#Countdown to #FallenPrinceborn: Chosen’s #BookLaunch: #Familydrama #Inspires Delectable #Villainy

Good morning, friends! The autumn leaves have all but fallen here, and the glorious color I was blessed to share with you in my newsletter a few days ago is slowly parting. To celebrate the coming release of my new novel Fallen Princeborn: Chosen, I’m back to share a bit more background on my Fallen Princeborn series.

The inspiration for a number of my Fallen Princeborn characters comes from the PBS shows I enjoyed in my childhood. Arlen, Liam’s teacher, is rooted in Ellis Peters’ Cadfael character, whose series I loved both watching and reading. Here was a man who held to his own principals no matter the dictates of the world around him. He found a divine peace in nature, and was not afraid to help others in need.

Liam’s parents, though, are something else entirely, inspired by something I saw because of Sir Derek Jacobi: the epic historical miniseries I, Claudius. If you have not seen this series, I HIGHLY recommend it.

As you can see from the interview, the chemistry between Brian Blessed and Siân Phillips was–and is–still magical. Together they make not just a couple, but the couple–Ceasar and his wife. There is no denying Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, but the wife? Ah, not even Ceasar knows what she truly wants. The power-plays they commit together and against each other are part of what made this series and book such a fascinating study in family drama, and their relationship showed me as a storyteller that an action-packed scene need be nothing more than a conversation between two dangerously driven characters.

In Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, there is a flashback into Liam’s childhood where Charlotte briefly sees Liam’s parents. In Chosen, she meets them in person.

It goes about as well as you would think.

The present-day Lord Bearnard Artair bears some resemblance to the figure Charlotte witnessed in Liam’s memory. He is shorter than Arlen and Liam, his body still rough and stocky, only now beneath a tailored pinstripe suit. His flaxen hair has greyed. But his face shows more wear than anything else: the crescent bags beneath his eyes, the slight jowls beneath his cheekbones. A jagged scar runs down his right cheek. A muscle above the scar twitches a little.
Rose House seems to shift beneath Charlotte’s feet. A stench of dread wafts from Liam, still stiff and silent behind her. “You never said your name.” She adds a spit bubble for a pop of a period, just like her sister would do with bubble gum.

The chuckle dies on Lord Artair’s lips and in his eyes. Yet the corners of his lips remain turned up with a sick sort of glee. Jeez, Santa Claus to psycho in two seconds flat.

“I, human, am Liam’s father, Lord Bearnard Artair. And you will do well to show some respect, lest I find you a fitter meal than what is being served later this day.” His frog-like eyes stare, unblinking, at Charlotte’s face and through it. She can feel him trying to page through her mind, thumbs all licked up and gross.

While Charlotte has no qualms about battling a pair of immortal meglomaniacs, Liam is another matter.

His mother stands with her back to them all, facing Liam’s tree.

It’s maintained its beauty and terror—a lightning storm above the sea, that’s what he imagined as he brought silver ore to shape and sheen. The branches leading to the troughs in the glass house are intact, though many of the glass frames are broken. The silver roots embedded in the floor boards from the tree into the intended rooms for humans remain, even if the floorboards around them were torn up or smashed. Any room with a human had been destroyed—Liam’s sure he can see through the broken walls all the way down to either end of Rose House.

“I must say, I could not bring myself to destroy this peculiar sculpture.” Her voice is as measured and cool as it ever was. “I was pleased to see you had gotten rid of several portraits—though one modern girl appeared in several mediums. Recently, by the feel of the clay.” Lady Treasa Artair turns.

Liam loses his breath.

Where his father’s body betrayed his age, his mother shows hardly a century’s passing. A few gray hairs color her temples, noticeable only because her hair is raven dark and pulled back into a bun at the back of her head. Gold jewelry older than several revolutions adorns her manicured fingers, a gold chain belt and necklace against her billowing black silk shirt and pants. Heeled boots peek out from the cuffs.
“And here you are.” Her painted red lips smile. “My little eaglet’s returned to me at last.” Her heels click clack across the room. She holds out her hands. “Come, Liam, embrace your mother.” His hands tug up, knees tug forward. But he bows his head and hides behind a curtain of curls. A tall woman, Lady Artair can hold her son and rest her sharp chin upon his shoulder. Her perfume assaults his nostrils. “So shy? So mute? But you are injured.”

Every time I watch I, Claudius, I am transfixed by Livia. She speaks much, but listens more. She grants many favors, but ties a thread to every one, and you never know when she’ll pull upon that thread, summoning you back to do a certain thing, a little thing, a thing which affects you so little…and the royal family so much.

Livia’s presence felt supernaturally powerful to me, and for a long time I could not work out why. Only when I was sharing bits of my own childhood with the kids was the mystery revealed.

And that reveal came with the Ewoks.

Yes, I’m serious.

Did you see her in all the black hair and feathers? How the heck did I forget this woman???

