Just as I did with the first book, I thought I would give a look into some of the behind the scenes details of The Queen of England: Grand Tour. If you want to read the book without any spoilers, stop reading now.
- I ended up changing a major character’s name in a late draft. Her original name was just not a good fit.
- And then I did the same thing with another character. (I’m also going through something similar in my current manuscript).
- In the last edit, I cut out a plot point that seemed super forced. I thought a certain character would nominate another character for a role, but in the last read, it just didn’t make any sense.
- In the rough draft, Britannia was meant to go on the Grand Tour. Logistically, it was too difficult from a logistics standpoint and ended up being cut.
- Similarly, Askew was also meant to be on the Tour, but I thought it would be more in character that he stayed at Buckingham to protect Juliette’s interests.
- I had originally thought to introduce a new Prime Minister while Juliette was traveling, but that seemed another bad fit (and that I was really just throwing too much at my poor Queen). The Prime Minister will have more of a role in the third book.
- Apparently, and this is going to very early days of the rough draft, there was an entire scene involving clues from the Battle coat of arms — needless to say, it was kind of a bunch of nonsense. Cutting the scene was an easy choice as it was overly complicated.
- I have another Sailor Moon reference in this novel. Fans should be able to easily recognize the reference.
- It took me more than a few tries to get the scene between Juliette and her half-sister, Riya, the way I wanted them. Even now, I’m not 100% happy.
- As another way to further complicate poor Juliette’s life, I originally had the day of the equinox (and all that happens) initially fall on the queen’s birthday. When finalizing the first book, I realized that timing would be impossible.
- I’m still trying to figure out how to work in Camelot, which I haven’t done yet.
- I apparently wanted to give Prince Estevan a dog, but didn’t manage that detail either.
As Juliette leaves the United Kingdom and goes into the world on her Grand Tour, there are a number of places I wanted to get to as part of my research. While most of my locations in The Queen of England: Coronation were limited to England (because, hey, that’s where all the action takes place), in the second book, there is a lot more territory covered.
Again, this list might be slightly spoilerly, so if you want to avoid anything about the book, please read first and then come back to this post. In no particular order:
1. London Stone, United Kingdom
A landmark of historical (and fictional) significance. The scene around this stone is probably the one I would be most curious see illustrated, or made for the screen. Hopefully I did a good job describing it!
2. Broceliande, France
The Lady of the Lake makes an appearance in this novel (honestly, if I already have Excalibur, it seemed natural to include her as well), and while I ultimately decided to place her location in a fictional place (in my second fictional country), my research yielded this location, which has been linked with the Lady of the Lake and the Arthurian romance for centuries.
3. Tuscan countryside, Italy
When Juliette finds herself needing to connect with the Company of Merlin and the High Wizard, she has to fly to Tuscany, where they are located. I envisioned a large manor house and really, the opposite of Buckingham Palace in every way.
4. Gibraltar and Mallorca
As a ‘look’ for the country of New Catalan (where Prince Estevan is from), I have these locations on the list, two of them being the coastal cities of Gibraltar and the island of Mallorca.
5. Rabat/Casablanca, Morocco
See above. Magellan Castle, where Prince Estevan and his mother the Queen of New Catalan reside was always intended to have Moorish influence.
6. Bavaria, Germany
This location holds a critical scene late in the book, and is also a good reference point for fictional Lichtenplatz. I wanted to picture old forests and places that haven’t been disturbed for centuries.
7. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
While not the specific Lady of the Lake, I did comes across these and found them to be a great reference. As with above, there is a lot of old magic involved in the second book, and I wanted the
8. Versailles, France
One of the first (and most important) visits of the trip is the meeting between King Louis-Philippe and Juliette (it’s a reference to a meeting that would’ve taken place between Victoria and the King, had I not fictionally killed her off), and a reception at this stately and memorable mansion.
9. Paris, France
What Grand Tour wouldn’t include a visit to Paris? Unfortunately, the stay is cut short. Askew and Pippa are privately devastated that her majesty was unable to obtain some new garments.
10. Lichtenplatz and New Catalan
Can you visit a fictional country? How about two? In reality, I pictured Lichtenplatz tucked away near Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (and sharing much in the way of language and culture). For New Catalan, as mentioned briefly in the first book, I’d imagined the country to exist either as an island nation off the coast of Spain and Portugal, or, between the two countries.
Bonus destination: Queen Juliette was intended to travel to Italy to visit a distant family member, but due to a number of circumstances, was unable to make it.
Where do you think is a ‘must visit’ on a Grand Tour?
Some further traveling tunes for my Queen and her adventures. If you wondered what the first playlist looked like, find it here. (Also, hopefully Spotify will be allowed in my country soon!!). And suggestions for new music are always welcome.
- Golden Brown, The Stranglers
- No Surprises, Radiohead
- Budapest, George Ezra
- Paper Planes, MIA
- The Ground Beneath Her Feet, U2
- Live While We’re Young, One Direction
- Just Dance, Vitamin String Quartet
- Just a Girl, No Doubt
- Assassin, John Meyer
- Leaving on a Jet Plane, I like the Chantal Kreviazuk version.
- Something Like This, Chainsmokers
- Cathedrals, Jump Little Children
- This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, Fall Out Boy