The Pretender by Katie Ward

The Pretender
by Katie Ward
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Release Date: September 2018

In rural France, two babies are born just two hours apart but to two very different lives. Isabella is born as a Princess into a life of opulence and love while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father.
‘The Pretender’ follows the journey of Isabella and Sophia as their paths cross and after discovering how alike they look, they decide to switch places with each other. Sophia is seeking sanctuary from her abusive home while Isabella is seeking freedom from the tightening burden of her Royal title.
‘The Pretender’ is a story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK  

Katie Ward always knew that she wanted to write for a living. After completing a degree in Journalism at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, she moved to Dublin. While there, she had a short story published in an anthology titled Do the Write Thing which was part of a competition being run by Irish TV show Seoige and O’Shea. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. The anthology reached the Irish Bestsellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by Man Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle a few months later.
The Pretender is her first Young Adult novel.

Author Links:
Twitter - @KatieWWriter
Instagram - @KatieWWriter

Author Q & A

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
As a child, ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ was always one of my favourite stories. But I felt that as the original is too old and hard to understand now that it could soon disappear and I hated the idea of such a great story being lost. So, I decided to bring it up to date and bring the story to a whole new generation. I identified all the main themes of the original and then developed an entirely new story where I worked in these themes so that I was able to both remain loyal to the story but also create something that would reflect the world we live in today. 

In relation to the characters, I started with a rough idea about what they looked like and the kind of people they were but they have tended to develop naturally as I’ve written and continually edited my work. When I first started writing the book, I didn’t really know my characters well but as time went on it’s like they told me who they were and I started to be able to just know how they would react in a situation and I’d learn more about their nuances and flaws. I have always understood that no one is perfect so I make sure to add in character flaws as well as attributes when I develop my characters. 

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? 
If I had to pick one, I’d say Mireille (Sophia’s sister) as she is probably the nicest character in the book, she is completely selfless and took parental responsibility for her siblings even though it meant putting her own life on hold. So, I have a real soft spot for her and just love how she develops throughout the book.  

Who is your least favorite character in your book and why?
I’m sure I won’t be alone when I say my least favourite character is Sophia’s father, Noah. He is such a nasty person and the way he treats people is disgusting. He really does enjoy seeing the fear he causes in his family and he has no sense of remorse at all. He is a very weak man, unable to overcome his vices and uses his children as a vent for all his frustrations.  

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
When I start to write, I would ordinarily have a plan of the characters I need in my book but initially this wouldn’t be very detailed. However, as the story develops I do tend to find where there are gaps and where I need more sub-plots which will often lead to me introducing new characters. I do tend to make changes to my characters all the way along the process. Most of the characters in ‘The Pretender’ got name changes prior to publication. So, they do usually come to you as you begin to write especially those outside of the main characters.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be?
I think I would like to spend the day with Eddie, when I was writing the book I always felt intrigued by his sugar artistry and I’d have lots of questions for him on that and not to mention I’d have my choice of cake to eat too!

And what would you do during that day?

We would definitely be baking cakes and he would be helping me turn my hand to sugar art and seeing if I could do anywhere near as good as he did with the cakes he made in ‘The Pretender’. That would be a great way to spend a day!

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