Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Fishbowl of Royalty

Great stories start with great characters.  Whether those characters are good or bad, street smart or innocent, ordinary or superhuman, they all make for fascinating reading when we experience the world through their eyes.  As a writer, I constantly ask myself what elements in their backgrounds or psyches make them react as they do in any given situation, and what forces in their lives drive their decisions.  I love getting to play with these aspects of character to drive the plots of my books.

To that end, I've always been fascinated, from a writing standpoint, with royalty.  Their lives are unique; they're celebrities from the day they're born.  Most celebrities have the option of walking away from the spotlight.  At the very least, they can choose where to live and what profession they wish to pursue.  A professional athlete could quit playing ball and teach school.  The children of mega-celebrity Hollywood stars can move far away from their parents when they reach adulthood.

On the other hand, royalty are royalty for life.  They have extremely limited choices in where they'll live, where they'll attend school, who they'll see socially, or what professional they'll pursue.  Their world view is dramatically affected by their birthright, as is the way other people view them.  I've found that this unique background makes for intriguing storytelling; no doubt you've guessed this about me, as I've written seven books about royal families (one four-book series of romance novels about the siblings in the diTalora royal family, and a young adult trilogy told from the point of view of Valerie Winslow, an American teen who falls in love with a European prince.)  I love to sit down at my computer, envision what life must be like for a modern-day royal, and then ask myself, "What if?"

Needless to say, I've been watching London with interest lately.  On April 29, I'll be live-tweeting the royal wedding.  (That would be the London wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, if you've been away from TV, radio, and the internet for the last year.)  Please join me.  I'd love to hear your comments on the usual aspects of a wedding-- the gown, the flowers, and the guests--as well as your thoughts on the nitty-gritty of personalities.  What might Kate feel as she walks through Westminster Abbey?  What will she be saying to those sitting with her on the parade route?  What's going through her parents' heads as they watch their daughter say her vows to Prince William?  What does Prince Charles think of his son's marriage?  To me, this is the stuff of great stories.

Between now and then, check out the souvenirs filling store shelves in advance of the event.  How surreal would it be to have such items commemorating your wedding?  Post your picks and misses here, on Twitter, or on my Facebook page.  Here are my picks:

Coolest Souvenirs:

-- Knit Your Own Royal Wedding : A hilarious do-it-yourself knitted royal balcony lineup (the article has a ton of photos that are to die for, with the knit dolls in various settings...even the corgis make an appearance!)

-- Mills & Boon Royal Wedding Collection Mug & Books : A nifty mug and a collection of royalty-themed romance novels (my favorite kind!)

Souvenir Most Unlike The Actual Couple:

-- Official Wedding Commemorative Coin : The Royal Mint says the design was approved by the couple, which makes me wonder what their alternatives must have been.  He looks drugged and she looks like she's asking him to check her teeth for lettuce.

Most Appalling Souvenir:

 -- The Crown Jewels :  Royal wedding condoms. (Did you cringe?  I did.  Could you imagine getting ready for your wedding, walking into a store to grab a last-minute item, and seeing your face on a box of these?)

Most Hilarious Souvenir:

-- Throne Up Bags : For those who are utterly sick of hearing about the royal wedding.

What are your picks?  What would your reaction be if it were you getting married under these circumstances?  Weigh in!

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