Interview with Dylan Madeley

Hello tea party attendees! Today, we have author Dylan Madeley joining the tea party to tell us about his new book Prince Ewald the Brave!

“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.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Dylan! What are some things that readers should know about your book prior to reading? Are there any trigger warnings they should be aware of?

The primary antagonist in this novel is an overly controlling father who can become threatening when he doesn’t get his way, so this book could be a difficult read for anyone who has had such an experience with a parent. Much more is shown about why he is a bad king and a reckless leader, his rage shown with a medieval execution described in Chapter One, not vividly or at length but it’s there. Those who serve him work to minimize the damage his decisions would otherwise cause and to reduce the harm, but they have no direct authority to get in his way and at best can occasionally convince him to stay his hand. A scene in Chapter 11 in particular shows what he does to his grown-up son and how threatening he is to his wife and grown-up daughter for a simple transgression. No one dies in this altercation, but it is highly intense and physically violent. Beyond that, medieval warfare is seen throughout most of Chapter 13, and no further warfare is shown after that; the events of the chapter are built up throughout the narrative and the consequences of it are related afterward, so someone who wants to avoid depictions of warfare could probably skip Chapter 13 altogether and not be lost.

 If Prince Ewald the Brave was a tea party, what would be the theme of the tea party?

A nice regency tea party would work. The fashion of the novel ranges from corsets and skirts to high-waisted dresses, high-waisted trousers, vests, cravats, gold embroidery; the finest attire for the world’s most powerful family and their noble friends. The first course would be tasty and refreshing fruit, and tea would be served in fine china with matching saucers. Just make sure no one is allowed to proceed to the next course until the regent has finished their serving.

What flavor of tea would your main characters be? 

King Jonnecht would be a sharp, tannic black tea with nothing added. Prince Ewald would be a white tea, perhaps served with berries or a drop of honey. Princess Isabel and Lady Liviana might be represented as distinct types of oolong, bringing with them different flavours of wisdom and experience. Prince Bonifaz might, perhaps, do with a peppermint tea for his uneasy tummy, or a chamomile to help him settle down.

What kind of message do you want readers to take away from Prince Ewald the Brave?

No one saves the world alone. They work together to make sure no one is left behind, no voice is ignored, and no good idea is overlooked. Those who want to make things better know how to listen and reach out. They work with kindness until they have no other choice; use of force is sometimes necessary but rash solutions often cause new problems without necessarily addressing existing ones. Above all, leading is a position of service to be performed with an open heart and great care; it should not be exploited or taken for granted by the holder.

If you could switch places with any of your characters, which would it be?

I’m not sure I would want to be in any world but my own, since I would have to learn how to survive and find my place in society all over again. However, I will make this fun and say that I would be a barkeep. I could meet all kinds of interesting people, stay out of trouble, and be valued enough in my services that no one seems to hold a grudge against me or cause any kind of problem. If it had to be a named character, Prince Bonifaz is also a writer with a flair for fantasy, and unlike me he can actually draw. I do relate a lot with Ewald but wouldn’t for a minute go through the worst of what I put him through. Sorry, Ewald!

Which character was most/least like you?

Prince Bonifaz is the youngest in the family, like me. He goes through intense emotions, wistfulness, despair, and often needs coaxing, someone to convince him to trust. He’s also the only character who is a writer. All the royal siblings and parents can write, but Bonifaz is specifically a writer, and his skills of observation and documenting are important to the story.

Which character was the easiest/hardest to write?

It was difficult to write King Jonnecht because I had to get into the headspace of a person who behaves despicably, and I had to get in there thoroughly enough that I was not just presenting you a cardboard cut-out for a character. What must he be thinking? What values does he have, when it’s certainly nothing to do with being kind or even being an effective leader? Yet he thoroughly believes in everything that he does, every disastrous choice, every “necessary evil”, as if he is upholding a sacred thing with his misdeeds and the ends justify the means. To this day, I am not sure what he enjoys in life; he seems to have little patience or focus for many things that others enjoy.

Finally, what inspired you to write this book?

King Jonnecht was a briefly appearing character in flashback-time, in my debut novel, “The Gift-Knight’s Quest”. I spent so little time on the character that he was two-dimensional, treated like a pure evil figure in legend or mythology. Even my villains are supposed to be people. As I keep writing, I tend toward exploring what their brokenness is. Considering that he has descendants, a different trilogy’s main character being one of them, he had a wife, he had heirs; I kept asking myself what life must be like having to live with him every day. Furthermore, he escapes his first appearance seemingly without consequence, which is dissatisfying. I wanted to revisit what had to be done about this reckless man, and given the political structure of his kingdom Kensrik, the most likely people to have done anything about it were his own family. Given the power of his social role, it would not have been easy. And for any successor to have been an improvement over him, it didn’t sit well with me that they could solve this problem with violence, because that is the same toxic solution Jonnecht would reach for. Everything after that was exploring this fantasy world once again and a cast of characters who are trying to better their lot in life, or make their world a kinder place, or in many cases just survive. Any message I have for the reader emerged during the process.

Links for Prince Ewald the Brave: Goodreads | Bookshop | IndieBound

Dylan Madeley is a Torontonian currently working out of a headquarters in Vaughan, Ontario. He is the copy editor of and a frequent contributor to Auxiliary Magazine, an alternative fashion and music zine.

His first published novel, The Gift-Knight’s Quest, was released on May 28, 2015. The sequel, The Crown Princess’ Voyage, was officially released May 1, 2017, and The Masked Queen’s Lament officially completed the trilogy on July 13, 2018. An independent companion volume, Alathea: Goddess and Empress, was released May 1, 2020.

Links for Dylan: Website | Twitter

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