My favorite novel of 2018 so far would have to be Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. Filled with intrigue, romance and a dark edge, the book tells the story of Jude, who survived a tragedy in her early life, and was whisked away with her sisters to the world of the Faerie, only to find herself intrigued by Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
The novel, filled with edgy imagery and clever storytelling has fans clamoring for more, but we have to wait for the release of the sequel, The Wicked King, until 2019.
I had the chance to catch up with Holly, and she spoke to me about the inspiration behind her novel, plus, who was her favorite character to write in the book.
Aurora: What was your inspiration behind The Cruel Prince?
Holly: I wanted to tell a reverse changeling story — specifically, I was interested in telling the story of a human girl raised in Faerie by the murderer of her parents. Someone who was so used to being on edge that she was comfortable in tense situations and a lot less comfortable in healthier ones. Jude wants to find a place in the High Court of Elfhame. And the youngest and worst of the princes, Prince Cardan, is standing in her way.
Aurora: When it comes to your characters in this novel, which one was your favorite one to write?
Holly: Writing Jude is the most fun, which is why she gets to be the protagonist. It’s fun to write Prince Cardan because he’s awful.
Aurora: Without any spoilers, please tell us a favorite scene from the novel.
Holly: It’s really hard not to give spoilers, but there’s a scene I had in mind from the beginning of the book, which — when it happens — changes everything.
Aurora: Who are your favorite fantasy authors?
Holly: As a young writer, some of my writing inspirations were Tanith Lee, Ellen Kushner, Neil Gaiman, Terri Windling, and Charles de Lint. Today, there are lots and lots and lots of writers I love — recently, I’ve been loving Laini Taylor’s Strange, The Dreamer, Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles, Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood, and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.
Aurora: Any advice for aspiring writers?
Holly: Don’t write the book you think you’re supposed to write, write the book that you would love as a reader. Write for your reader self. Try to find the stuff that gives that reader self pleasure.