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Rhys Bowen: On Knowing Your Characters Inside and Out

New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen discusses how knowing her characters so well made for an easier writing process in her new book, God Rest Ye Royal Gentlemen.

Rhys Bowen, a New York Times bestselling author, has been nominated for every major award in mystery writing, including the Edgar®, and has won many, including both the Agatha and Anthony awards. She is also the author of the Molly Murphy Mysteries, set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the Constable Evans Mysteries, set in Wales, as well as two internationally bestselling stand alone novels. She was born in England and now divides her time between Northern California and Arizona.

Rhys Bowen: On Knowing Your Characters Inside and Out

Rhys Bowen

In this post, Rhys discusses how knowing her characters so well made for an easier writing process in her new book, God Rest Ye Royal Gentlemen, the way real-life people play a part in her stories, and more!

Name: Rhys Bowen
Literary agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency
Book title: God Rest Ye Royal Gentlemen
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin Putnam)
Expected release date: October 12, 2021
Genre/category: Historical mystery
Previous titles: The rest of the Royal Spyness series (14 books); The Molly Murphy Mysteries (17 books to date); and several internationally bestselling historical novels including The Venice Sketchbook and The Tuscan Child
Elevator pitch for the book: It’s the perfect royal Christmas at Sandringham, except that somebody is taking pot shots at the Prince of Wales.

Rhys Bowen: On Knowing Your Characters Inside and Out

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What prompted you to write this book?

I wanted my heroine, Lady Georgiana, to experience a traditional English Christmas again—this time including her relatives, the royal family, as the king’s life comes to a close. Of course any Ole English Christmas with Lady Georgie is bound to include bodies!

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I write one book a year for this series. I knew I wanted the royal family involved. The publisher loved the idea from square one.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

No. My relationship with Berkley has always been delightfully smooth. I’m always surprised when fans order the book as soon as they learn about it, months before it is published and sometimes not even finished—giving me a strong reminder that I’d better make it bloody good!

Rhys Bowen: On Knowing Your Characters Inside and Out

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

It was remarkably easy to write. I know my characters so well now that I sort of leave them to get on with the story. They appear on the page, say funny things and the plot sort of happens. I always try to keep the real people making cameo appearances, like the royal family, as true to life as possible.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

The chance to experience a traditional English Christmas, a slice of real history as King George V nears the end of his life, and a lot of good chuckles.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

You have to write what brings you joy and you are passionate about. Don’t ever write something because you think it will sell. Every book I have written is because I wanted to read that particular story and it wasn’t on a shelf.

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