Friday, October 2, 2015

“PRINCELINGS OF THE EAST” by Jemima Pett – Blog Tour

About a year and 8 months ago, I met a lovely woman by the name of Jemima Pett, who lives in the U. K. We became acquaintances during the “A to Z Challenge” of 2014 when we were on the same “Theme Reveal” Team and were busily scratching our heads and working with Damyanti G., Guilie, Samantha Geary-Jones, Vidya Sury, Anna Tan, Csenka, (plus myself and Jemima, to make up the “7 Fair Ladies of I Forget” because I'm typing like a fiend, as I am behind the 8-ball*, as per usual) to get our Theme Reveal Post going and set by March 23rd and trying to help all the newbies and it was just. . . Arrrrrghhh. Everyone had questions, or rambled a lot and never found a question in all the verbiage and we were ALL pulling our hair out.

*I was in the hospital for 2 days this week; I tried to Scooby my way out of it, but I was orthostatic and Tampa Fire-Rescue wasn't going to let me skate. Then, at TGH, they got all boresome and insisted I stay the night and the next day! More later on that whole fiasco. It was more like Thurber's “The Night The Bed Fell”.       

"I suppose that the high water-mark of my youth in Columbus, Ohio was the night the bed fell on my father." ~ James Thurber

What started as a disparate group of women became a batch of friends, forged in the heat of fire. Not the fire of Stalingrad, by any means, but the fire of just the usual frustrations of stupid computers, internet connections and storms half-way around the world that would put us out of touch with one or another for a day or so. We have continued to stay in touch and a bond of affection has developed between us. When Jemima was looking for some folks for her book tour, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't too sure she liked me at first, but realized later, it is her way. She is a dear, dear lady and I really enjoy her writing. I know you will too!

Fred, looking imperious on his wheelbarrow, I think.

She writes of that fey creature, the guinea pig and Jemima is a world-builder for them. I will say no more than that, but let her interview tell you about what she has written and accomplished, and share her pictures with you. After reading the excerpt, the Spotlight, the Author Interview and the Character Interview, follow the links provided for my reviews of the books! You will not be disappointed! My thanks to Jemima Pett for allowing me to participate in this tour and to her Tour Guide/Assistant Tonya for running a flawless tour!

It is not preposterous, nor "soppy" (as Jemima has said) to build a world or write stories that feature animals in a series of settings that may seem anthropomorphic or counter to whatever we, as people would otherwise have them do. Richard Adams wrote a very successful barnburner of a suspense yarn about a bunch of rabbits called "Watership Down" and more ominously, George Orwell wrote "Animal Farm" a cautionary tale with a bitter ending about the risks of Capitalism. Pett's Guinea Pigs inhabit no such worlds, but they do face problems and solve them, and then are left with bigger problems to solve later on; a not un-life-like scenario. Let us enter her world and see what we can find. The first thing we hear is a rather braggadocios someone talking to someone else. . .


This is Lord Mariusz of Hattan, who thinks he's a tough guy, and in control of everything. He likes to think of himself as a more refined type of gangster leader, but really he's a businessman carrying on the Wozna Cola empire built up by his grandfather. He appears from a side tunnel in mysterious circumstances in The
Princelings of the East, then he narrates his own story in The Traveler in Black and White (Book 4 of the series). And then, because he's simply irrepressible, he turns up in book 6, Bravo Victor. And he's scheduled for brief appearances in books 7 and 8, probably, too.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Castle Hattan, on the Isle of Hattan. It's a busy Metropolis on the edge of the Great Ocean.

What do you want from life?

When I was young I wanted success, power and wealth. Now I'm successful, powerful and wealthy, and I wish people would just stop messing with that. It pains me to have to move some of them out of the way.

Could you describe yourself to me?

I'm tall, dark and built like a powerhouse – which of course I am. I have black hair with a distinguished white bit that sticks up in front. I call it a crest, I don't know what you'd call it.

