My contribution would be consistent with some of the forum objectives.
1. A well-researched and well-written historical novel can help to generate a strong interest among members to learn Chinese history, language and culture. A good of example of this type of novel is Clavell's Shogun which, while not about China, is sufficiently well regarded to be included as classroom reading in many curricula.
2. Based closely on primary and secondary source material, from both the Chinese and Western records, this novel draws on the academic research of hundreds of scholars of late imperial China whose insights inspired much of the story's abundant detail.
Many of the questions I must consider are too arcane for any forum, however many are of a general nature that may be interest to some part of the CHF community. As an example, while looking online for evaluations of Li Hung-chang (Li Hong-zhang) I came to a discussion here of whether he might be considered a "hero," which assessed Li's record in the latter part of the 19th century - I am interested in his early influences when first confronting Westerners. Another issue for me, as a non-native linguist, is some of the more obscure language in diaries and personal recollections of Chinese of that day, such as Yao Chi 姚濟, Hsiao Ts'ang-sang-chi 小滄桑記, or Chao Lieh-wen 趙烈文, Neng Ching-chu Shih Jih-chi (Diary of Living Quietly) 能靜居士日記.
If there is interest, I can post a bibliography of Chinese titles that will provide an idea of the scope of Chinese-language resources that have been employed to date.
I look forward with interest to learn the response of your community to having a forum topic on Historical Fiction about China.
Edited by Meiguo Laowai, 13 June 2012 - 12:33 AM.