Can you tell us about your debut, The Rat Prince, in 45 words or less?
The dashing, unstoppable Rat Prince is turned into Cinderella’s coachman for one night, to help save her family. At the royal ball, he and Cinderella discover the kingdom itself is under threat. What can they do? And this is a fairytale…so, what about a happy ending?
What was your favorite scene to write?
Hmm, that’s a hard choice!
I wrote the fairy goddess scene in a summer loft in Provence, and the lavender-infused magic of the place just shimmered through it. I can still feel that enchantment whenever I go back to read it.
But I particularly loved the final scenes in The Rat Prince, with the duel (I won’t give away who’s fighting who) and justice being done, and…I’d better stop right there! I love happy endings, and this one had many levels to it!
Do you have a favorite quote from the book?
“… I am always truthful, unless it is not to the purpose.” — Prince Char
“The Rose of those idyllic days had been thrust aside to make way for a new girl named Cinderella. She was stubborn, watchful, desperate. But she was not yet defeated.” — Lady Rose (Cinderella)
What theme song would you give The Rat Prince?
There are two vintage, gorgeous songs, actually.
For Prince Char:
Northern Sky by Nick Drake
Somewhere Along the Road (by Rick Kemp, sung by Maddy Prior)
The links are just YouTubes; close your eyes and listen
What made you want to write a Cinderella retelling?
I know it sounds strange, but I was thinking about the tale of Cinderella, and how dissatisfied I was with the whole thing… then I felt like I heard the voice of the Rat Prince in my head, telling me the original tale didn’t make sense simply because it wasn’t the real story!
So I had to get the “true” story out there.
It basically took over my life for several months. As in, I did nothing else. Not even sleep. (Well, not much, anyway.)
How many similarities are there between The Rat Prince and Cinderella?
I set myself the challenge with this book to keep the outline of the old “Cinderella” plot while turning the whole thing sideways. So don’t expect this to take place on an interstellar ship, or to find out that “Stepmother” is really a code word for a hallucinogenic drug that brought this all on in a vision. We’ve got a castle, a ball, a real, live stepmother…a traditional framework for a very non-traditional version!
Equally important: The original “Cinderella” tells us that beauty and riches are what we should value. My story challenges that notion head-on. And along those lines, if you look closely at the old Cinderella story, it’s not even romantic. My version puts love back into the story, on all levels (where I think it belongs).
It is definitely complete as a standalone. But there may be some companion stories coming out in this same universe… I may even have written a couple of holiday short stories with the same characters…stay tuned!
What is the best book you’ve read recently? What is your most anticipated 2016 debut?
So, I’ve read about 50 books so far this year, and I can’t choose among the new debuts. They’re all amazing. I will say that I’ve been re-reading Sharon Shinn’s “Safe-Keeper” Middle Grade novels– beautiful, quiet, satisfying gems. They refresh my spirit.
The dashing Prince of the Rats–who’s in love with Cinderella–is changed into her coachman on the night of the big ball. And he’s about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on his way to a most unexpected happy ending!
Buy the Rat Prince Today!