Janie
Bestselling Historical Novelist
Award Nominated Author
Travels from: Vancouver, BC

“Janie Chang’s beautiful writing will transport you to another time and place with characters you will feel in your soul…” — Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London and The Librarian Spy

Janie Chang is a Canadian bestselling author of historical fiction. She has a degree in Computing Science but escaped from the high tech industry to become an author. Inspired by family stories and tales of ancestors who encountered dragons, ghosts, and immortals, her novels include: THE PORCELAIN MOON, THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS, DRAGON SPRINGS ROAD, THREE SOULS, and THE PHOENIX CROWN (co-authored with Kate Quinn). Her novels feature people or incidents that have been ignored by history. The Toronto Star calls her “One of the most original voices in Canadian historical fiction.”

THREE SOULS, was a finalist for the 2014 BC Book Prizes Fiction Award; DRAGON SPRINGS ROAD, was a Globe and Mail national bestseller. Both were nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. Both THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS and THE PORCELAIN MOON were Globe and Mail bestsellers; THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS was also a Book of the Month Club selection and nominated for the Evergreen Award. From 2015 – 2017 Janie was the founder and organizer of Authors for Indies, a day of support by authors to celebrate Canada’s independent bookstores; this has transitioned into Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, run by the Canadian Independent Bookstore Association.

Born in Taiwan, Janie has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, New Zealand, and Canada. She now makes her home on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her husband and Minnie, a rescue cat who thinks the staff could do a better job.

Janie's Featured Titles

The Phoenix Crown

William Morrow Paperbacks |
Historical Fiction

From bestselling authors Janie Chang and Kate Quinn, a thrilling and unforgettable narrative about the intertwined lives of two wronged women, spanning from the chaos of the San Francisco earthquake to the glittering palaces of Versailles.

San Francisco, 1906. In a city bustling with newly minted millionaires and scheming upstarts, two very different women hope to change their fortunes: Gemma, a golden-haired, silver-voiced soprano whose career desperately needs rekindling, and Suling, a petite and resolute Chinatown embroideress who is determined to escape an arranged marriage. Their paths cross when they are drawn into the orbit of Henry Thornton, a charming railroad magnate whose extraordinary collection of Chinese antiques includes the fabled Phoenix Crown, a legendary relic of Beijing’s fallen Summer Palace.

His patronage offers Gemma and Suling the chance of a lifetime, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when a devastating earthquake rips San Francisco apart and Thornton disappears, leaving behind a mystery reaching further than anyone could have imagined . . . until the Phoenix Crown reappears five years later at a sumptuous Paris costume ball, drawing Gemma and Suling together in one last desperate quest for justice.

The Porcelain Moon: A Novel of France, the Great War, and Forbidden Love

William Morrow |
Historical Fiction

From the critically acclaimed author of The Library of Legends comes a vividly rendered novel set in WWI France about two young women—one Chinese, one French—whose lives intersect with unexpected, potentially dangerous consequences.

“East meets West in World War I France. In The Porcelain Moon, Janie Chang exhibits her signature trademarks—lyrical prose, deftly drawn characters, and skillful excavation of little-known history—to give us a rare jewel in a sea of wartime fiction!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author

France, 1918. In the final days of the First World War, a young Chinese woman, Pauline Deng, runs away from her uncle’s home in Paris to evade a marriage being arranged for her in Shanghai. To prevent the union, she needs the help of her cousin Theo, who is working as a translator for the Chinese Labour Corps in the French countryside. In the town of Noyelles-sur-Mer, Camille Roussel is planning her escape from an abusive marriage, and to end a love affair that can no longer continue. When Camille offers Pauline a room for her stay, the two women become friends. But it’s not long before Pauline uncovers a perilous secret that Camille has been hiding from her. As their dangerous situation escalates, the two women are forced to make a terrible decision that will bind them together for the rest of their lives.

Set against the little-known history of the 140,000 Chinese workers brought to Europe as non-combatant labor during WWI, The Porcelain Moon is a tale of forbidden love, identity and belonging, and what we are willing to risk for freedom.

The Library of Legends: A Novel

William Morrow |
Historical Fiction

The Library of Legends is a gorgeous, poetic journey threaded with mist and magic about a group from a Chinese university who take to the road to escape the Japanese invasion of 1937 – only to discover that danger stalks them from within. Janie Chang pens pure enchantment!”  Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress

From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel—the third in a loosely-connected trilogy—in which a young woman travels across China with a convoy of student refugees, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan.

“Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are…”

China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends.

Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother.

On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever.

Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.

Dragon Springs Road: A Novel

William Morrow |
Historical Fiction

From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.

Three Souls: A Novel (P.S.)

William Morrow Paperbacks |
Literary Fiction

An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love

We have three souls, or so I’d been told. But only in death could I confirm this….

So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

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BRINGING THE HIDDEN PAST TO LIGHT

This talk discusses the very popular question: how did you come up with the idea for your novel? From Shiny New Idea to research to writing a layered story, Janie Chang describes how an author progresses through the stages of a book. Using humour and practical observations, she shares the inspiration, the work, the fears, and insecurities of writing a historical novel. She uses her fourth book THE PORCELAIN MOON, which is set in WWI France against the backdrop of the Chinese Labour Corp on the Western Front as an example of why historical novelists feel it’s important to bring little-known episodes in history to a wider audience.

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"WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION MUST BE EASY, YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED"

When readers pick up a work of historical fiction, they want more than a good story and interesting characters. Effective historical fiction should deliver an immersive reading experience and also offer context that helps readers understand the world of the story. Otherwise, it can be difficult for readers to understand the characters and their situations, since a person’s behavior is informed by the societal norms of their culture and era. How can authors infuse this information into a story without overburdening the reader with too much history?

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INSPIRATION, RESEARCH, AND SERENDIPITY

When you write historical fiction, you build a story around the question “what might have happened?” According to historian Patrick Collinson, “It is possible for competent historians to come to radically different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence. Because, of course, 99% of the evidence, above all, unrecorded speech, is not available to us.” That 99% leaves a lot of gray areas, and those gray areas are where our imagination fills in what might’ve happened. The challenge—and enjoyment—of writing historical novels lies in successfully weaving a story that meshes what’s known with what might’ve been.

Podcasts Link

Janie’s Latest Reviews Link

The Porcelain Moon Reviews Link

The Library of Legends Reviews Link

Dragon Springs Road Reviews Link

Three Souls Reviews Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

THE PHOENIX CROWN: 8 weeks on Canada’s Globe and Mail bestseller list (so far), #1 in Canadian fiction; USA Today bestseller
THE PORCELAIN MOON: Globe and Mail historical novels bestseller
THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS: Globe and Mail bestseller, nominated for the Evergreen award, Book of the Month Club pick
DRAGON SPRINGS ROAD: Globe and Mail bestseller, Costco Canada Buyer’s Pick, nominated for the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award
THREE SOULS: Nominated for the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award; finalist for the 2014 BC Book Prizes Fiction Award

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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