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

The first would be to get the other two gangs to give up trying to mess with my patch, and just knuckle down under my plans for them. I have to waste security on my best guys when they want to walk the streets of Hattan, on regular stuff like dining out, you know?

The second would be for my science guru, Saku, to invent something to move the stock by sea, very fast, so we could stop having pesky franchises on the other side of the world.

My third would be for a nice dame to come and visit me any night I fancied without expecting diamonds and pearls as gifts before and after. It's easy enough to ask for a bit of respect, isn't it?

In your relationship with others, how are you different with family than you are with friends? Why?

Family! Load of good-for-nothings, most of them. Nephews, lounging around instead of working their butts off like I had to. The womenfolk stay in the lower levels, I don't know what they get up to. The kids, I have to find work for them. They don't know how lucky they are. When I was their age I was running errands, learning the ropes, working day and night to keep the business ahead of the opposition. Never time to make friends, although I reckon I count Saku as a friend. Willow too, but he died. They are the sort of people you work with, you know how they react, you can rely on them; they don't give you trouble, you know? Yeah.

The only decent nephew seems to have disappeared. Willoughby. He's got talent, that one. He could be a contender for my successor. That's what you have to do with family, keep an eye on them, work out who's going to inherit, make sure he knows his job. Friends, they know the score, you can rely on them.

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

Love is a waste of time. Playmates, fine, see someone you like, enjoy your time together, move on and get on with business. You can't mix business with pleasure.

Describe your ideal mate.

Cute, sassy and knows her place. Although I've met a couple in another place entirely that could make excellent bosses of this castle. Hmm, I wonder... but that would mess up the established line. Too much trouble.

What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?

Easy to charm them, have a good time; hard to deal with their demands when you're in my position. Best keep to business arrangements – much safer.

When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? Second?

In my business you don't just walk into a room and notice things. You assess the situation before you open the door, so you know who's there, where they are, and whether anyone is primed to spring a surprise on you. Okay, it's not as bad as the old days, but old habits die hard. On the other hand, when someone else walks into a room the first thing he'd better notice is me.

What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?

Genuine kindness. For no other reason than wanting to help. It doesn't happen much here, so it kinda wrong-foots me when I meet it on my travels. Amazing that there can be places where people are kind to each other and want nothing in return, no points scoring, no scores to be settled.

Just to be kind. Weird.

Thanks for interviewing me. Have a sample of Wozna, the best cola in the universe. Doesn't that taste good?


Lord of Hattan

Victor, having a snack.


I’ve been writing since I was 8 years old. I still have a small booklet I found in my mother’s box of treasures, written in a very childish hand, entitled The Little Stream. It reads very much like the story of Smetana’s Vltava, or The Moldau as it was called when I was young, so I must have been into classical music at an early age (I blame my brothers’ influence). My early fiction attempts failed for want of suitable inspiration: I couldn’t get characters or plot that seemed interesting, and my first attempts were derided by a ‘friend’. I had the bug for writing, though, and wrote articles and event reports for newsletters and magazines whenever I got the opportunity. My career in business and in environmental research kept me chained to a desk for many years, but also gave me the opportunity to write manuals, reports, science papers, blogs, journals, anything and everything that kept the words flowing. Finally the characters jumped into my head with stories that needed to be told…

I now live in a village in Norfolk, UK, with my guinea pigs, the first of whom, Fred, George, Victor and Hugo, provided the inspiration for the Princelings stories.


Hi Jemima,

Thank you for sitting down with me today for an interview. Before we start though, I have to tell you I was blown away by your website – how much information you have provided about your younger years: when you began writing; why you didn’t continue until later in life; your career; your guinea pig pets (love the photo) and what you’re doing in the writing world today! 

Definitely an inspiring tale and I smiled my way through everything, so thanks!
And, since your author website contains practically everything a reader/fan might want to know about you, I’d like to just focus on your writing.

1) You mentioned in your bio that you first began writing when you were eight. What prompted this? Did you, or your family, read extensively and you just woke up one day thinking that you would write a story? Had the desire to write been there all along, but you opted to wait until you mastered cursive/penmanship so it would look neat and pretty? (That’s actually a ‘page’ from my childhood). Or, was it something entirely different?

