Always a Princess is a novel by Clyve Rose that was just released last week! Read on for information on this historical romance and an author q & a!
For fans of regency romance, that leaves less to the imagination that your typical costume drama, and readers who love a confident heroine, comes a story of two hearts from different worlds who find a way to love one another. Anyone obsessed with the royal-marries-a-commoner storyline playing out in the monarchy of the United Kingdom will love this very British tale that illuminates the lives of the Romany people. Once called gypsies, the Romany were an integral but oft-overlooked part of regency society. Lyrical, textured and flush with romance, Always a Princess by Clyve Rose [Boroughs Publishing Group, September 8, 2020] reveals how love is an act of great personal courage.
Question: Why are you drawn to regency romance?
Clyve Rose: The Regency era was a peculiarly unsettled time in English history – and European history as well. The French Revolution, the rise of personalities like Napoleon, and the expectations of the older generations, are well exemplified by the Regent standing in for the ailing King George. These themes are universal and offer such rich material for a writer.
From the costumes, to the societal codes, to a time when honour mattered more than personal advancement, this era is one I could research forever. The way people moved through that world no longer exists today, and it’s not just due to the advent of technology. It’s the speed at which life moves, the expectations and experiences that arise from a necessarily broadened knowledge of the world, and the willingness to look back at such a time and allow it to be romanticised. We have such a ‘handed-down’ version of the British empire at its height, and such a controlled perspective on this. I love Austen and I love Heyer, but I find I can’t stop thinking about the voices that are rarely heard in these stories. I just keep wondering who else was there? That draws me into my research and then of course I can’t stop
there. Like all story tellers, I am perpetually curious.
Question: Can you explain a bit about the Romany people, once identified by the outdated term Gypsies, and why their culture is so fascinating?
Clyve Rose: There was a time when the Romany were thought to be one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Being of Jewish descent myself, I researched this ‘lead’ compulsively. The link turned out not to be accurate, and it has since been found that Romany people originally hail from India, but I still felt some connections. As well as being another marginalised culture, Jewish people have a strong oral tradition. There are also some similarities between some of the Roma language root words, and old Hebrew. The close link between the way both cultural groups were persecuted last century also caught my interest. Over a million of Europe’s Romany were lost in the death camps of the Third Reich. My experience of prejudice is not the same of course, but the weight of such targeted hatred is one I understand. In my research I came across a Romany-English dictionary from the 1800s, and I fell in love with the words and the way the language worked. I find it interesting that the Romany lived alongside the English in the same (fairly small) land, and yet we hear so little of their stories in English canon – and when we do, the portrayal is not balanced. This strikes a chord with me every time I come across it. Chapter 39 of Austen’s Emma stirs the same ire in my breast as Shylock’s portrayal in The Merchant of Venice, or Fagin’s characterisation in Dickens. The Romany culture has very different underlying values to the Western culture, especially the haute ton of English Regency society. Ownership is more of a communal experience, and there is a belief in fair dealing and equal trade between parties. This is very different to the capitalist ideal that was in the ascendant in Regency England. There is also a strong belief in family and duty, and in a kind of Providence-at-your-service, so if food crosses your path when you’re hungry then it is meant for you. This is very different from stopping to establish ownership and arguing about possession. The Romany social conditioning operates very differently to that of the English and given the
society all around their own, and the power of that society to diminish the Romany, there is a tension there worth exploring, and from which I believe we can learn.
Question: What does a “love story” mean to you?
Clyve Rose: A love story, to me, is about more than falling in love. It’s about the journey of love. Loving may be innate to all of us, but social conditioning places roadblocks in our way. Sometimes this is done so well and so early on, that the ‘blocks’ feel a part of us. All love stories are about learning to love; externally and internally. They are also about learning to be loved. This is not as easy as it sounds. For most people, the biggest obstacles to happiness are in our own minds because once you truly love who you are, you will not settle for anything less than a love that is worth all the effort and trouble that a strong, lasting love requires. Love takes courage – because managing your own pride isn’t easy. Showing your vulnerability isn’t common, and being able to give the best and worst of yourself – and accept that from another – takes strength. A love story shows this journey. When I close the back cover, I want to know the characters still love. That’s the sensation I aspire to leave with my reader.
Question: What authors inspire your own writing?
Clyve Rose: Jane Austen (of course), Georgette Heyer. D.H. Lawrence, Rick Riordan, Julia Quinn, Julie-Anne Long, Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Joanna Trollope, Kerry Greenwood and Charles Dickens … I honestly take inspiration from so many different areas and genres. I enjoy mysteries, especially historical ones. I am a huge fan of the Miss Fisher series. I like the way Christie creates characters with minimal description, and I enjoy the intricacies of her plots. With Austen, it’s her clever dialogue that I learn from, and of course the insights into Regency society. Heyer is an education every time I re-read one of her works. Learning to show the characters’ emotional journeys without resorting to pages of internal monologue is quite a challenge. Every item I read teaches me something worth learning – and I am always reading.
Clyve Rose has been writing historical romance fiction for the best part of two decades. She works in the historical romance, fantasy, and speculative fiction genres. She also creates literary novels under an alternative pen name. In between her devotion to fiction writing, Clyve researches various mythologies and historical periods, often basing her characters on actual historical personalities.
One of her novels was longlisted for a Hachette Development Award for Fiction while her paranormal short story, The One Below, won the Passionate Ink (RWA) award for best Speculative Fiction Short.
Connect with Clyve Rose at ClyveRose.com and Instagram.com/ClyveRose.
Always a Princes will be available at Amazon, Independent Bookstores and
wherever great books are found.