Here's a bit about Eilis, the author of The False Princess:
I’m a writer of fantasy and the Managing Editor of the literary magazine Nimrod International Journal. I started writing at the age of three (though the story was only four sentences long). My short fantasy has been published in various print and online journals, and you can find links to some of my stories here. I was born, raised in, and currently live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1. Hi Eilis, it's great to have you here! To get started, tell us a bit about your debut novel, The False Princess.
The False Princess is a reversal of the classic story of a girl who grows up in obscurity, only to later find out that she's a princess in hiding. In my story, Sinda grows up thinking that she is named Nalia, and that she's the princess of Thorvaldor. After she turns 16, though, she's told that she's actually just a stand-in, a commoner chosen to take the place of the true princess for her protection. Sinda's kicked out of the palace, unsure of who she really is and what to do with herself now that she's no longer the princess.
2. I've seen stories of normal girls who didn't know that they were princesses, but never of princesses who didn't know they were normal girls. How did you come up with the idea?I’ve always been drawn to stories about girls who thought they were commoners only to find out that they were royalty hidden away. And I read a lot, so I’ve had a long time to have those sorts of stories seep into me. One day, I was just hit with the question of what a story would be like if the opposite were true, what a tale about a princess-turned-commoner would look like. The reversal of the classic princess story seemed like it would involve so many problems and strangenesses for the girl in question that I new I had to write it.
3. You write short stories as well as novels, how does the writing process differ?With a novel, I’ll often have a seed of an idea that floats around inside me for a long time. With short stories, I often have a much quicker reaction time. I’ll get an idea and start writing immediately. Also, I sometimes have to play around with the voice of a novel when I first start writing it (The False Princess started out in third person before I realized that just wasn’t going to work), but I generally know the right voice in a short story right away.
4. Are there any books or authors that have influenced you as a writer?
Do you have all day? Because the answer is a huge yes. I should start with Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet. I read it for the first time when I was twelve, and those were the books that made me realize I wanted to write YA fantasy. I admire Robin McKinley’s way of integrating information about a fantasy world into a story without halting everything to tell you How Magic Works or The History of This Neighboring Country. I also love the thought that goes into the magic system in Diane Duane's Young Wizards series—it's very consistent and makes a lot of sense.
5. Have you read any good YA books lately that you'd like to recommend?Again, a huge yes! I just recently read Erin Bow’s Plain Kate and loved it. It’s a quieter novel, not a lot of flash and bang, which is part of the reason I liked it. Bow creates a great world and really interesting magic system, along with a main character you can’t help but root for. Also, just finished Justine Larbalestier's Liar today. I can't say too much about it, because it's full of twists and turns, but it was awesome and very different.
Thank you for answering my questions Eilis!