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My Real and Raw Self

Dylan Madeley
Dylan Madeley Author Interview

Prince Ewald the Brave is the story of a young prince who becomes a respected royal by standing up to his father. Where did the idea for this novel come from and how did that evolve as you wrote?

In my first novel “The Gift-Knight’s Quest”, I kept going to flashback time to show you the life and death of Derek’s ancestor Lenn. The antagonist in that flashback time is none other than King Jonnecht, who was presented there in his brief time as two-dimensionally bloodthirsty and petty. Since that novel isn’t about him, it leaves people with many questions; you never learn what happens to him after a particular scheme he perpetuates, you never learn if he gets punished or overthrown, or why he doesn’t just try a different scheme or attack the rival land of Wancyrik. Given that we know Chandra Kenderley will be his descendant in approximately a hundred years, that also raises questions of what it’s like having this man for a father; the family dynamic. And if he treated them exceptionally well compared to how he handles everything else, then why would his successors behave nothing like him, pursuing practically the opposite foreign policy? If they had, why wouldn’t the empire have collapsed from hubris long before Chandra was born? I wanted to answer those questions, and my first draft was actually called “The Mad King Jonnecht”. But the story became far more about all the people around him and how they live with him, and I no longer wanted to name the book after its most unlikeable character. His reign and fatherhood was a problem to be solved that’s central to the story, but by no means is he the hero. And given the weird political structure the Kensrikan empire has, no one would have been better suited to stop him than a family member–such as the heir. However, this heir shouldn’t solve problems the way his father does, or it would be difficult to imagine things getting better if he wins. From that complication came a novel-length story.

This seemed like a fun novel to write. What scene did you have the most fun writing?

Well, some of Ewald’s night-time adventures in the city borrow from adventures of my own. I don’t go to medieval/renaissance reenactment parties nor is Ewald headed for alternative/subculture clubs that would make more sense in the twentieth century or later, so I had to imagine what an underground club could possibly be in such an age. I wanted it to serve a purpose for people of different social classes and backgrounds to meet each other in a more relaxed environment. I also wanted something masked, but not a ball; I use masks differently in my other novels, but this use was more of a nod to someone in my life who was known to be real and raw, but also to wear a mask, an interesting juxtaposition; he spoke to me early in my career when I was very lost and concerned about being famous and making a fortune, and he just wished I would be concerned with what my real and raw message would be. So, my candid social and political views make their way into my fantasies without restraint, and I try to be my real and raw self on social media, and I hope this would have meant something to him. We were very different people. Anyway, the nights out were fun. I would also like to give a shout out to my editor who insisted I go ahead with the wedding scene, because I was initially too scared that I would mess it up, but it turned out very satisfying to me and I know readers who agree with that.

What was something you wanted to do in this novel that was different from any other fantasy novel you read?

This might just reveal the narrow scope of my reading so far, but I wanted to look at what responsibilities a good leader should have, and the healthy/unhealthy dynamics between leaders and their following. I think there is plenty of literature about noble leaders who are born for their role and living up to their name or their destiny, and I don’t believe in that enough to write it. There are also many books about corruption, scheming, siblings and rivals backstabbing each other for an imperial throne–realistic and rooted in history, true, but this has been done many times and memorably. I wanted to focus more on the damage done when someone behaves like power is nothing but entitlement and all about what others constantly owe him. I wanted to contrast that with people who having achieved or realized their privilege understand what it is to offer a way up for others, or empathize with suffering and do something positive about it with these privileges, or who at least understand that the throne should implicitly come with responsibilities that can be very limiting to anybody who would rather just have the most fun in life. And then I wanted to spend time with all the characters who work hard every day to minimize the damage done by this irresponsible leader, and who will no doubt get blamed by that leader when things go wrong, though that has plenty of inspiration from contemporary politics; it doesn’t belong strictly to imperialism or monarchy. But I also wanted to show how very difficult it would be to unseat such an irresponsible person, without using the same toxic solutions that the leader would turn to (I already have a book about that called “Alathea: Goddess and Empress”). I wanted to give people hope that even in the face of corruption, in a system where people don’t want to put their privileges at risk, someone will learn what’s needed and reach out to others to solve a huge problem in the best way, before it gets worse for everybody. Instead of showing one hero destined to save them all, I wanted to show that making things better is a complicated issue and a team effort that should be enriched with different viewpoints and approaches. There have been so many fantasy books in and out of print that I suspect all of this has been covered before, but I felt like doing it my way.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is a story about a melancholy Duke who finds something to fight for, a good lady who wants her people to be free by as peaceful means as possible, and three musicians who think they have landed the most extraordinary gig in their kingdom. The current working title is The Death of Lenn, and it would end the six part extended series that began with the Gift-Knight trilogy; it would be a good point to stop and think about writing a different story. I would love to have this out in 2021 to be able to say I’ve released two great personal efforts within a year, but budgetary constraints may make that a questionable timeline.