I know I read a lot, so I expect I just started writing because that seemed to be what happened. I recall that writers were fairly common among the parents of kids in the books I read, so the concept that someone had to write a book took hold early on, and I did write to Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Malory Towers, Noddy) to say how much I liked her books (the Adventure series, early on) and got a typed postcard in reply. For the record, the only other author I've ever written to is J K Rowling, after Deathly Hallows, and yes, I got a reply from her, too!

I don't remember how it fit in with the handwriting issue, but I did get a certificate for handwriting that most people in my class entered, sponsored by the chocolate makers, Cadbury. It's among my school certificates still!

2) As a child, you wrote a book titled The Little Stream. You compared it to the story of Smetana’s Vltava which, of course, makes me wonder if you brought the ‘drama’ of the entire suite into your story. The castle, the river, the spurned maiden, etc.? Or, was it similar only to the river (Vltava) piece? Either way, was there some form of ‘happily ever after?’

Well, it wasn't very long! I think it's eight pages (sixteen sides) about the size of a digital compact camera. It mostly concentrated on the passage of the river through the landscape and its development from a babbling brook into a wide estuary. Maybe there's a bit of Siddartha in it, but I only learned about that in my late teens, and finally read it about 8 years ago.

3) Do you ever regret that you didn’t write books sooner, due in part to the unkind words from a ‘friend?’ What advice would you give to new, or aspiring, authors should they wind up in a similar situation?

Yes. When I look back on the amount of writing in other ways, particularly event reports for my sport, I realise I was always telling stories. My sporting achievements might have been greater had I not gone off into a reverie of how I would write the report of this event while I was halfway through it! I always had stories in my head. Most people have imaginary friends, I don't know whether most people enact adventures with them in quite the way I did. I also created lands, drew maps, (one place had a railway timetable), and had a whole load of adventures with my imaginary team of horses. So my advice to anyone else in that situation is, don't keep it to yourself, write it down.

Of course, I was completely untutored in writing. I think this is something where the craft can come later; the creativity is important. There are parallels with painting here. Who would teach a child to paint starting with the colour wheel?  Or maybe some people are and that's why so many people believe they can't draw.

And my friend was right – the book I had started to write was rubbish. But that's the whole point of learning anything. Early attempts may well be rubbish. Very few people are perfect at anything they do straight away. We all have to hone our craft, skill, expertise... and learn more about the world and life too, if we are writers and want to make our stories believable.

4) Your next phase of writing was articles and event reports for newsletters (is that a newspaper?) and magazines. How did you get accepted on as a writer for these publications? And what prompted your desire to write them? Any absolute favorites that added to the family photo album?

If in doubt, start your own magazine ;) No, join a club. Writing event reports is something most clubs and societies have trouble finding volunteers for. And many clubs had newsletters that were circulated to the members to keep them informed and involved. These days, some of those have gone online as the website or facebook page, but most also have physical (or pdf copies) of a magazine format for members who prefer to get things by mail. So I wrote for, and edited, one newsletter off and on for ten years (with other equally talented writers contributing too, but often filling the gaps myself). Then there's the event reports for the local newspaper, or the national sports magazine... I never wrote fiction for newspapers or magazines... although a lot of the event reports were somewhat fictional!

5) Okay, so eventually, (to quote you) “the characters jumped into myhead with stories that needed to be told…” Where were you in life when this happened? What triggered the ‘release?’ Was it some random experience? Maybe a dream – or a television program? Your cute, furry, guinea pig pets?

Entirely the guinea pigs, Fred and George, who were named after the Weasley twins, of course. I'd changed jobs, moved home, and was self-employed again. I needed company and I chose guinea pigs. I was fascinated with them, and watched their behaviour and interactions with each other, wondering about their personalities (I'd been in human resources before I'd retrained for environmental research), and I dubbed them the Philosopher (Fred) and the Engineer (George) way before the writing started. Well, six months at least, which is a long time in a guinea pig life. Then Hugo and Victor turned up, with totally different personalities... and we were doing a silly story on the guinea pig forum, writing one paragraph at a time, and somehow I just took that off into a whole new area and decided they needed a book. Three books, with the titles as they are today. And then I started writing them.

