Today, I have award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Aldrea Alien in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release To Poison a Prince, book two in the A Tale of Two Princes series, a m/m fantasy romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Hi, Aldrea. I interviewed you for your Spellster series, so I came up with a new set of questions for you to answer. Here we go!
Aldrea Alien on To Poison a Prince:
1. How did you come up with the concept and characters for the A Tale of Two Princes series?
Aldrea: Firstly, thanks for having me on the blog.
Character-wise, Darshan was already there, even if he was meant to remain a distant threat, the heir to an “evil empire” mentioned briefly by a character in In Pain and Blood. The concept didn’t happen until Hamish appeared and he came to me much like a few of my other characters, through playing video games. He had a different name, then.
Once I settled Hamish’s family into Tirglas, where the duology first starts, a single question came to mind: What would happen if a powerful spellster is sent as an ambassador to a land where spellsters are cloistered? From there, more and more questions popped up until I’d travelled all the way to the most logical conclusion: Havoc.
2. What did you enjoy most about writing To Poison a Prince?
Aldrea: Being able to weave little details into the world that likely won’t have a payoff until I’ve finished the whole world, if ever. Udynea is a big place. A number of future stories happen there, some within the same timeframe. Certain characters interact with each other. It has led me to having those scenes rewritten from their povs.
3. What did you least enjoy about writing To Poison a Prince?
Aldrea: The fight scenes. It’s the classic struggle of trying to get down the big cinematic scenes I envision when all the wrong words come out first.
4. Tell us about your main characters–what do you like most about them?
Aldrea: They’re both princes, hence the series title. Hamish is seventh in line for the Tirglasian throne and not really interested in ruling. He’s a laid-back, gentle giant kind of guy who would vastly prefer being out hunting and helping people to engaging in political affairs, but he has a strong sense of duty. He also happens to be deadly accurate in archery.
Darshan is the complete opposite. He’s one of the strongest living spellsters. He’s also a bit of a brat who loves to piss off the court and has spent a lot of his past just doing what, and who, he pleased, damn the consequences that keep piling up and may lead to complications later down the road.
As for what I like about them… a lot of their struggles come from external pressure. And they talk to each other! Maybe not sharing every detail, but they’re not storming off due to misunderstandings. Not that there aren’t misunderstandings at all, there is a slight language barrier and a huge cultural difference, but they also know that.
5. Let’s keep this on the main characters. Tell us what you like least about them.
Aldrea: That they wouldn’t stick to the script in the second book as they’d done during the first. I blame them evolving more than I had anticipated.
6. How did you come up with name for your book?
Aldrea: It was originally a cheesy throwaway title that just happened to stick. I wanted to keep the same sort of beat as To Target the Heart has and well… there’s this prince and someone’s trying to poison him. 😀
7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in To Poison a Prince?
Aldrea: No. I’ve already rewritten multiple scenes, moved chapters or removed them entirely, added others, and changed the flow a number of times.
8. If A Tale of Two Princes was a country, which country would it be and why?
Aldrea: That’s a tough one as the two stories happen in two very different lands. To Target the Heart is set in Tirglas, which has a heavy Scottish flavour. Whereas To Poison a Prince has the characters travelling through the Udynea Empire, a land that absorbed a lot of smaller kingdoms has a lot of South Asian influences.
9. If A Tale of Two Princes was an alcoholic beverage, what would it be and why?
Aldrea: Viniq, because it looks ethereal and mysteriously magical.
10. If A Tale of Two Princes was a celebrity, who would it be and by?
Aldrea: I really don’t know how to answer this one.
11. Tell us why A Tale of Two Princes is a must-read.
Aldrea: Well, if you like stories where the characters more-than-earn their happy ending in the face of phobic parents, blood-thirsty siblings and murderers lurking in the shadows, where the couple grows to the point of their differences strengthen each other… then I would suggest giving this duology a try.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
Aldrea: Definitely more stories set in the spellster universe. Someone Else’s Shoes, my lesbian fairytale retelling of Cinderella, is due for release in November. On the writing front, I’m currently working on a prequel to In Pain and Blood. In 2022, I will be briefly stepping away from the spellsters to finish the Dark One’s Trilogy, then hopping back onto whatever storyline out the twenty-odd titles that grabs my attention first.
Aldrea Alien on Writing:
1. What is your writing process?
Aldrea: It’s difficult to say, largely because it tends to get all jumbled up into one big ball that happens at the same time. Characters generally come before any solid plot, they give me a thin storyline that then requires a lot of building upon to logically get them from beginning to end. If I need to research, it’s often done on the fly.
2. What is your writing setting?
Aldrea: 95% of the time, I’m writing on my computer, which is situated in the dining room. There’s generally a TV blaring away nearby, so I write with headphones and instrumental music. Other times, I’m jotting down little notes on my phone. Typically at some stupidly late time of night.
3. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Aldrea: Like I said… fight scenes. I hate writing them, yet they still creep into my stories. My current wip is mostly just fighting.
4. How do you decide when the book is finished and ready for publication?
Aldrea: When it feels like I’ve reached the end. Everything is tied up the way I want and the rounds of editing have polished it as much as it can be. To Poison a Prince went through an extra step because of massive rewrites in the end chapters because, even after editing, I didn’t like the flow.
5. Do you read the reviews for your books? If yes, why? If no, why?
Aldrea: I do. I’ve always loved seeing people’s reactions, reading how they feel about a piece of media I know well from their pov (movie reacts are my fav thing to watch for similar reasons). Of course, that does mean I also see the reviews of those who don’t like it, but there are plenty of books that aren’t to my taste for various reasons and I accepted it would be the same with my books a long time ago.