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“No, father. You have gotten your way for too long. This ends here.”

Meet the Kenderleys, the wealthiest and most powerful family in the world.

The youngest, Prince Bonifaz, takes his lessons and trusts no one. The middle child, Princess Isabel, sneaks away to a secret regency of her own making. Their mother, Queen Dulcibella, watches out for her children just as readily as she watches over them. Their father, King Jonnecht, is a capricious tyrant who hopes to control his family as strictly as he does the largest empire, and his violent rage threatens all under his rule.

Then there’s Prince Ewald, eldest and heir to the throne. No one is more aware of the threat his father poses to everyone. No one has better legal standing to do anything about it. How can he save everyone he loves while upholding his mother’s kind values? He must learn the lessons required to be the best regent, choose allies wisely and earn their trust, and enact a thoughtful and detailed plan.

And even if he succeeds in all that, can one who draws the line and conducts a plan with honour defeat one whose rage, selfishness, and deceit know no bounds?

Can Prince Ewald stop his father?

This is a stand-alone prequel to The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Prince Ewald the Brave

Prince Ewald the Brave, by Dylan Madeley, is the story of a young prince who becomes a respected royal. Prince Ewald is the sheltered first-born of the House of Kenderley with two younger siblings, Isabel and Bonifaz. With the help of his family, Ewald discovers who he truly is, what kind of ruler he wants to be, and how to finally stand up to his father.

Madeley begins the novel by introducing the reader to the capital, Bayrock, ruled by King Jonnecht. From the start, the reader can see that the “Great King” is a façade. To the people, King Jonnecht is the almighty conqueror who defeats their enemies, but to his family he is the villain of their story. The conflict that Madeley brews throughout the novel surrounds King Jonnecht and the affect he has on his family. Prince Ewald, being the oldest and heir to the throne, decides he wants to live life before ruling the realm. Ewald is tense and cautious, in part due to his father, but risks everything to experience a world outside of royalty. Princess Isabel helps her brother let loose and be relieved of his responsibility for a short while. These outings enrage the King who then beats his eldest son and disowns his only daughter. Ewald has finally had enough of his tyrant father and devises a plan to save his family and the kingdom.

Madeley has a writing style that effortlessly propels the plot forward. The novel intertwines modern themes of same-sex marriage and family abuse into a poignant fantasy novel. The character development of Ewald throughout the novel is wonderfully alluring. You see a cautious prince turn into a strong and clever regent-designate after confronting his father. Princess Isabel, although not in the spotlight, is a strong character that has fascinating dimension throughout the novel. Princess Isabel was my favorite character to read because she is sure of herself and what she wants out of life. Isabel’s personality and experiences show Ewald that he can choose how he wants to live, who he wants to be, and what kind of ruler he would like to become.

While the novel was entertaining overall, I felt that the war strategies of the King and his commander felt tedious. The choices the King makes throughout the war show he is not level-headed and could lead the realm to its demise, however, they were not that engaging to me.

Prince Ewald the Brave has enjoyable characters and an intriguing plot. This is a story that felt deep and thoughtful. I had a fun time reading this story because, I felt, the author had a fun time writing it. The story screams creativity and uses thoughtful but subtle social commentary to create a very compelling fantasy adventure novel.

Pages: 288 | ASIN:  B092WRZDGX

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