If you’re a fan of The Selection by Kiera Cass or Everless by Sara Holland like I am, you’ll really enjoy the servant-girl-must-save-the-kingdom story of Common by Laurie Lucking. Today I’m sharing the questions and answers session I had with Laurie where she talks more about what inspired her to write her book.
Q&A with Author Laurie Lucking
I find that a story was often inspired by a question. Was there a question that inspired you to write Common?
It was more like a series of questions 🙂 I wanted to write a friendship that turns into romance, but because I love fairy tales, I started thinking things like “What if he was a prince and she was a maid?” “What if his parents arranged his engagement to someone else?” “What if the maid uncovered a plot against the royal family and had to save the day?” From there, my story was off and running!
Who is your favorite character? Were there things about him/her which couldn’t be included in the novel?
I think my favorite character has to be the protagonist, Leah, because there are so many aspects of her that remind me of my own teenage self and I love that she’s a quiet, understated heroine. In my original draft, the opening chapters took place during Leah’s childhood as she meets and becomes friends with the prince. Sadly, those chapters had to be cut. The opening is much stronger for it, but I do think those scenes were a fun look at Leah as a young girl, working hard at the palace and in search of a quiet refuge from her boisterous fellow servants.
Is there a scene or moment in your novel that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
One scene that comes to mind is when Leah has retreated to her broom closet hideout and is crying after being teased by the stable hands. Prince Raphael finds her there and comforts her.
This scene stands out to me first because it’s a rare moment of vulnerability for Leah. She tries so hard to be strong and logical, and this is one occasion where she lets her guard down. I also love this scene because it’s one of the first times where hints of romance creep into Leah’s friendship with the prince. One of my favorite aspects of friendship-turned-romance relationships are those key moments where the characters start to view each other in a different light, and the hug they share in this scene is definitely one of those turning points.
My antagonist started out as a very murky concept because he stays behind-the-scenes for the majority of the book. But once he finally made an appearance, I drew a lot of inspiration from Rasputin in the 1997 film Anastasia and Jafar from Disney’s Aladdin. He’s a power-hungry, somewhat deranged yet oddly charismatic man who has been waiting a long time for revenge and has a twisted concept of justice.
What do you most hope that readers take away from your novel?
I hope readers first of all realize that no one, no matter how ordinary they may seem, is “common.” We are all UNcommon and capable of extraordinary things! I also hope readers take away the reminder that often the darkest, most challenging parts of our journey are preparing us for something much greater.
What is one question about your novel you are often asked by readers?
I’m often asked about my inspiration for the mystics, the group of unusual nuns my protagonist encounters in the second half of Common. The concept derived from the mystics of the early Christian church—holy men and women who lived in seclusion to achieve a greater union with God and would occasionally receive visions from God. I used my license as a fantasy writer to expand on that idea and ended up with a group of ladies who are in equal parts devout and powerful.
What have you read recently that you loved, or what’s one book on your reading list that you’re super excited about finally getting to read?
I’m in the middle of my advance review copy of A Dance of Shadows by Erica Marie Hogan, and it’s fantastic! I loved the first book in the series, Winter Queen, so I couldn’t wait to get started with this one! Her writing style is so lyrical, and her characters and fantasy world are increasingly deep and complex. I would highly recommend it for fans of Christian fantasy!
About Laurie Lucking
An avid reader practically since birth, Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. When she gets a break from playing superheroes and driving windup cars, she writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of fairy tale romance. Her debut novel, Common, released in February from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, and her short story, “Threshold,” was published in a Fellowship of Fantasy anthology titled Mythical Doorways. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons. Find out more by visiting www.laurielucking.com.
About Common by Laurie Lucking
Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.
Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.
And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.
But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.
Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?