Rebecca Piercey is a Finch author, and her first book was published in March. Since we Finches have to flock together, I have invited Rebecca to be my first guest in what might become a regular spot. Rebecca is a student, flying between the US and Japan at the moment, and I’m surprised she finds the time to give interviews never mind write novels.
Jane: I’m not going to ask you why you decided you wanted to be a writer, because I’m not sure it’s a question of a decision—you either are a writer or you’re not. But I will ask you about the theme of your book which sounds pretty macabre from the title. Is it about vampires?
Rebecca: Actually, it isn’t about vampires! A lot of people think that though, so I’m happy to clear it up. My protagonist, Laura, is a highly skilled assassin and also a princess. That’s where the “Blood Princess” title comes from. I chose to write about Laura as an assassin because I’ve always loved fantasy books, and I wanted to have a main character who wasn’t necessarily a great person. Laura has done a lot of bad things, and I wanted the story to focus on the weight of her decisions.
Jane: Your book, Blood Princess, is classed as young adult. Did you set out to write for a specific age group, or did you just write what you enjoy reading? I ask because you are still a college student and not long out of that age category yourself!
Rececca: I definitely just wrote what I love to read! I think my love for YA stems from the fact that I am still so young. Another factor is that YA was a big comfort to me when I was in high school. I kind of wanted to recreate that escape for others with Blood Princess.
Jane: What do you see as the major differences between a book for young adults and one for ‘old’ adults?
Rebecca: The main factor is the age, of course. Most YA protagonists are between 15-18. I don’t read a ton of adult fiction, so I’m not really sure about the other elements.
Jane: Will your next book have a similar theme, or will you experiment with something different?
Rebecca: My next book will be a sequel to Blood Princess, so it will be a continuation of the story introduced in the first book. At the end of Blood Princess, Laura makes a very difficult decision, and book two focuses on the consequences of that decision.
Jane: I think it’s at this point that you ought to tell us what Blood Princess is about.
Rebecca: Blood Princess focuses on Laura White, the princess of Karkonia who also happens to be a highly trained assassin. She’s always killed for her father without question, and when he orders her to murder her older sister, she feels no differently. Laura hates Alicia for betraying their family and joining a rebellion set on usurping their father, the Emperor. Before Laura gets the chance to end her sister’s life, she is dragged into the mess of the rebellion by her bodyguard, Shane Kagae. As Laura and Shane uncover secrets that her father has been keeping for years, they realize that Alicia and the rebels may have been right about the Emperor all along. A very conflicted Laura must decide what is right for her country: remaining loyal to her father, or leaving everything she loves behind to help the rebellion usurp him.
Jane: Is there a story behind this book? Something in particular that inspired it?
Rebecca: I’ve actually been carrying this story around in my head since I was in the seventh grade. It’s definitely evolved since then- at that time, Laura was twelve and now she’s seventeen- and the plot is almost unrecognisable, but that’s where Blood Princess came from. The seventh grade version of the story was probably inspired by a lot of different animes, because I was (and still am) a big nerd.
Jane: Blood Princess is the first volume of a trilogy. Are the sequels written? If not, are they planned out, or are you one of those writers who let the story go its own sweet way and surprise you?
Rebecca: The sequel’s aren’t written, but they’re definitely outlined thoroughly. It’s kind of funny, because with everything else I do I’m a very go with the flow kind of person. I’ve found that I struggle to finish things if I don’t have an outline written, so now I write them for all of my stories just to encourage myself to get things done in a more timely fashion.
Jane: Do you have a favourite character?
Rebecca: As much as I love Laura, I’m gonna have to go with her bodyguard and my second narrator, Shane. Shane is a very honest person. Laura is very closed off to others sometimes and is never honest about her emotions and fears because she views them as a weakness. Shane doesn’t care about all that. If he loves you, you’ll know. If he’s afraid, you’ll know. He isn’t ashamed of his feelings. His willingness to be vulnerable with others is what makes him my favourite character.
Jane: Which do you prefer writing, good guys or bad guys? Can you give us some examples?
Rebecca: Good guys with a lot of flaws. Laura’s not a typical good guy. She does all kinds of terrible things and makes a lot of mistakes. She has a lot of flaws and a lot of regrets. But she does everything she does for her country, trying to protect her people. You could consider her both a bad guy and a good guy.
Jane: We’re all influenced by what we have read, knowingly or unconsciously. Is there a writer or a book that you would say has contributed to your love of writing and helped shape the way you write?
Rebecca: Katie McGarry, hands down. My books are not very similar to hers, as she writes contemporary YA, but she’s just a wonderful person. I’ve sent her fan e-mails more than once, and every time she has responded with a kind and thorough answer that truly answered whatever question I asked. She really does care about her readers, and I admire that about her. Her books are always awesome, too. They are always sure to show that everyone has value and that it’s important to take the time to get to know those around you.
Thanks, Rebecca for letting us into the way you and your books work. I wish you all the best in your writing career. Below are the links if you’d like to catch up with Rebecca, and of course the purchase links if you like the sound of Blood Princess.