But that’s the thing–I didn’t. This Livia-Witch buried herself deep into my psyche, just as Jacobi’s voice encapsulated the impossible because of The Secret of NIMH. That which captured our imaginations as children never truly leaves us. Our imaginations may escape to engage with other wonders, but they will always turn around to look back, back into curiosities of those young years. And perhaps, if one is very lucky, there will be that portal in this everyday present that transports your imagination into the past. I found my portals with Jacobi and Phillips, for their performances gave shape and sound to one of the greatest, bestest things I have always adored in stories:


Do you have any favorite villainous and/or dramatic families in literature? I’d love to hear about them!

Fallen Princeborn: Chosen is now up for pre-order!

I hope you dig this continuation from my first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. If you’ve not yet read Stolen, it will be on a Kindle Countdown Sale October 23rd-26th.

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

35 thoughts on “#Countdown to #FallenPrinceborn: Chosen’s #BookLaunch: #Familydrama #Inspires Delectable #Villainy

  1. Great article, Jean! I’ve had the privilege of reading Fallen Princeborn: Chosen – I will be reviewing it shortly – and so I found this absolutely riveting. And yes… I can see Sian Phillips and Brian Blessed as Liam’s parents! I particularly loved the scenes where Liam’s family sweep in to scoop him up – so exciting and unputdownable…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really am so excited for your new book. Every year I would treat myself to the latest Terry Pratchett novel. Now he’s left to his own Disc World I look at your books in the same way. A treat. I was just reading my fellow a Yorkie Brian Blessed‘s book about trying to climb Everest. I like Brian so much. He even supports my footy team. Must watch I Claudius again. In terms of families the one that jumps into my head rather randomly is from The Cement Garden. Truly chilling. So hope your doing well. xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know Brian Blessed climbed Mount Everest! I’ll have to look that up. Thank you, I am…still adapting. It’s going to take time, working out this new schedule, but we’ll find our groove. I reeeeeeally need to get into Disc World soon. I’ve never read! Which would you recommend as a good starting point?
      And how are you and Hawklad? Has Captain Chaos eaten any school work?
      Hugs to you from Wisconsin! xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • He never quite made it. Got within a few hundred feet but he had to give up as he was so ill. But he made it back down in one piece.. So that’s a successful climb. The Colour of a Magic was the first in the series. It’s great and gives you a feel for the characters to come. Can’t believe it’s 37 years old. You look after yourself my friend. xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an interesting insight into your inspiration for those characters, Jean! Now I know on whom they were based, when I read the book again, as I surely will, it will add a whole new, wonderful dimension to it.
    I watched ‘I, Claudius’ when it first hit the TV screens (undoubtedly unsuitable for my tender age), and I’ve enjoyed it since when it’s been repeated, Such wonderful actors! So, what a delight to see the Mary Beard interview. The Cadfael series too. I see him in Arlen now; pretty close to how I imagined him.
    You write so beautifully, Jean – those short excerpts were such a pleasure to read again. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Weeee, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Chris! Hmmm, I wouldn’t say I, Claudius is meant for the yungins, no, especially when Caligula goes bonkers. Yeesh…but yes, I LOVE Cadfael so much, and I’m sure that’s purely because of Jacobi. When he has chemistry with another character, such as the novice Oswin, the stories are all the sweeter.
      But oh! I totally forgot. The visual for Arlen comes from another Jacobi project, one I…I have no clue why he did it. I’m going to assume he lost a poker game.
      (You’ll see him at 1:10. I still can’t believe he’s in this…oy…)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant Post Jean. And if I might be so bold, excellent choice of Inspirations behind your characters. Loved Cadfaef -which if memory serves correct was based in Shrewsbury where my Dad lived- and Graves I Claudius which was quite simply a tour-de-force. Your extracts from the novel shine. You capture characters’ personalities within a few spare but well-chosen words. Now, that’s what I call writing. Wishing you all the best with your upcoming release.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tip my hat in thanks to you, Paul! I grew up on the BBC (and Star Wars, obviously) and there are some characters who simply…hold themselves, within your mind. You can’t not think about their actions, if that makes sense, and you can’t not consider what they’d do in other situations…they just don’t quite leave you, and that’s okay. xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jean what you say is so true about characters that hold themselves in your mind and you can’t not consider what they would do in other situations.
        I think this is what we writers should aim for… sounds mental but bare with me…
        I would like readers to think when my characters leave the page, they are actually getting on with a life outside the book. To thoroughly mix my metaphors- sometime when you read a novel you get the impression the character is merely a stage actor waiting in the wings until it is time to come back on the stage (page) and deliver her lines.
        The other thing we should aim for is to construct the plot and personality of the character in such a way that their actions seem inevitable- i.e. the reader is never given cause to pause- because in that pause they can think.. hang on why is she doing that? if she just did this instead then … and the edifice starts to crumble.
        Once the reader stops believing in a character as a real person, then the spell breaks and you run a real risk of losing the reader.
        For me that is the difference between the book or movie that haunts the readers’ imagination and the other end of the spectrum (OH NOOOOO!!!!) … damning with faint praise.
        Oh, how was the book?
        Yeah, well, you know, it was all right.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It doesn’t sound mental at all, Paul. I was actually just gathering up some writing advice that connects with my novel from a couple of craft books I enjoyed, and I think you’ll see you share similar sentiments with those authors… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Of Monks & Marigolds & Murder: A Nature Walk with Brother Cadfael | Jean Lee's World

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