for that: https://jeanleesworld.us19.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a0612c86e967ee93c6a9e2d22&id=f0d311edc4

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

Wrap Up

A huge thanks to Jean for tolerating all my questions and providing beautiful graphics, responses, and advice. I’m inspired by this woman’s success and can’t wait to pick up the next book. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Author Spotlight & Book Alert. I leave you with one last but important image: the next site you need to check out!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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12 comments

  1. I’m loving the way you handle author interviews and promotion, along with images. You do spectacular work for others. I’ve exchanged some messages with Jean Lee in the past and found her to be a sweet person. I must read and review at least one of her books. Thanks for the choices here.

    Liked by 1 person

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