B.R. Myers, author of “Rogue Princess,” stopped by the blog today to answer some questions about the book! If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t worry — this interview is spoiler-free! “Rogue Princess” was released by Swoon Reads on January 21.
COURTNEY: What inspired “Rogue Princess”?
B.R. MYERS: The idea for Rogue Princess came to me while I was writing a story in which the main character was working on a perfume campaign. The ad was a reimagining of Rapunzel, but instead of a princess being kept in a tower it was a businessman trapped in a high rise office building. After those characters found their happily ever after I started thinking about my next project. The notion of another gender-swapped retelling appealed to me and right away I thought of Cinderella. I hadn’t intended to have a sci-fi angle to the story, but I clearly remember the ‘shoe fits’ scene coming to me fully developed, and I was intrigued.
COURTNEY: What (if any) were some major changes between the original draft and the published version?
B.R. MYERS: I rewrote the ending three times! The original ending featured the young boy, Tomas and the coin Princess Delia had originally given his father after their attempted attack. However, that version required a large passage of time and ended up slowing down the pace of novel.
COURTNEY: How long did it take you to write the first draft?
B.R. MYERS: I wrote the first three chapters in a week, and then it stalled for almost a year! But Delia and Aidan were never far from my thoughts, so when I saw the next Swoon Reads deadline was coming up, I rolled up my sleeves, determined to write something every day.
Easier said than done, but I found a few tricks along the way that helped get those words down. I started in June 2017 and finished two weeks before the September deadline. It was unpolished, but I hoped the heart of the story would resonate with readers.
COURTNEY: Which character changed the most from the first draft to the finished copy?
B.R. MYERS: I would say Shania. In the first draft she was only in a few scenes, but I realized she was more influential than I first gave her credit. During revisions I took the opportunity to let her become a balance for Princess Delia’s intensity and to offer a new perspective. It’s Shania’s influence in one particular scene that helped Delia make a crucial choice.
COURTNEY: What was the process of being published through Swoon Reads like? Can you walk me through it?
B.R. MYERS: I uploaded my manuscript right before the deadline for season twelve back in September 2017. It was great to get the feedback from readers, and I was pleased it was so well received. Still, I was completely shocked when I got the email from the editors saying they wanted to publish Rogue Princess. Next followed a phone call where we talked about what needed to change, then I received an editorial letter that was specific with each chapter about what I had to change. As I mentioned above, I rewrote the story a few times. Once all of that was done, the fun part was seeing the cover for the first time. I love the artwork by Audrey Astok. She did such a fantastic job.
COURTNEY: Were there any scenes you had to cut that you loved? If so, can you tell me anything about them?
B.R. MYERS: I had to cut the epilogue which takes place in the future. I wanted the reader to know what happened to the characters and their lasting legacy, but we all agreed that it was best to leave the story at its present ending.
COURTNEY: What kind of schooling do those in the Dark District have? It becomes clear later on why Aiden is so articulate, but a lot of the other characters that live in the Dark District seem to have a high level of education and intellect as well.
B.R. MYERS: Great question! The Dark District has become a rundown part of Astor due to the mines closing. Most of the successful people are those who work at the palace or trade in goods, mostly scrap metal from the picking station. However, the people who live in the Dark District are survivors and have skills that have enabled them to adapt. But the children in the story whom Aidan meets at Griff’s shop are a product of a resource strapped society where street smarts and survival have taken over their official education.
COURTNEY: The book ends up breaking away from being a retelling of ‘Cinderella’ as the story progresses. Why did you decide to start it off as a retelling? Was it a way to throw readers off of the plot twist?
B.R. MYERS: From the beginning the story was always intended to be told in two voices. I wanted to showcase Princess Delia’s unwavering loyalty to the crown against Aidan’s crass, yet charming wit of a commoner who has little respect for royalty.
Princess Delia is at the mercy of her birthright to rule over her resource strapped planet, having to consider the best possible option for her world with every decision…including which prince to wed. She has never questioned her obligation and is expected to continue to put the crown first, never her own feelings. As her mother, the queen, tells her, “Contentment comes from wisdom and making choices that are based on logic. That is where you will find your true fulfillment. Immersing yourself in your emotions is a luxury a queen cannot afford.”
But then she meets Aidan, and soon her belief system is uprooted as she is faced with evidence that the crown she has honored her whole life is tarnished with injustice of the very people she perceives to be protecting.
Aidan’s story on the other hand is about his desperate need to escape his cruel stepfamily all the while giving the impression he is aloof and unaffected by the neglect. At heart, Aidan has an impressive capacity for kindness and charity, which he keeps well hidden under his sarcastic armour. However, when he meets Princess Delia something deep inside ignites, making him rationalize the choice to put his own plans on hold to help her, thereby setting up a string of events that bring them unwittingly closer to a fatal destiny.
COURTNEY: Who would be your fan casts for a film adaptation? (C’mon A&E!)
Princess Delia – Tanaya Beatty
(NOTE: I LOVED Tanaya on “The Night Shift”! – Courtney)
Princess Shania – Shanon Baker
Aidan – Douglas Booth
Queen Talia – Tinsel Korey
Advisor Winchell – Buffy Sainte Marie
COURTNEY: I know it’s soon to be asking this — but what can readers expect from you next?
B.R. MYERS: I’m currently working on another fairy tale retelling inspired by the western frontier…plus there’s a dragon or two.