Today I am so pleased to welcome Paul Rudnick to Joyfully Jay. Paul has come to talk to us about his latest release, Playing the Palace, by answering some interview questions from me. I reviewed this one and really enjoyed it. Please join me in giving Paul a big welcome!
To start us off, can you tell our readers a little bit about Playing The Palace and what inspired the story?
I wanted to write an all-out romantic comedy, and I loved the idea of Prince Edgar, the happily and openly gay Crown Prince of England, falling for the most unlikely guy, namely Carter Ogden, a lonely New York City event planner. At first glance, their relationship seems impossible, and I welcomed that challenge: how could two such very different people figure out a happy ending?
I was inspired by so many royal romances, but I’ve been especially intrigued by Meghan and Harry, who’ve been navigating a balance between love, social responsibility and loyalty to the Crown.
The tale of a commoner being swept away by the handsome prince is the stuff of many fairy tales. In this case, we have that story but with a gay twist. What made you want to take on the trope of royal romance but with two male leads?
I’m gay, and I’ve always felt that true equality means an equal chance for even the most extravagant romance. There have been many, completely valid, stories of LGBTQ people coming out and often experiencing terrible prejudice, but I was after something more joyous.
Your two heroes deal with the stress of being in the media spotlight, which is certainly an issue for the real-life royals. How much did the real world lives and troubles of the royal family play into the inspiration for this story, if at all?
Celebrity couples have always had to cope with love in the spotlight, and the internet has only intensified this sort of scrutiny. Every move a royal makes is instantly dissected and often criticized online. The pressure is constant and overwhelming. I wanted Prince Edgar and Carter to make time for themselves, amid all the noise. In Playing The Palace, they give an interview live and streaming globally, much like the session Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey.
How has your background as a screenwriter and playwright influenced your novel writing, particularly with this book, your first romance?
I’ve often focused on couples and their difficulties and triumphs while falling in love. In my play Jeffrey, two men fall in love at the height of the AIDS crisis. While writing Addams Family Values, I cherished the passion between Gomez and Morticia. Romance can blossom anywhere, against the most terrifying or comic obstacles, so Playing The Palace is a natural next step in my work.
You’ve explored the gay male experience through your work on stage, in film, and in essays. How is Playing The Palace an extension of that or perhaps different from your previous works?
This is the first time I’ve written a giddy, champagne-and-moonlight romance. After what the world’s been through recently, I wanted an escape: something truly celebratory. And including LGBTQ characters is a welcome addition to the world’s history of delicious romantic escapades.
Where can readers find you online to learn more about you and your work?
The easiest way to have a look is to visit my website at paulrudnick.com, which gives an overview of all my work.
Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk to us!
Thanks so much for having me!
THEIR LOVE STORY CAPTIVATED THE WORLD…THE CROWN PRINCE AND THAT GUY FROM NEW YORK
When a lonely American event planner starts dating the gay Prince of Wales, a royal uproar ensues: is it true love or the ultimate meme? Find out in this hilarious romantic comedy.
After having his heart trampled on by his cheating ex, Carter Ogden is afraid love just isn’t in the cards for him. He still holds out hope in a tiny corner of his heart, but even in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d meet the Crown Prince of England, much less do a lot more with him. Yes, growing up he’d fantasized about the handsome, openly gay Prince Edgar, but who hadn’t? When they meet by chance at an event Carter’s boss is organizing, Carter’s sure he imagined all that sizzling chemistry. Or was it mutual?
This unlikely but meant-to-be romance sets off media fireworks on both sides of the Atlantic. With everyone having an opinion on their relationship and the intense pressure of being constantly in the spotlight, Carter finds ferocious obstacles to his Happily Ever After, including the tenacious disapproval of the Queen of England. Carter and Prince Edgar fight for a happy ending to equal their glorious international beginning. It’s a match made on Valentine’s Day and in tabloid heaven.
Paul Rudnick is a novelist, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter, whom The New York Times has called “one of our preeminent humorists.” Rudnick is writing the book for a Broadway musical adaptation of Devil Wears Prada in collaboration with Elton John. He wrote the script for the recent HBO special Coastal Elites, a socially-distanced film about the COVID-19 pandemic, starring Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae, and Sarah Paulson. Rudnick is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and his articles and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Vogue, and Vanity Fair.
Rudnick’s plays have been produced both on and off Broadway and around the world, and include I Hate Hamlet, Jeffrey, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, and The New Century. He wrote the screenplays for many iconic movies including In & Out and The Addams Family Values and his novels include Social Disease and I’ll Take It, both from Knopf. Learn more at paulrudnick.com and twitter.com/PaulRudnickNY.