Just this spring, The Royal Romance: Book 1 kicked off with a dance in the palace ballroom of Cordonia. The whirlwind romance of the first book ended with a courtly plot against you. Who in the court can you trust? And how will you fight back?
All will be answered in Book 2... The Royal Romance will return at the end of September! To read more about the upcoming book, check out the interview with the team behind The Royal Romance below:
Soooo... how's book two of The Royal Romance going? What's next for our Cordonian crew?
Jeffrey: Well, next I'm probably going to go home, cook some vegetables, listen to a podcast, then socialize with some friends through the interwebs--
Oh, you meant the characters, not us. Well... In Book 2, we want to take the main character's journey in a more experimental direction where she really discovers who she is and what she wants. First, she was living under the expectations of her role as a waitress in New York, then she escaped into the trappings of high Cordonian society. Now's her chance to pursue her true self.
Kara: Even though we're not releasing chapters right now, we actually started Book Two right after we finished Book One! I finished writing the last few lines of the Coronation and then immediately started writing the first chapter of Book Two! We actually had to do most of the planning while we were still working on Book One. We've got a lot of fun planned--even though things can get a little dire in the Royal Romance, the fun of being at court and spending time with your friends is still there. We're going to travel the world, meet new people, build a barn, and probably talk more about hats.
It's a pretty big understatement to say Book 1 had quite the cliffhanger. Can you tell us a little bit about where this is going?
Kara: I think the most striking thing about the reactions to the end of book 1 are how people interpret what happened differently. It all happens so quickly, and we only gave people a few lines to read into, but it really isn't very much to go off of. You don't know exactly how the Prince is feeling, or why he picks who he does. From the writers' perspective, we jump right into writing Book Two, so there's not much of a wait. I wish our players didn't have to wait either, because a few weeks of being in suspense can go a long way! In Book Two, you'll be able to finally fight back and figure out who framed you and Tariq in Book One.
Jennifer: I don't want to say exactly where Book Two is going, but questions that were brought up during our brainstorming were: Who sent the blackmail note? Will Olivia come back? Who tried to sell the bachelor party photos?
I need to know. Will we get our happily-ever-after?
Jennifer: I think you can really tell by a writer's favorite novels what kind of outlook they have on endings. My favorite novel is Pride and Prejudice, so you could extrapolate how The Royal Romance will end from that. On the other hand, Kara likes Wuthering Heights, and Jeffrey really likes Hamlet, so... take from that what you will.
Hm... interesting. Now given Olivia's ancestry and other factors, Cordonia is essentially the modern day version of Stormholt from The Crown & The Flame, which had quite a bit of worldbuilding. What does worldbuilding look like for The Royal Romance?
Jeffrey: Worldbuilding is a delicate and intricate process. First, I like to devise an economic system because economics answers a few questions on how we organize ourselves. For The Royal Romance, we developed an export market for the Cordonian apple sector by defining the exchange rate between the Cordonian currency versus the Euro. We have spreadsheets, graphs, and everything. It's very professional. In fact, if you look closely, you can see a subplot where Cordonians attempt to tackle the housing crisis and rising inequality.
Once you have an economic framework which people organize themselves around, you can move on to the stories engrained in the national identity. What do they believe and how do their surroundings and past traditions influence them? What are the dissenting points of view?
With these two pieces in place, you can finally embark on a 10-volume historical record following the rulers of Cordonia, which will prompt a body of work on Cordonian history from the perspective of the common people. When you can recite the third edition of the Encyclopedia Cordonia, the writing can begin.
Jennifer: Jeffrey will be publishing his next novel, "Cordonia: An In-Depth Look At A Glorious Peoples" in Spring of 2028.
Very funny. (Just so we're clear, Jeffrey is joking. Sort of.) Out of curiosity, who's your favorite character to write in The Royal Romance?
Kara: I love writing Maxwell. In the first draft of The Royal Romance Chapter 1, he actually didn't exist, and Bertrand was your only host. But that world felt too flat and un-fun. I realized we needed someone more playful to be opposite of Bertrand, so that's how Maxwell was born! (He was originally just "Nobleman 2"). Right away, everything in the group felt like it finally clicked, and everything got a lot more fun to write. Even though we had to do a lot of last minute changes to the plot, I think it was worth it. Now he's such a major part of the book that it's hard to imagine a world without him! I also love writing Hana and Maxwell together because they're both very sweet and playful but in very opposite ways. Hana also kind of reminds me of Jennifer and Jessica in some ways... XD
Actually, it's very striking to me how each of the three Royal Romance writers for Book One has influenced the world and cast. Jennifer gives everything a touch of formality and courtly grace, and Jeffrey brings in a lot of wacky humor about horses and hats and poodles. If I've added anything, it's probably making Bertrand meaner, throwing in more silly group moments with your crew, and probably having Drake drink too much whiskey. (I don't even like whiskey.) But overall, it's really thrilling to see the world and the characters that come out of this combination.
Jeffrey: Madeleine. It's fun to write someone who's constantly trying to spin a situation to their benefit, and making power plays along the way. I've actually been writing for Madeleine since her appearance in Rules of Engagement: Book 2, so we're practically besties.
And who's your favorite love interest? *wink* *nudge*
Kara: I love them all! I probably end up writing the most Drake, but I often get to write some of the Prince's speeches to you, and I love how considerate and loving he is. There's nothing selfish or mean about him. He's the kind of person that you'd want to be around in real life.
Jennifer: In my personal game, my love interest is definitely Drake, and I totally make Kara write him just so I can read his scenes and enjoy the romance. =) Writing-wise, I enjoy Hana the most because I feel like we have a lot in common, and some of her struggles with trying to please while simultaneously trying to figure out what will make her the most happy in the long-run really resonate with me.
Is there anything you'd like to tell the fans before Book 2's release?
Jennifer: We hope you'll enjoy the twists and turns we have planned for Book Two!
😱 🤔 Well, that's something to look forward to! To everyone reading along: Check back at the end of September for the start of The Royal Romance: Book 2! And as always, we've got more on the way...