INTERVIEW WITH JULIA LONDON

The Princess Plan (A Royal Wedding Book 1)

Julia London

HQN Pub

Nov 19, 2019

The Princess Plan by Julia London is a good murder mystery, along with a royal romance.  This first in the series delves into the Victorian Age culture and expectations.

The story opens with Prince Sebastian, the future king of Alucia coming to England to secure a trade deal and find a bride that will bring influence to this small kingdom.  Able to secure an invitation of a masquerade ball held in the prince’s honor, English citizens, Eliza Tricklebank, her sister Hollis, and friend Lady Caroline, are hoping to meet him.  But the only one who literally runs into him is Eliza.  Feeling satisfied that her wish came true she returns home and writes about the ball with Hollis for their unapologetic gossip gazette. 

But after finding details of a scandal the sisters decide to write about that as well, posting how the personal secretary of the visiting prince is found murdered.  This prompts Prince Sebastian to don civilian clothes in search of Eliza, deciding to play detective. Paying her a visit he is shocked that she throws him out after being rude.  Yet, subsequent run-ins highlight her honesty, wit, intelligence, independence, humor, and wisdom leading Sebastian to agree to work with her to find the murderer.

The relationship blossoms as it grows from one of conflict to appreciation to love. Unfortunately for both they have to get over the obstacle that a prince cannot marry a commoner. As the hunt continues for the murderer readers turn the pages to find out if both can pursue their true love of one another. 

This first in the series is a home run.  London blends humor with great character development and a suspenseful mystery.  The only problem with this series is that readers will have to wait until book two comes out sometime in the spring or summer.

Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?

Julia London: I had done the Scottish historical novels set in the 18th Century.  There were no modern amenities. This new series is set in the Victorian era so there are a few more conveniences that is able to move the story forward including a printing press and trains.  I also wanted to write the classic and timeless story where a prince falls in love with a commoner girl.

EC:  Was Alucia based on any country?

JL: I decided to have a lighter tone and I made up my own country. It is based on Lebanon before the terrorism.  I wanted a small country with a mountain range and a seafront. People are able to ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon. It is vaguely European with a language that combines Latin, Estonian, and Italian mashed together.

EC: Do you like royalty?

JL:  I have been interested in royalty since I was a little girl. I grew up on a ranch in West Texas surrounded by dirt.  Growing up where I did royalty looked pretty good.

EC:  The story seems based on a bunch of fairy tales?

JL: I was enthralled by “Cinderella” and the “Princess and the Pea.” Another good one is the “Prince and the Pauper,” with the prince disguised as a commoner, and the prince is tired of having to marry for duty.  I also put a little of “Pygmalion” where a commoner is changed into someone princess-like. For those readers who wondered, I did not take the heroine’s name from this play, but picked it out because I just like the name.

EC:  What about the murder mystery?

JL:  This is the first mystery I have written; although I read a bunch of mysteries, thrillers and suspense so it was not like shooting in the dark.  I did know who the killer was from the very beginning.  There was so much political drama so I killed Sebastian’s confidant.  I found out writing a murder mystery is one of the hardest things I have written.  My hat is off to all those mystery writers.  It is really hard to maintain that thread and plant those clues.  With a pure romance, it is sometimes hard to find out what motivates the characters.  But with the mystery the characters were able to be propelled to the next scene.  I never had to guess where this was going and it allowed Eliza/Sebastian to become acquainted with each other and draw close.

EC:  I did not know there were gossip gazettes back then?

JL:  In the early 1900s there were several in the UK and America.  I researched the history.  This is where I decided to put the tidbits before each chapter. 

EC:  How would you describe Eliza?

JL:  She is one of my all-time favorite characters.  Eliza went through a public break-up and has since decided to live her life on her terms.  She pursues her hobby of repairing watches and clocks, while taking care of her blind dad, and befriending her maid Poppy. She has no illusions of what her life will be.  I did not write her having great dreams, but instead to have her make the best of her life.  I think she is confident, curious, a loner, obedient, and forthright.

EC:  How would you describe Prince Sebastian?

JL: His strength is his sexiness. He is the duty-bound first son.  He is a loner and has trust issues.  Sebastian has not experienced true affection.  As the revered heir to the throne he sometimes comes across as arrogant. 

EC:  How would you describe the relationship?

JL: He wants Eliza to be able to escape and to see how much he adores her. Through Eliza he realizes that she sees him as himself and not the Crown Prince. I think both are secure in their own skin.  As time goes on they see all sides of each other and fall in love. 

EC:  Can you give a heads up about your next book?

JL: It will be out in May and is titled A Royal Kiss and Tell. The heroine is Lady Caroline and the hero is Sebastian’s brother Leopold.  It will open with the wedding between Eliza and Sebastian. The last book of the series is about Hollis who turns her journalism into fact-finding. 

THANK YOU!!