Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Peasant Prince by Stephen Cody: Interview & Excerpt

Title: The Peasant Prince
Author: Stephen Cody
Publisher: Trajan Books, Inc.
Publication Date: September 22, 2012

Synopsis: Art Williams is the son of the new American Ambassador to London. In his first 48 hours in London, Art makes an enemy of Princess Guinevere, the teenage daughter of the new Queen of England, has a trio of banshees foretelling his doom, is stalked by a shape-shifting witch, and destroys the American Ambassador's mansion.

Art may be the only thing standing in the way of the enslavement of the world. Dark forces are at work. If they can sacrifice an infant king, the Worlds of Man and Magic will be reunited. Or it could unravel Time itself. Queen Caroline, Guinevere’s mother, has an infant prince, the heir to her throne.

With his classmates, the sons and daughters of diplomats from Australia, Canada, India, and China, Art discovers they have a chance of saving the Royal Family, England, and the world. But first, they must gather the skills needed and make alliances with what little magic is left in this world. And they must lay claim to Excalibur, the Sword of Destiny.

About the Author: Stephen Cody is a Miami based author and consultant. He is a graduate of the writing program at Florida State University. The focus of his major was on both fiction and articles and essays. The articles and essay part helped him later when he became a lawyer. The fiction part helped out when he tried to explain why the court should rule for his corporate and banking clients.
Steve is the author of three published novels: "The Peasant Prince", "Lying in State", and "Soulless". He's also published his first children's book, "There's An Elephant Following Me!"


First off, I'd like to thank you for joining me on the blog today!

Thanks, Kristen.  I appreciate your having me here.  There’s nothing I like better than talking about books.  Not just mine, but everybody’s. 

1. Describe The Peasant Prince as a tweet  (140 characters or less)!
An American boy meets a Royal Princess. Ancient curses. Murders. Dwarves. Trolls. Magic. Excalibur. The Grand Ball.  And Dragons in London. (Made it with one character to spare.)

2. If you could re-title The Peasant Prince what would you call it and why?
The title was originally going to be The Midnight Realm and remained that through several drafts.  The book examines royalty.  Princess Guinevere, the daughter of Britain’s new queen, is obviously royal and maybe a little too proud of that fact.  Art Williams, the son of the new American Ambassador to London, is descended from two American presidents on his mother’s side and, through her, to senators, governors, generals, and admirals. He is as close to royalty as we get in America.  Art, however, is a typical American teenager, smart but not motivated to excel when we first meet him.  There is a second prince, one who is dark and mysterious, who forms the sharpest corner on a relationship triangle with Art and Guinevere.  That Prince resides in the Midnight Realm. 

3. What inspired you to start writing?
The book started as a dream fragment.  I knew of the legend of the ravens at the Tower of London.  Charles I decreed that there should always be at least six ravens at the Tower to combat the prophesy that if they were to leave, the Kingdom would collapse and the Tower would fall into the River Thames.  I dreamt that the Ravenmaster, the keeper of the crows, came out in the middle of the night and found that nine black dragon hatchlings had eaten the six official ravens and the three spares.  That got me thinking the next morning as to why the ravens would get eaten and what it could mean for England and the world.  The book slowly unraveled in my head from that one dream. 

4. What kind of research, if any, did you do for The Peasant Prince?
I did tons of research for the book.  Much of it takes place at The American School in London, a U.S. style K-12 school in the heart of London.  I not only read up on the School, but tracked down some graduates and informally interviewed them. One the chief characters in the book is a retired professor who teaches Art and his five classmates, the sons and daughters of diplomats from China, Australia, Canada, and India.  I had learn enough so I could make Professor Merwin seem real, like the genius he is in the book.  I also had to research the customs of the British Royal Court and the castles and palaces used in the novel.  Plus, I came to know the Tower of London, even the parts off-limits to visitors as well as my own house.  In addition, I learned about British geography, old Celtic legends, and read several books on the legend of King Arthur. 

5. Do you have a specific place where you write?
Years ago, I bought a big house and had the two car garage converted into an office.  That’s where I write.  I also write and illustrate storybooks and iPad apps, so my computers are there.  I’m planning on building a sound recording booth that looks like Doctor Who’s TARDIS so I can record narration from my book and sound effects for my apps. 

This or That...

Ebook or Real book?
I like both.  I grew up loving the feel of book in my hands.  My family has been in the paper and printing business, so there’s nothing quite like the feel of a well made book.  Sometimes they’re almost alive.  They have leather skins and the leaves inside were once standing the heart of a sun-dappled forest.  On the pages are captured whispers.  Authors long gone can reach across time and share a story, a laugh or a tear.  That's real magic. 

It’s also magic that all of that can be compressed into a data stream.  Like a stream of conciseness, it moves into your Kindle or Nook or iPad and waits for you.  In a device weighing just a few ounces, you can hold more books than in the legendary library in Alexandria, Egypt, once thought to be the greatest storehouse of knowledge.  

Twitter or Facebook?
I do both.  Twitter is a challenge for me.  I find having to limit myself to 140 characters to be very hard.  There is a certain haiku-ness to it.  You can only sketch and stab at an idea.  Facebook allows me to give news, express political views, attach bits my friends might like, and keep up with people I lost touch with once, but now have rediscovered.  You can connect with me @benedictmarshal on Twitter.  My Facebook page is 

Chocolate or Vanilla?
I found out recently that I’m a diabetic.  So I guess you could say I’m certifiably sweet.  When I’m allowed to indulge my old sweet tooth, I’ll take chocolate.  I like rich, complex flavors. (In fact, I’d rather drink a really good root beer than a real beer anyday.)

Past or Future?
Ha!  The Peasant Prince involves a wee bit of time travel, so it has a bit of the past and the future as important plot points.  One of the characters in the book tells Arthur an old saying of his people, which when translated is: “A fool wishes he could change the past, but a wise man knows he cannot change the future.”
I love learning about the past.  But I plan spending the rest of my life in the future. 

And just for fun- What is the strangest thing on your desk right now?
I have a lamp that my grandfather made out of a 1920’s candlestick style phone.  When you take the earpiece off the holder, it springs up and turns the lamp on.  It is my favorite piece of furniture. 

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!
Thanks for having me, Kristen!

The Peasant Prince by Stephen Cody - Chapter 1

-Kristen ♥

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