It’s release day for Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes, an Adult, Comedy, Romance, and I get to chat with Julianna a bit!
Hi Julianna, and thank you for being here with me. So…a royal romance. That’s new for you. What gives?
The idea for this story was sparked when I saw a call for a royal romance-themed anthology. The title “Bad Princess” popped into my head, and because they were looking for novellas, I naively thought, “I can write this. It’s short—how hard could it be?” Which was both right and wrong—it’s definitely not easier to write a short book, but at the same time, it forced me to really keep the pace tight and the story focused, and made me cut out all the filler my mind automatically tries to insert to glue the pieces together. So it was new in a lot of ways, but more than anything, it was really fun.
You say the heroine is a bad princess. What type of bad? Is she evil?
No, she’s not evil at all. But basically from the moment she was born, she’s been known as the “bad princess,” always living in her perfect older sister’s shadow. Both Brinley and the kingdom are pretty okay with that, until her sister abdicates and Brinley is the one left holding the crown. She doesn’t fit the traditional mold of “princess,” and she definitely doesn’t fit the kingdom’s motto of “Be good and be gracious.” She’s curious and impulsive and her lack of self-restraint has put her in a lot of awkward and precarious positions. But the story is about Brinley—and those around her—coming to realize that maybe it’s not time for her fit the definition of “good princess,” maybe it’s time to change it. And that’s a really empowering message.
Tell us about the hero.
The hero is Prince Finn, who was expected to marry Brinley’s sister before she abdicated, and instead winds up marrying Brinley to help cover up her latest scandal. He’s stern and formal and sexy, and doesn’t say a lot. His silent nature is deliberate—the only thing Brinley ever hears is how bad she is, and now she has this person in her life who’s not saying much at all, but definitely never criticizing her, and that silence begins to speak volumes. Of course, when Finn does speak, he melts her heart…and sometimes her panties.
Does this story have a high heat level?
I’d say so. It takes a while for the chemistry to bubble over, but when it does, Brinley and Finn are on fire. Brinley has secretly adored Finn since she was five, and it takes her a while to believe he could truly want her back, but when she starts to believe—when he convinces her—it’s worth the wait.
Is there a happily ever after?
Of course! It’s half the length of my other books, but it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, character development, humour, heart, heartbreak, steamy scenes, and most importantly, a well-earned happily ever after.
Thank you, Julianna!
Now, let’s g back to business and see what the story is about.
Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.
But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.
Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?
For Brinley, the girl who had spent her life exploring every forbidden nook and cranny, crawling under desks and peering behind paintings, the castle was very much her home. For Elle it had been a jail cell. Her perfect behavior had been that of a model prisoner, biding her time, waiting to break free. And now she had fled and left the world with—
“Brinley,” King Edric said. He rose from his seat where he waited with her father in the formal sitting room. He buttoned his perfectly tailored jacket and nodded politely. “How lovely to see you again.” The words were polite, but the man himself was cold and impersonal, his pale hair and eyes a visual representation of the permanent frost in his voice.
“And you,” Brinley replied, extending her hand for him to kiss. No matter the modern ideology of the kingdoms, some traditions never waned. She kept her eyes on his, her crooked smile bright and cheerful, even as she almost died from the effort required not to look at Finn, who stood just behind his father, calmly waiting his turn to greet her.
Edric finally released her and Finn took his place, taking her hand and pressing his lips to her knuckles. A roaring fire burned brightly behind him, but that was not the thing that made Brinley’s cheeks flush.
“Princess,” he said formally. Everything Finn did was formal. Everything about him from his carefully coiffed hair and his straight features to the brass buttons on his jacket and the tassels on his epaulets was formal. He was so stiff and handsome, but instead of off-putting Brinley found it incredibly tempting, the way she found the castle’s forbidden secret passageways tempting. She wanted to explore him. She wanted so desperately to see those carefully chiseled features crack a smile when it was not called for, to hear him laugh, curse, moan.
But even as she wished for it, she knew it would never happen. Elle may not have reciprocated his feelings, but Brinley had little doubt that he had cared deeply for her sister. It was mandated, after all, and Finn was very much a dutiful prince, one who always followed orders and never his heart.
Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.
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- a Lush gift box