Today we are delighted to bring you part 1 of our exclusive Q&A with The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle author Christopher Healy. Tune in for parts 2 and 3 throughout the rest of this week!
The Princes are back! And despite their heroics in the first book, it seems they are still not getting the fame and glory they feel they’ve earned. Do you think the Princes will ever have their praises sung?
What it means to be a hero and what it means to be famous (and whether those two things need necessarily be intertwined) are some of the essential questions at the heart of the Hero’s Guide series. I couldn’t possibly go on forever denying these guys their moment in the spotlight. So I think that, yes, before this trilogy is over, you can expect to see the League of Princes earn a bit of fame. However, considering the satirical nature of these books, you can also probably expect this bit of fame to come with a catch. It may not be exactly the kind of fame the princes expect… or even want.
I ruled out the Beast from the get-go, because he has never really been presented as a “Prince Charming.” First off, the title of his story gives him equal billing with the princess—he’s got the fame part covered. Plus, he’s one of the few fairy tale princes to have a fleshed-out, well-defined personality—one that is inherent to his story. Ask someone to describe the Beast and they may say things like, “stubborn, quick-tempered, desperate”—all based on the character’s actions in the story. But ask them to describe the prince from one of those other four tales and they’ll toss out generic “Prince Charming” traits like, “handsome, brave, dashing”—none of which are necessarily backed up by those fairy tales.
The guy from the Little Mermaid, on the other hand, I actually considered using for a while. But frankly, he is almost too irredeemably dumb to make over. He marries the wrong girl! He’s got so much sea foam between his ears that he is completely unable to recognize the person who saved his life, simply because he can’t hear her voice. I suppose I could have made him blind. Or amnesiac, maybe. Either way, I decided he wasn’t League material. But, you never know… as far as I’m concerned, he does exist out there somewhere in the Hero’s Guide world. And maybe, at some point in the future, his ridiculous life will intersect with that of the Princes Charming.
The HERO’S GUIDE is framed as if Duncan is writing the story, sharing his tips for how to be a hero. How might the books have been different if, say, Gustav had written them? Or Briar Rose?
If Gustav had written them, they’d have a lot more misspellings and grammatical errors. The story would probably skip from one fight scene to the next, with little to no dialogue in between. If Briar were telling the tales, she’d be the star. I don’t think she’d be a reliable narrator.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don’t you? They’re the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses – Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose – to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms.
But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening – even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.
Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination – it’s all in a day’s work for the League of Princes.