Susan Froetschel, author of Royal Escape (January 12-23)
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whats your name?
Hi! My three mysteries key in on problem policies that everyone tends to take for granted. In the books, activist moms try to improve their communities for children.
The most recent book, Royal Escape, is about a princess who struggles against royal protocol and constraints and makes enemies among those who depend on traditions that reinforce inequality.
The thriller carries the political message that the monarchy, with its age, gender and other biases, may not be relevant in the modern world. Any system with lots of rigid rules is suspect.
The system could be more unfair, even dangerous, for members of the family than the public at large. Their words and acts are poked constantly in public, until they can have no friends or genuine personality.
Besides being an author, I’m also assistant editor with YaleGlobal, an online magazine that analyzes globalization, defined as the interconnectedness of the world. My book reviews for the magazine can be found at: http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/about/bookreviews.jsp
I look forward to your questions!
My name is Susan Froetschel, but I posted my profile under a nickname, Froetsch. The name is pronounced Fra-chel, rhymes with Rachel.
It seems to me that sometimes too much security gets in the way of people's lives. Your book seemed to bring that out. Were you thinking about that when you were writing it?
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions from your readers. It adds so much to the reading experience to communicate directly with an author.
My question is: has feedback you've received from readers at talks or signings ever influenced your writing?
Most definitely, security was on my mind. In fact, I had shelved the book for a long time and my son convinced me to resurrect it not long after the 9/11 attacks.
The book points out how excessive measures to protect us can end up separating us from others. Staff members who resent the princess's popularity use security measures to separate her from her sons.
In accepting security measures, we must examine examine the motivations of those who plan or desire those measures and make sure our goals are the same. Security measures may protect, but they can also separate, humiliate or create targets in and of themselves.
I really enjoyed rerading book. It was a lot of fun but some serious points still come through.
I wonder if this buisness with prince Harry doesn't stem from the problems you point up in the book about how royal trying to have a normal life.
Yes, that feedback does influence my writing. Hearing people's specific reactions to characters, setting and themes do stick in my mind as I write future books and articles. One example, a woman suggested that a character in my first book, Alaska Gray was too quiet. It made me think about why that might be and also whether the other characters talk too much!
But in general, too, it's great to hear readers' concerns, attitudes and reactions to political events or themes and those interactions from thoughtful people can't help but change the way I think and write.
The royal status is probably most difficult for children. Because they are born into celebrity, they must be guarded with words and feelings. I'm not saying that the labels Prince Harry used in a three-year-old video are in any way acceptable. But many young people engage in talk and actions that they do not want relayed around the world and which may not reflect their true convictions. The royals must always be on guard and that makes friendship difficult.
On another level, many look to the royal family as role models. But how can anyone expect young members to be free of bias when the government restricts the family members' marriage choices and society issues constant judgment?
First, we probably never get a full picture of the person even from such an onslaught of coverage. But it does show the conflict of a young man trying to downplay his position and be one of the guys.
The coverage demonstrates how immature name-calling, drawing attention to shallow differences, can be hurtful.
The coverage demonstrates how the country and others use the family as a role model, to praise some behavior and criticize others.
All can take a lesson from the incident on the power of the new media to preserve and then spread our images and words with great speed.
Does the public outrage teach individuals to be more thoughtful and caring with their words? Or does it teach them to be more cautious? We can only hope that more caution leads to more care.
These are just a few of my thoughts and I'd love to hear what others think.
I am thrilled you have a new book out I watch for your books ever since I read the first two. I of course live in one of your story communities and loved knowing the places you referenced. You are a wonderful story teller and I love the voice you put forth to carry your message. I cant wait to get into this new one. thanks
Hello to Mo in Alaska - and I'm sure she and others can describe how "celebrity nepotism" is a problem in small towns as well as in national politics.
Do you think the Obamas can avoid some of the issues that have plagued other first families?
Media analysts often suggest that the Clintons were successful. The Bush twins also managed to attend college, have normal experiences and graduate.
The parents need to gently remind the children occasionally that comments and behavior are on public display, that mistakes will attract as much if not more attention than successes - and that their life goal is not being the child of a president.
Congrats on the excellent reviews your book received.
Were you thinking of Princess Di when you wrote it?
THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star/Gale, Wheeler large print
coming in February: THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale
I started writing the book in 1996, when my son was young, and I could not help but be intrigued and saddened by the situation. The book is not about her though or her family, but how I might feel in such a situation and what one might do to gain privacy and and be free to make choices. Thanks!
Would you call this historical fiction even though the chatracters and events are not from real history?
No, while it does analyze a political and social system, and the policies around that system, it does not delve into the politics or leaders of a particular period. The novel covers about three months of time in all, and I strived to make this novel contemporary, covering the issues of our day.
With the expectation that you appear publicly to promote your book and participate socially online, hasn't the role of an author also changed dramatically from a hidden creator of literature to that of celebrity?
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