This or That for Aldrea:
For each answer you give, explain why you chose “this” or why you chose “that.”
1. Introvert or Extrovert?
Aldrea: Introvert. 100% I’d much rather be at home with a book than amongst people.
2. Big advance for you next book but it must meet what the publisher wants or no big advance and writing what you want?
Aldrea: No advance. Sometimes I can’t get the muse to write what I want, writing what someone else want? No chance.
3. Would you rather live in your dream home in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere?
Aldrea: Yeah, I think I’m good staying down south in New Zealand. A dream home with my own office would be nice, though.
4. Reading: Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Aldrea: Fiction. My love of reading and fantasy go hand in hand.
5. Writing: Typewriter or Pen and Paper?
Aldrea: Pen and paper. I used to write notes that way before switching to my phone. And, with the way I write, doing it on a typewriter would end up with me leaving all sorts of notes in the margin anyway.
Book Title: To Poison a Prince
Series: A Tale of Two Princes, Book 2
Author: Aldrea Alien
Release Date: July 31, 2021
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
Trope/s: Hurt/Comfort, Man in Peril, Cultural Differences, Dysfunctional Family, Mystery Murderer, Opposites Attract
Themes:Royalty, Wedding, Revenge
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 269 231 words
Someone is out to murder his husband and he might just be the reason they succeed.
Blurb: Imperial Crown Prince Darshan knew his journey home wasn’t going to be the modest one he hoped for, especially not after eloping with Hamish, a former prince—and now exile—of Tirglas.
When he thwarts a clumsy attempt on his husband’s life during a soirée hosted by his long-standing rival and half-sister, he figures the worst is behind them.
Yet, the threat of death continues to shadow them across the empire. Someone is intent on making the rumours of his husband’s demise a reality, someone who can erase the memory of their very presence from people’s minds.
Darshan must discover who is behind the attempts before they succeed. But who can he trust when the culprit is capable of slipping by the most vigilant of guards?
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
“Your highness,” Katarina said in a clear address to himself. “I hear you’ve travelled through imperial lands for some months. What is your current outlook on it?” Although she spoke Udynean, the musical hint of her own language whispered through. A much softer melody than the last hedgewitch Hamish had met.
He swallowed the wine and considered the past eight weeks of travel from the distant port of Haalabof to here, of the seemingly endless roads winding along the lands and the villages small enough to barely warrant a mention on a map. “It has certainly been an experience.” He’d been propositioned at least seven times along the way. Maybe even more that had been too subtle for him to notice.
The hedgewitch’s eyes almost sparkled. “You simply must give me details, your highness. It’s so rare to have an outside opinion on Udynea.”
Hamish opened his mouth, his agreement balancing on his tongue, only to remain silent as Darshan laid a bejewelled hand atop his.
“I’m sure my husband is most eager to oblige the request, Madam Hedgewitch, but perhaps another time would be more suited?”
Her lashes fluttering, Katarina lowered her head. “Of course, vris Mhanek.” She picked at the rest of her meal, perhaps looking for a reason to remain silent as she vibrated with an energy that reminded Hamish of his nephews when they sorely wanted to natter people’s ears off.
A pang of longing turned his stomach. A yearning to embrace his sisters, to hear his nephews scheming and his niece’s laughter. He would even take his brother’s good-natured ribbing just for a chance to hear his voice.
Hamish swallowed, blinking furiously to stem the tears threatening to spill. He hadn’t expected to feel homesick, but he’d never been beyond Tirglas before, hadn’t even been more than a week’s travel from Mullhind Castle for years. Now it was months away and there was more land to cover before they reached their destination.
A whole continent between him and his family; people he would never get to see again thanks to his mother’s poisonous ire.
“Do eat up, brother dear,” Onella purred, jolting Hamish from his thoughts. His sister-in-law gestured to the plate before Darshan, the rings adorning her fingers glittering in the candlelight. She had changed gowns, or at least the filmy topmost layer, and her arm showed no sign of Darshan’s attack. “All that dancing must’ve worked up quite the appetite. I can’t imagine the poxy inns you’ve stopped at during your travels had meals sufficient for a man of your power. You must be ravenous.”
Darshan smiled. Hamish wasn’t sure how his husband managed to seemingly detach the expression from his face, but the sight prickled his skin. “I think I’ll pass, dear half-sister.”
“But isn’t quail your favourite?” Onella pressed. “Did all those stodgy meals up north affect your palate?” She leant closer to one of the men flanking her and continued on in a loud whisper. “I hear they do ghastly things like stuff sheep stomachs and eat them.”
“They do indeed,” Katarina piped up as grumbles of distaste trembled along the table. “And the stomachs of cows and pigs.”
“There’s little from an animal we dinnae eat or use,” Hamish added, ferocious pride for his homeland’s self-sufficiency puffing his chest. “And what’s left goes to feed our dogs and pigs. We dinnae let a thing go to waste.”
“Clearly, trade relations with a superior people isn’t listed as one of those things.” Onella sipped at her wine, her gaze boring into him. “But I suppose you’re not privy to such matters, being dead and all.”
A woman part way down the table flung her head back and guffawed.
“He seems very lively for a dead man,” pointed out the woman sitting next to her as her neighbour continued to wheeze.
“Clearly not in the literal sense,” Onella said, her gaze remaining firmly on Hamish. “But it would seem that the news of how the current queen of Tirglas disowned her younger son hasn’t reached all present company.”
Darshan straightened in his chair. “Has it not?” He took up his glass and tapped his forefinger against it, waiting whilst a servant topped up the wine. “What is the rumour mill coming to if it cannot keep up with such trivial concerns?”
Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of To Target the Heart (Book 1).