Frankly, it’s not a surprise that I’ve written a book about royalty. It’s actually more surprising that it’s taken me this long in my authorhood to do so.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to tell me stories. Later I realized that many of those stories were actually books she’d read. One of those was about the little princesses of England, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose. I was astonished to realize that those ‘little princesses’ were actually adults, as the stories from Nana had taken place over thirty years before my birth.
But I was intrigued, and I began reading. I devoured Robert Lacey’s biography Majesty about the Queen, and then I branched off into the books in his bibliography. I loved all the detail about the Royal Family. I was well and truly hooked.
I was thirteen years old and babysitting one evening when I was flipping through a Newsweek magazine. There was a picture of a young woman who had been photographed with the light shining through her skirt and an accompanying brief article about the Prince of Wales’ current love interest, the daughter of an earl. Lady Diana Spencer was only nineteen, and although she was pursued by the British media, the Americans weren’t paying much attention right away. In the age before the internet and social media, that meant I didn’t see a lot of coverage of their courtship.
The day their engagement was announced, though, everything changed. Suddenly, the news was filled with pictures of the two, and from the date of the announcement through the actual wedding, the frenzy built.
I was the perfect impressionable age to fall in love with what appeared to be a classic romance. I clipped newspaper and magazine articles, I saved my money and bought the books and the paper dolls (still have them!), and I watched every show that might have a little blip about the couple.
On their wedding day–July 29, 1981–I was up early and glued to the television to drink in every detail. The carriage! The dress! St. Paul’s! The guests! I also recorded the wedding so that I could back and watch it at my leisure. I had my hair cut in a Diana do–and that was a big deal, since I’d had quite long hair.
In the years that followed, I didn’t lose my enthusiasm, even as I grew up and had my own romances. I was sad when details of Charles and Diana’s marriage were revealed, but by then, I too was married with little ones.
On Labor Day Sunday, I awoke to the horrifying news that Diana had died in a terrible car accident in Paris. I’ll never forget that day; the sense of loss over someone I’d never known in person but who had been part of my life, my growing up, was devastating. Once again I was glued to the TV, but this time, there was no happy ending.
For years, my own version of a royal romance and how it might play out had lurked in the back of my writer’s brain. And then last year, the image of a cover and a title flashed in my head, along with bits and pieces of the accompanying story. And that’s how The Anti-Cinderella was born.
Kyra isn’t Diana–she’s older, for one; she’s American, and whereas Diana struggled with demons from her childhood, Kyra grew up in a loving, nurturing family. But there is no doubt that Diana’s shadow is on this book, particularly in Kyra’s interactions with the press. And although Diana isn’t mentioned by name and probably will not be in subsequent books, she is very much on my mind as I write.
For all of her missteps and mistakes, Diana changed the face of the Royal Family as we know it–for the better. It makes me happy to see her sons continuing this trend. As a royal devotee, I hope that the Windsors stay strong for generations to come.
The Anti-Cinderella releases May 15th!
How many girls can say their first kiss was with a prince in the British royal family?
I was fourteen and he was sixteen, and yes, it was magical. But that kiss didn’t exactly change my life. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even think about it-or Nicky Windsor-for the next ten years . . . until fate, in the guise of my grandparents, brought us back together again.
Now everything has spun out of control. I’m ducking reporters and photographers when I try to leave home. My friends act as if I’m someone they don’t know anymore. The whole world seems to be watching me, wanting to see some kind of modern Cinderella story.
But trust me, I’m no man’s princess. I’m more comfortable in tennis shoes than in a tiara, more likely to rock a bucket than a ball gown, and more liable to fall on my face than to pull off a graceful wave.
The only thing that keeps me from running away and hiding is Nicky. He’s all I’ve ever wanted in a man: hot, hunky and head-over-heels in love with me. I think I feel the same way. I think I want to be with him forever.
But the idea of life with the royal family terrifies me. Even if I have found my one and only, can I handle what comes after our happy ending?