Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome author C.S. Pacat to the blog! Pacat is the author of the amazing and super fabulous Captive Prince series and has just released the final book in the trilogy, Kings Rising. Like many folks, I went crazy for this series as soon as I read it and eagerly anticipated the final book. So I am super excited to have the author here today to talk to us more about the series and the final book. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
So I have reviewed Kings Rising on the blog, but for my readers who aren’t familiar with the book or the series, can you give us a quick overview?
Captive Prince is a fantasy adventure full of adventure, intrigue and twists, and at its heart is an intense, slow-built enemies-to-lovers relationship between two princes of rival nations.
It follows the story of Damen, a warrior prince and heir to the throne, whose half brother seizes power and sends Damen to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a slave. His new owner Prince Laurent is a frigid ice prince–beautiful, manipulative and deadly.
Damen is thrown into a world of court intrigue and deception in a land where the knowledge of his true identity would mean his certain death. He has to hide who he is from Laurent, who has sworn to kill him, but who does not recognise him. The one man he needs, and the man he is drawn to, is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else.
In this story, we finally see both Damen’s true identity revealed, as well as the resolution to the larger issue of Damen and Laurent fighting for their thrones. I loved the way these characters parallel each other in so many ways, yet are so totally different. Can you talk a bit about that?
Damen and Laurent are written to be opposites of one another–and to mirror one another as well. Laurent is the cold, blond, manipulative ice prince, a Machiavel, who deals in shades of grey. Damen is the noble, straightforward warrior Prince who is unswervingly honourable and sees the world in black and white.
Because they are so different, they clash constantly. But they also complement each other, and have complementary strengths. They are two halves of a whole, and they need each other in order to be and feel complete.
Simultaneously, they are having parallel experiences–they are both captive princes, Damen physically captive, Laurent psychologically captive. They have both been betrayed by their sole surviving family member and both have to go on a journey of growth and understanding in order to overcome their adversaries and take up their rightful place on the throne.
I will admit that as much as I love Damen, I adore Laurent. I am a fan of the prickly, difficult characters that are revealed to be so much more beneath the surface. I particularly loved how we see a bit of the soft playful side of him in this book. What was it like creating Laurent as a character?
My goal with Laurent was to create a character that readers hated initially, but who they came to love–not because he had changed, but because their perception of him had changed. In that way, I wanted the reader’s journey to echo Damen’s.
In Kings Rising, I got to explore some of his more playful side, partly because his distance from his uncle and his burgeoning trust in Damen meant that he was in healthier environment, resulting in an increase in self expression.
I like characters who wear their damage as a form of strength. Creating Laurent, I wanted his strength to be his defining characteristic. His defenses are the most sophisticated part of him. But I also felt that there would be parts of him that would be quite underdeveloped, that there would be parts of him that he would not have had a chance to express since childhood, and therefore would not have had a chance to develop.
One of my favorite aspects of this series is watching Laurent and the Regent with all their moves and countermoves. I found it fascinating watching their minds work and seeing how they are always a few steps ahead of what is on the surface. Was it challenging as a writer to create all this intrigue and complex maneuvers?
I enjoy intrigue, and love to write twists–when they come I want them to feel emotionally satisfying. I learned the most from a writer called Dorothy Dunnett. She’s my favourite author, and she builds twists into her work in a way that grounds them in character, so that they feel inevitable at the same time that they feel surprising. She was a model for me in terms of how I wanted to approach the twists and complexity in the series.
I understand that Captive Prince was originally written as a serial before being released in its current format. What made you decide to rerelease the story, and how has it changed, if at all, from the earlier version?
Captive Prince began its life as an original fiction webserial that garnered viral attention, and that I eventually self published at the request of readers who were asking for a paperback version.
It was after the self pub release that the book’s popularity exploded and it started to receive reviews from mainstream review sites–and after that I was approached by a New York agent. We eventually sold to Penguin in the USA and have since sold to multiple territories worldwide.
I made the decision to sign with Penguin because I was excited to see Captive Prince become part of the mainstream–to be part of a wider conversation about books and literature. As for the changes, they were fairly minimal, a few line edits and a re-titling of the second and third books in the series.
I will tell you that everyone I know who has read this series has adored it. Did you expect it to be such a success? What has it been like seeing so much enthusiasm for the series?
I am constantly amazed and delighted by the response of readers to Captive Prince. When I started to write the series I never even thought that it would be published, let alone receive the level of success that it has. It has been a dream come true for me, and still feels surreal at times.
Kings Rising will be the last Captive Prince novel, but I will be releasing a series of three short stories set in the Captive Prince universe, which will be available later in 2016. [OMG yay!!!!]
I’ve also started work on a new series, a YA fantasy, with some magic elements. The inclusion of a diverse cast and LGBTQ+ characters is also important to me. I’m in the building stage now, setting up the tensions and intensities between my protagonists–and I’m incredibly excited about the series!
If my readers want to learn more about you or your work, what’s the best place they can find you?
You can find me on my website at www.cspacat.com! I’m also on Twitter @cspacat.
Thanks so much for coming today to talk to us about Kings Rising and the Captive Prince series!