My pal Quinn Edelson recently read my book Rescuing the Prince, a royal romantic comedy, and asked if I’d be happy to answer a few questions about it. This all actually happened in a flurry of private messages, but we realised I could jazz it up with some nice formatting and call it an interview, so here it is!
Before we get started, though, I should tell you that Quinn is also an author! Her book, The Star of Time, is a young adult time travel adventure and you should definitely check it out, and also take a look at her blog.
Rescuing the Prince
Quinn: I always am curious how much of an author goes into their character and the same holds true here. How much is Rhian based on you?
Victoria: Rhian isn’t particularly based on me. I used to write characters that were pretty transparent self-inserts back in my teenage fanfiction days and, having cringed over that for a while, I now make a conscious effort to make characters different from me in at least a few important areas.
In many ways, Rhian is a better person than I am. For instance, she’s genuinely, purely happy for her best friend, Jaya, when she gets a lead role in a West End musical, when she also dreamed of being an actress. A parallel for me would probably be one of my friends writing and publishing a novel that was better and/or more successful than any of mine—and, while I would be happy for them, I would also definitely have to go and cry about it in a corner for a while.
She’s also a much sweeter, less cynical person in general. I decided early on that she would have to be in order to be happy as a princess, and then for a long time I was worried that she was boring, because I’m typically drawn to snarky characters. But I did eventually find her sweetness likeable. I suppose, in a way, I’d like to be more like her.
I actually think I put as much of myself into my heroes as the heroines. I’d write introverted, awkward but drily funny heroes non-stop if I thought I could get away with it, and that’s pretty close to how I see myself!
Rhian and Cor and unusual names (at least here in the States. I’ve only met one Ryane and never a Cornelius). How did you come to choose those names? Are they common where you’re from and if not, was the choice deliberate?
Initially, I think I just picked Rhian because I liked the sound of it, although it’s a Welsh name and my grandfather was Welsh, so I was also glad to be paying that small tribute to my heritage. I decided that Rhian’s absent dad was Welsh (his name’s Matt Jones, and Jones is an incredibly common name in Wales), so that’s why her parents gave her a Welsh name.
As for Cor, I wanted to give the prince a very fancy, royal-sounding name, but I also wanted to be able to shorten it to something vaguely cool. I’m steering sharply towards short names for main characters after working with “Faustina” and “Benedetto” for several years! As far as I remember, Cornelius/Cor was actually the first name I thought of that fit the bill and I really liked it, so it stuck.
I didn’t deliberately pick the names to be unusual—I don’t think Rhian is unusual in Wales. But I’ve noticed that some people actually particularly like to read books with names they haven’t heard before. Maybe it adds to the escapism of a book like this.
Is there anything you’d do differently with the book now that you’ve gotten some reviews?
That’s a really interesting question! I firmly believe that reviews are for readers, not authors, so there’s always a sense, if I read them, that I’m eavesdropping on a conversation I wasn’t meant to overhear. Having said that, I did end up peeking at some of the reviews for Rescuing the Prince, but I don’t think I’ve asked myself this question.
Honestly… no, I don’t think I would change anything based on the reviews. I took a lot of feedback from my editor and other trusted sources while I was finishing it and, thanks to them, I think the finished book is exactly what I set out to write. Most of the negative comments I’ve seen are from people who wanted it to be something else. And I think that’s okay. It does feel awful to know your work disappointed someone—and it’s not that I don’t care—but you really can’t please all of the people all of the time and changing part of the book might have made it less enjoyable for the people who did like it. Also, I’m still just really psyched that there are people who liked it!
We talked on Twitter about the importance of having both the H1 and h2 perspectives as a genre trope. Do you think the book would have changed significantly if you had included Cor’s point of view? Have you considered re-writing the story from his point of view (cause I’d read that!).
Another good question! I know one thing that did bother some readers about this book has been that Cor seems distant or cold, and that would have been different if his POV had been present. Even if he hadn’t acted any differently, I think seeing into his head, getting to see that he really did like Rhian all along but was struggling to balance that with his duty and broken heart, would have solved that problem, to some extent. I actually gave that a lot of thought early on, and spent a lot of time trying to decide between first-person and third-person close with alternating viewpoints. (Alternating between first-person viewpoints is another option but I’ve tried it before and I don’t think it suits my style.)
In the end, I decided to just go with Rhian’s POV for two reasons. Firstly, because I decided that her story (regaining her confidence and finding her place in the world) was more compelling than his, and easier for the reader to identify with. And second, because I actually wanted the reader to share Rhian’s first impressions of the characters, to be drawn to the overtly-charming Hugo and a little put-off by cold, distant Cor, until they got to know both of them better.
While I was writing it, I actually did consider redoing it from Cor’s POV, yes! But I think that’s because I just really loved the characters and didn’t want to let them go. I don’t think it would really add anything meaningful to the story, so I have no plans to actually do it—but I guess you never know when inspiration might strike!
I know there’s a novella out (in fact, I’m going to sign up for your list to get it) but do you have plans to continue with stories about the Seingalt Court? I feel like Remy and Sebastian need their stories. Also (and this is out there, but I really kinda liked her) Amandine. Thom? Jaya?
I’d like to! When I planned this book, my intention was for this to be a series about Cor and his cousins—the novella is about Evar, but there’s also Alex and the twins. I started work on Alex’s story over the summer, but I kind of stalled. It just wasn’t working, and so far I can’t figure out if it was a problem with the book, or just my state of mind. (It’s been a bit of a rough year!) I did recently come up with a new idea for that story that I’m quite excited about, though, so it’s not over yet!
As for the non-royals like Thom and Jaya, it might prove a little harder to fold them into a series of royal romances, but I would like to see them again. And I’m glad I’m not the only person who likes Amandine! It was important to me that Cor’s ex-girlfriend wasn’t a one-dimensional Mean Girl, the way possible romantic rivals sometimes are, so I’m really pleased you liked her.
Thanks so much for these questions, Quinn!
Rescuing the Prince is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon.