Troubled Royals Q&A

Troubled Royals Questions
[About Cat Hartliebe] [Troubled Royals]

troubled royals front cover

Why did you decide to make this anthology?

Short stories really cannot be printed individually. The ebooks for each one came out as the stories found their way to completion. When I realized three of my four shorts were fairy tales, I decided on a group of fairy tales. However, the three alone were not enough. I needed one more.

So you picked Annabella and Ji. That was published shortly before Troubled Royals.

I didn’t pick Annabella and Ji. The story didn’t exist before my plans to make Troubled Royals. I have several other fairy tale stories that could fit the category of this book. But all of them did not fit the length. I realized many of my fairy tales are novellas or novels. It surprised me that they fell past 30k words. I had no idea. So I made Annabella and Ji a few months ago to join the three already made. Because of the slow work with editing, Annabella and Ji as well as Troubled Royals came out a week later than I wanted.

What made you decide on the plot for Annabella and Ji?

My friend asked me to make a trans character. Another wanted me to write about a dragon. So my trans character ended up a dragon. Annabella decided she was black early on, and I had to figure out how that happened. Somehow, the story ended up around an Annual Prettiest Woman contest. The first draft focused pretty heavily on the contest. As much as I didn’t mind so much the focus, it left my characters flat. So I rewrote it similar to the story in print. I wonder how I’ll feel rereading it in a year.

What about the other three stories? What made you write Crown Princess?

Crown Princess Antimony was a story I started in Chemistry class in high school. I had finished a test that should take an entire class period. It was high school, so leaving when you finished the test wasn’t a thing. I finished with a lot of time to spare, so I started a story about a princess on the back of the test page. The test was perfect score. On the back near the story start, my chemistry teacher questioned what was to become of the story. I wish I could find her now. She asked for the finished draft back in high school. That was more than a decade ago. Doubt she even reminds it. I finished the story more recently. A few years ago I gave it an ending. I have edited it a few times between finishing it and when it was published. For a free short, it’s nice.

Cursed Items has a lot of back story, right?

If you’ve been around my blog for long, you’ll learn Cursed Items was my first short story published. It was not a series of shorts, though. It was literally the first chapter of this collection. I had a friend shortly after I published ask for more of the story. I made the other three chapters at her request. But like many I just set it aside instead of push to get it out there. Overall, I’m happy with what Crystal has to deal with. I threw her life into chaos. I wouldn’t want to deal with such chaos.

The final story is Missing Royals. How do you feel about that book?

Autumn was one of those random sit down and start writing moments. I had no idea where she’d go and what she’d do. But I did know she was this strong female who wouldn’t just follow normal routine and procedure. Then she gets stuck following it. Because protecting her siblings was more important than her free will. If that doesn’t make the perfect crown princess, I can’t tell you what does.

So all four are princesses and strong females. Is there anything else that makes them special?

I didn’t think about it when I started work on Troubled Royals, but none of the princesses are the typical fair flaxen blonde with blue eyes. None of them are wispy and whimsical in looks or nature. They don’t match with the old Disney princess vibe. Crystal is a darker shade in skin color and holds her head high when shit is thrown at her. Not what I’d expect from original Disney. Autumn does not fit the European looks, and her sister who does is considered exotic. She matches to what would be the Asian looks, although I didn’t think that when I made her. She and her entire world were just Asian looking. Antimony in Crown Princess has no description. The assumption would be she’s white, but I would rather just think her entire population is similar in looks so she doesn’t look different enough for notice. If you want them all one type, I can’t stop you. To me, she was just human. Annabella is black. So is Ji. So I’ve picked up three different unexpected looks. Annabella also has no interest in feminine items. She’s all about getting dirty, learning, reading, and figuring things out. She’d be a princess I’d look up to. They all would. That strong backbone is hard to find. I wish I had one.

Final words on the collection?

I love my princesses in Troubled Royals. I hope I get the chance to publish more fairy tales with more unexpected twists. I have several already in the works. The ebooks for these four are separate. The paperback is available everywhere.

Thanks for reading! Ask more questions if you have them.


[Troubled Royals] [About Cat Hartliebe]

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