6) Alright, let’s talk about your Princelings books. I’ve read the series ‘about’ and all the books look like they’ll be a fun adventure read. (I even downloaded a free Amazon copy, yay)! Can you provide a brief, series overview here for readers?

As one of my reviewers neatly summed it up: we are in a feudal world with advanced technology running on strawberry juice.... At first, there really isn't much in the way of advanced technology, but due to the curious circumstances of the first book, George gets the idea to develop a new power source running on strawberry juice, which is a project that runs in the background of the second and third books, and then promotes change that occurs in society over the rest of the series. The series starts with two innocents using their friendship and their brains to solve problems, and the problems get bigger, and more acute as the series goes on, with an ever-growing cast of characters, some of whom pop up again in unexpected places. The big question, is how are they ever going to deliver the promise made at the end of the first book, when everything in their world is changing?

7) Now, I could be wrong, but it does seem that you pulled some of your own life experiences into these tales? How did you go about incorporating your business and environmental wisdom into these books while still ensuring they’re interesting reads? Are there any messages within the pages that you hope readers will take away with them?

Ah-hah! Well, I do try to show how living within our own resources might lead to having a more enjoyable life, but it isn't easy, especially when kids are so bombarded with ways of spending money. In a way, I just write being me, and the experiences I've had make me who I am. And they do say 'write what you know' even if it does have to be translated into appropriate settings for younger readers at times. If there is a message, I hope it is 'use your brains, and work with your friends'.

8) Let’s focus now on one specific book:The Princelings of the East.Again, can you provide us with a teeny synopsis? What was your inspiration for this book? When you were done with the writing – did the manuscript match your initial vision or had it changed? I imagine if your characters embodied some of your pets’ personalities they might have given you some ‘attitude’ and just done their own thing. *chuckle*

Two young princelings (of the royal line but unlikely to inherit any titles) realise there is a problem with energy disappearing when it's most needed, so they set out to find what to do about it. They encounter strange businessmen, princes and barkeepers, and have to work out who of these powerful people are allies, who are not, and how to solve a nationwide problem. Both trust and time are of the essence!

The inspiration came from the story we were writing online, which I mentioned earlier – we had linked universes with a tunnel between castles, and the world at the other end ran on strawberry juice. I know that was my invention, so I felt free to use it myself.

I was extremely satisfied with the book once I'd finished it (although I did improve it later, in the 2nd edition), but what I learned in the process is that characters do things of their own accord, if they are good enough characters.  If you let them make decisions because of who they are, they take you down paths that may be different from those you'd imagined – and a whole lot better!

9) Last question – it looks like you’re currently working on book two of your BookElves Anthology, as well as book two of your Viridian System series. Would you be willing to provide a tiny tidbit of information about one or the other? (Or both)? Enough to whet our appetites? *smile*

The BookElves are a group of twelve great authors of middle grade type books, who come together to do things that help promote each other. The idea of the Anthology last year was both great fun, and well-received by our readers, so we decided to do another this year. Seven of us are currently working on short stories to go in this year's book, which is scheduled for 12th November. Titles tend to include the words Christmas and Adventure quite a lot, so if you like Christmas adventures you may like the book!

My Viridian System series is for grown-ups, although there's not much to offend older teens. I suppose anyone allowed to read James Bond would be ok with them, although it's a science fiction series with more in common with Star Trek than a spy series. My heroes Big Pete and the Swede are asteroid miners looking for a vacation, and finding trouble, and the first in the series will be out in January 2016 – The Perihelix. There's a Sampler of short stories available for 99c from 28th September. I've already started the second book, because I couldn't stop writing about them, and various ideas I wanted to include are better written down straight away these days, before I forget them!

