The Prince: Author’s Note

The process of writing a novel can be a bit like visiting Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Sometimes I feel like I’m flying around the twists and turns of Big Thunder Mountain, climbing to the peak only to be hurled into a ravine then abruptly thrust sky high again. At other times it’s like I’m in the Haunted Mansion, and I’ve no idea what shocking surprise will jump out at me next. Or it’s like I’m riding the Mad Tea Party cups, and I’m just spinning and spinning, laughing wildly and holding on tight till the end.

But occasionally writing a book is a different kind of adventure from those — it’s like Cinderella’s Castle, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet, and that shop with chocolate-caramel apples, all combined into one.

Sometimes it’s magic.

That’s what writing The Prince was like.

From the moment they appeared in The Rogue, I knew Libby Shaw and Ziyaeddin Mirza were meant for each other. After all, how couldn’t I bring this bright young woman totally unafraid of being entirely herself together with a man who’s got so many secrets — and so much pain in his past — that he must hide from the world behind an easel?

But even as I knew Libby and Ziyaeddin were destined to be together, I didn’t yet know how. How on earth would I tease this reclusive royal from isolation and throw him together with a brilliant commoner who despite all obstacles is determined to become a surgeon?

Then it happened: the miracle that made their story roll out before me like a red carpet.

Traveling in Scotland to research The Duke, one day I was strolling down an Edinburgh street on my way to the library when I found myself passing a grand building with a triangular pediment and majestic columns in the classical style. A sign in austere capitals on the entrance gate read: The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Another sign declared Surgeons’ Hall Museums.

I was torn. I had come to Scotland to work on The Duke, and I only had few days left. But whenever I’m writing a book, my next book is already simmering. What was I to do? Continue on to the library, or explore this tantalizing place?

I write romance, which is to say that, like my characters, I’m all about seizing the moment. I went inside.

And the miracle happened.

Inside that museum I discovered the real historical people who could so easily bring together my surgeon heroine and my portraitist hero that it seemed as though I had somehow conjured from the shadows of history the perfect people for the job. Within a few short hours my imagination was overflowing and that red carpet was unfurling, revealing to me this love story with total clarity.

Perhaps it was happenstance that I discovered Surgeons’ Hall. Or even fate. But I like to think it was magic.



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