I loved fairytales as a child, and I still love them as an adult. I’ve taken two of my favourites so far and turned them into slightly more adult tales. I had a great time when I was able to combine my love of Italy with a fairytale that originates in that country. It’s a great little story called Favola, which is the Italian for fairytale–and the story itself is based on the original fairytale called Bella Venezia.
Quite some time ago, I did an interview with Prince Francesco from Favola, and decided to share it with you, since it was so much fun and the Prince is a pretty cool guy!
Interview with Francesco
Tell us about yourself, please.
I am the Crown Prince of La Città Natale di Alba, The Birthplace of Dawn. My parents have decided that it is time for me to marry and produce heirs, and continue my grooming to rule our kingdom. The problem being, the endless parade of potential brides has left me feeling suffocated and less than interested in my destined role as ruler.
Authors call what you want but cannot have "the conflict" - what is yours?
When I first spotted my beloved, she was in a small village, and I was directed to the La Locanda di Pericoli Nascosti, (The Inn of Hidden Dangers), an Inn owned by her mother, the stunning Bella Venezia. I didn’t realize that Bella was a jealous woman who hated any other as beautiful as she is. She kept her own daughter imprisoned in a tower, out of sight, and out of reach of any man who desired her. And I desired her more than any other woman I have ever known or seen. I was determined to make her my queen, but first had to find a way to reach her.
What inner doubt causes you the most difficulty?
Fear that I will not be strong enough to do what is asked of me, to rule my people as they deserve. To keep the love of my fair Caparicia.
In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most and why.
Bella told me her daughter was dead, that she arranged this still fills me with rage. No amount of threatening or anger could undo what she had wrought, until the arrival of my brother, and a witch who was willing to help.... though the price she would ultimately ask was a high one.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Capricia, the fair and innocent girl who stole my heart, and my ability to think about any other. She is kind, gentle, beautiful, and strong, all a man could desire in a queen for his people.
What is your family like?
My brother, Matteo, is my best friend. He would have made a fine king, but he was not interested in the burdens of ruling. Ironically, the burden he did choose to carry is one much heavier than ruling our kingdom has ever been. I miss him, and curse his Fate each dawn.
Why are you happy (or not happy) with the way your story ended?
I am happy with my story because my queen is at my side, and she is the joy in my life. What I am not happy with is the fate of my brother, but I have not given up hope that one day his burden will be lifted and he will find his way back to us.
Questions for the Writer
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
The biggest challenges with this book were to do the original fairytale justice, keep the sequence, but also to add some touches of my own to the existing storyline. To do that meant writing succinctly, and not allowing the story to expand into wordiness that would run it off on tangents not relevant to the main story. I hope it worked!
Why did you choose this character for the interview today?
I did this interview on release day for the book, but apart from that, I love Francesco and his brother Matteo, they are regal and formidable, and passionate.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
My publisher has suggested a sequel, and I am toying with the idea of telling Matteo’s story, since his nobility is beyond question and there is a very intriguing story there waiting to be told.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
That I am exceedingly shy, and probably that this is one of the very few books I have published new in over two years as I’ve worked at rediscovering my passion for writing and telling stories.
Why should readers who haven't picked up one of your books before give this one a try?
If you like traditional fairytales with a hint of sexy sensuality, this is a story that has those elements and is basically a short, fun read that I hope makes everyone smile at the end of it.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers?
Thank you – always – for your continued support and enthusiasm for the worlds I love to explore and create. I hope they bring you a small amount of joy because that is where the real success of our work lives.
About the Book
Book heat level (based on movie ratings G, PG, PG13, R): PG13
In the town of Favola, a prince and a lovely girl imprisoned by her mother's jealousy find passion and love... but will it be enough to outsmart the machinations and fury that their devotion inspires in the beautiful Bella Venezia? An Italian fairytale is re-told for an adult audience....
“Her name is Capricia,” someone informed him, and he turned to see an old man working next to him, arranging steaming pies and fresh fruit into appealing displays. He was smiling with affection and appreciation. Francesco turned away just in time to see the girl vanish into the throng of people.
“Where can I find her?” He was craning his neck, trying to catch sight of her again. Francesco grabbed the man’s arm and shook him. “Where?”
The old man laughed. “La Locanda di Pericoli Nascosti,” he replied with a knowing wink at the baker, who was watching the exchange. “She is the daughter of the woman who owns the place.”
“And where might I find this Inn of Hidden Dangers, old one?” Francesco’s question was curt, he was eager now to seek out the girl and see if she could be charmed into being his companion for the night. The old man’s gaze was shrewd, the heat of embarrassment warmed Francesco’s face, the other man had all but read his intentions.
“Be careful of her mother, boy,” was all the old man said. “End of the road there,” he added, crooked finger aimed in the general direction where the girl had disappeared. “It’s easily found.”
Puzzling over the old man’s vague warning, Francesco turned in the direction he’d been shown and continued. It took only minutes to discover the busy inn. He tied his horse to a rail, and went inside.
The common room was filled with travelers and local people. As he approached the counter, he saw the lovely woman who ran the place and stopped to listen as she spoke with a newly arrived patron.
“Tell me, signore,” she all but purred, leaning forward so the stranger could see the lush swells of her breasts, “have you seen a more beautiful woman than me?”
The man shook his head and swore he had never set eyes on anyone more beautiful than her, Bella Venezia. Satisfied, she told him he could have his room that night for half the usual price.
Francesco stepped forward, and once again she turned on her charm.
“Are you here for a room, signore, or merely to enjoy my company?”
Francesco smiled. She was a fine-looking woman, and it would have been very easy to be swept away by her ample charms, but another face haunted his heart now, and stirred his desires as no other woman had. Francesco had escaped his family for a time, tired of the endless parade of potential brides being brought before him. None had appealed to him, yet this stranger had captured his heart, and his imagination. He’d return home with the bride of his choosing, once he found her again.
“Your charm and beauty is undeniable, signora,” he replied smoothly. “But my heart has been stolen by one so fair I cannot live without her. Your own daughter, Capricia.”
When Bella’s eyes narrowed and she glared at him, Francesco knew he had made a grave error in allowing his heart to speak before he could think. He had been foolish enough to believe a mother would be pleased to have her daughter admired.
“Then you may pay twice the price for the privilege of admiring her, signore,” she informed him.
“Then I have still been granted a bargain, signora,” he assured her, resisting laughter at the anger seething in the woman’s eyes. Her striking face set into hard lines of resentment, and her eyes were glacial. He paid her and she told him what room was his for the night.
Francesco went to settle in and wait for nightfall. He did not plan on spending his time alone, not when the girl of his heart’s dreams was only a short distance away.
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