Thank you again for sitting down with me, Jemima.
It's a pleasure, thank you for having me.
This has certainly been fun and I’m looking forward to reading my copy of The Princelings of the East.


Link for BookElves Anthology Vol 1:

Link for the Viridian System Sampler:
Also at B&N and iTunes.  Website

This interview has been redacted for brevity and for a discussion regarding pictures which I don't have to share with you, but I DO want to thank Charline Ratcliff for providing this interview and her generosity in sharing it with us all on the blog tour. Please, please, please, visit her on her website at! Thank you!


1 x $25 gift card/PayPal cash (paypal cash is much easier for me to deliver)

1 x set of the six Princelings of the East paperbacks 

5 x  1 signed print of a chapter illustration of the winner's choice (approx. half letter-sized/A5, unmounted)

EXCERPT FROM The Princelings of the East

Fred sat staring at the tunnel, lost in thought. George waited. This might take a while. He could hear soft sounds of crackling flames in the fire on the other side of the wall, and in the distance the occasional pitter-patter of footsteps echoing down the corridors. He wondered what would happen if they ventured out of this castle into the tunnels.

When he had been out in the marshes, he’d never gone a long way from home; the castle was always visible in the

distance, light glinting on its spires. He’d never been out overnight, either. He identified a strange feeling inside him.

They might be on the edge of a Great Adventure, but he wasn’t sure he wouldn’t rather be safely tucked up in bed.

Fred stirred. “We need to go and investigate this Great Energy Drain,” he said. “We must find out whether it is a widespread phenomenon, and whether the causes are known.”

George nodded; this was elementary procedure for an investigation. “And then?” he asked.

And then,” answered Fred, “we shall come up with some ideas for how to solve it.”

Good idea!” said George, knowing that you can never know exactly how you are going to do something until you have made the preliminary investigation and tested out a few theories. But the aim was set, and all they had to do now was
decide... to go or not to go?


TITLE – The Princelings of the East

SERIES – The Princelings of the East

AUTHOR – Jemima Pett

GENRE – MG/Fantasy/scifi

PUBLICATION DATE – November 2011 (paperback June 2015)

LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 158 / 37,300

PUBLISHER – Princelings Publications

COVER ARTIST – Danielle English


The Princelings of the East is an adventure set in a world of labyrinthine castles, bustling inns, and the curious Isle of Hattan.

Princelings George and Fred leave the security of their isolated castle to solve the problem of the Great Energy Drain, meeting the dubious businessman Hugo, the young barkeeper Victor, the impressive Prince of Buckmore, and other movers and shakers. Who should these two innocents trust? Their wits and each other, for sure, but when something comes between them, each is left to his own devices, and some of those devices are very strange indeed – and time is of the essence.

The Princelings of the East is the start of a saga where friendship and intelligence are rewarded, even in the face of treachery and deceit.



This appears to be George, perhaps having a post-prandial snooze, or he's off thinking about an engineering problem.


Jemima Pett said...

Thank you so much for an amazing post on my blog tour, Viola. It's been wonderful getting to know you - and the other 6 :)


Viola Fury said...

Jemima! It was a real treat to write and I did so enjoy learning about your characters and your world-building. The reviews are coming, too, don't forget! An "unscheduled hospital stay" delayed them, but I was completely enchanted! Very well-written, thoughtful and amusing. Your characters are lovely! I'm so happy and honored to have been included!

Cathy Kennedy said...

What a delightful interview and book series! It was fun getting to know a bit about Jemima's book characters. This is an enthralling story line for youngsters, even a youngster at heart. lol Thanks sharing this with us today and best of luck to Jemima (BTW, I do remember her from the A-Z challenge)in her writing career!

Jemima Pett said...

Thank you, Cathy :) and thank you Viola, for managing to post on schedule even with the hospital stay. I hope you're feeling better. And I was a bit overawed when we Minions first met (as well as getting Bravo Victor out) so I'm sorry if I seemed a bit distant at first. It's been a wonderful and treasured experience. :)