When I read the blurb for this book, I immediately liked it, not because it's a story about royalty, but because it's about a girl, the sister of the "Prince's" fiance instead of the girl who ended up with the "Prince". Have you ever wondered what it would feel like? Then you should be reading "A Prince in Disguise".
In this month's guest post, I asked Stephanie to talk about how this book came to be, what inspired her to write about
the regular sister instead of the one betrothed to the "Prince".
Prince in Disguise isn’t just the title of my newest book (or a line from Beauty and the Beast) –
it’s also the title of a reality TV show in the book. In “Prince in Disguise,” the show, “princes” –
usually lords – come to America to pretend not to be royal in order to find love. At the beginning
of the book, Dusty, the older sister of my main character, Dylan, has gotten engaged to a Scottish
lord, and their entire family heads over to Scotland to film a televised version of the wedding. As
far-fetched as this might sound, I actually got the idea for “Prince in Disguise” from a very real
TV show that used to be on the air – “Secret Princes.” On “Secret Princes,” just like in “Prince in
Disguise”, eligible royals from all over the world came to America to hide their identities in
order to find love. To the best of my knowledge, none of those couples ended up living happily
ever after, but I couldn’t help but wonder – what if they had? Oftentimes on “Secret Princes”
when the American girlfriend met her new boyfriend’s royal family she ended up humiliated,
unfamiliar with the customs and the etiquette, mocked by her new boyfriend’s friends and family.
In every episode I saw, the couple broke up as soon as she met the family. I started to wonder
what kind of woman would be strong enough to stand up to that, and I started to wonder what
her family would think – how would the Americans feel about welcoming a royal son-in-law into
When I started thinking about characters for the book, I was really into the idea of American
royalty – like what does that even mean? The only King I could think of in American history was
Elvis Presley, and that’s actually one of the reasons Dylan and her family come from Tupelo,
Mississippi. It’s kind of an inside joke with myself that Dylan and the King were born in the
same city. I guess you could argue that we treat certain celebrity families like royalty, or that
anyone who’s lived in the White House might be equivalent to a royal family, but it’s not really
the same. None of those people wear tiaras. In fact, the only people I could think of who
regularly wear tiaras were pageant queens.
I’ve always been fascinated by beauty pageants. I’ve never done one (and certainly never will),
but the whole idea of doing a talent and wearing a sparkly dress and winning a big shiny crown
is kind of appealing, I’m not going to lie. I really liked the idea of a beauty pageant winner as a
sort of American princess – a beautiful All-American girl with a big smile, a practiced wave, and,
of course, that tiara. Someone who would look right at home next to a prince.
And that’s why I chose to write about Dylan, not Dusty. In Prince in Disguise, Dylan’s older
sister Dusty is a former Miss Mississippi who looks pageant-princess-perfect at all times. Dusty
looks like a princess, which is exactly why I wanted to write about Dylan instead. Dylan thinks
that she is nothing like a princess, and I was drawn to that contrast. What happens when you fall
in love with a prince, but you couldn’t possibly see yourself as a princess? That’s the story that I
was drawn to, and I had so much fun writing both Dusty and Dylan – I hope you have as much
fun reading about them as I did writing about them!