One Legend Determines the Fate of Two Lives
In the faraway village of Tulan, sixteen-year-old Elara has spent her entire life as a servant, trying to track down her real name. The name she was given before being orphaned. Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Galandria, Princess Wilhamina does not know why her father, the king, makes her wear a mask. Or why she is forbidden to ever show her face.
When a new peace treaty between Galandria and Kyrenica is threatened, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face. Told in alternating perspectives, this intricate fairytale pulls both girls toward secrets that have been locked away behind castle doors, while the fate of two opposing kingdoms rests squarely on their untrained shoulders.
Jenny stopped by Swoony Boys Podcast to answer a few questions for us!
Thank you so much for having me, just seeing your blog header makes me swoon!
The Princess in the Opal Mask is a reimagination of The Man in the Iron Mask (with a few elements of Cinderella) as told from the POV of two teen girls. Wilha, the title character, has just been betrothed to the son of her father’s greatest enemy. Worshipped by some yet reviled by others, Wilha is a famous icon, but a lonely princess, and wonders why her father forces her to wear a jeweled mask over her face. Meanwhile, Elara, an orphan, has learned to wield a dagger and lie with ease. Most of all, she’s learned to shut her ears and her heart to the abuse her adopted family hurls at her. When an assassination attempt threatens an important peace treaty, the girls are offered the chance to switch identities—with surprising consequences for them both. As far as writing it, some days it was a blast. Other days it was the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on—those were usually the days when I broke out my emergency supplies of chocolate.
My favorite quote about fairy-tales comes from G.K. Chesterton which says, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” I left childhood behind a long time ago, but especially on those dark nights when it seems like the world is falling apart, I still need to hear that the dragons in my own life can be slain, that love conquers all, that good will (eventually!) triumph over evil. I suspect I’m not the only one :0)
Hmm…those three words would probably change depending upon the day. Today’s would be: Overwhelmed, Underprepared, and seriously Overcaffeinated.
For my characters, it’s a real toss-up between Patric (the soldier training Wilha to use a sword) and Stefan (the prince she’s been betrothed to). I’m a sucker for a knight in shining armor, or a prince who knows how to throw some attitude. (But not to worry, he’ll meet his match!) Outside of my own writing, I’m Team Peeta all the way. I heart the Hunger Games series like you wouldn’t believe, but that was my only complaint about Mockingjay: I wanted more Peeta!! Oodles and oodles of more Peeta!! Sidenote: Does anyone else ever wish that Suzanne Collins would pull a Midnight Sun and rewrite The Hunger Games from Peeta’s perspective? Seriously, who would not read that book?
I don’t use character worksheets, those are too soul-sucking for me. And I’m disorganized anyway, so I would probably just lose them. Instead, at the beginning of a project I spend time interviewing my characters and writing journal entries from their perspective. It helps me get a sense of their voice. I wouldn’t say I know every single detail of my character’s lives, but I definitely know things that will never make it into the book. For instance, I know that the servant who first delivered Elara into the care of the Ogdens (her abusive foster family) was murdered shortly thereafter. That scene, and that character, never appear in the book. But it happened, nevertheless.
They can look forward to some romance, adventure mystery, and a fun masquerade ball—some of my favorite things in life! But on a deeper level, they can look forward to seeing each girl work through deciding that who she’s been in the past does not have to define who she becomes in the future.
Why yes, yes there is, thank you for bring it up. That question is, “Would you like me to buy you and your swoony husband an all-expense-paid trip to Paris?”
My answer, of course, will be, “Yes! When does our flight leave?”
Thanks for having me, and if anyone would ever like to ask me that question, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. No, seriously!
***About Jenny Lundquist***
Jenny Lundquist was born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Intercultural Studies with a minor in TESOL at Biola University. Lundquist has published two middle-grade books, Seeing Cinderella and Plastic Polly. She lives in Rancho Cordova, California with her husband and two sons.
Good luck, and don’t forget to check out all the other stops on the tour!