The King and Queen's Prerogative: The Rule of Three Part 1 (Author Interview)

What inspired you to create a story set in a post-apocalyptic world with a blend of science fiction and fantasy elements?

I grew up reading fantasy books and watching sci-fi movies. I often wondered: “What would happen if characters in one world found themselves in the other?” That thought led me down a rabbit hole of questions about reality and world building. After a while, I concluded that the fusion of the two would be so chaotic that the characters would have to deal with some sort of apocalyptic scenario, eventually.

In “The King and Queen’s Prerogative,” how did you approach developing the complex relationship between reality, memory, and identity?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and I often had to refer to the textbooks to accurately describe what I believed the characters would be going through. I also researched different philosophers and their works to tie the ideas together.

Can you talk about the process of crafting the character of Reuben and his evolution throughout the story?

I initially placed Reuben at the very centre of the story and had him do everything. He didn’t really have any true development until I learned how to develop the characters around. The less he did and said, the more I could see the flaws in the man and what he would become. The contrast between his development and the rest of the cast’s is what helped me shape his journey.

The setting of the story in a South African context is quite unique. How does this cultural backdrop influence the narrative and character development?

South Africa is a cosmopolitan with a dark past. However, the people have shown great solidarity over the years. I wanted the story to reflect that hotpot of culture through the technology, the characters and the magic system.

The concept of the building as a sanctuary yet a source of danger is intriguing. What symbolic significance does this setting hold in the novel?

The building represents the characters’ mental states and the state the world is in outside. It is based on the concepts of a dungeon and a hub, or safe, zones in video games. However, these two are contradictory. Dungeons are filled with monsters, while combat is forbidden in a safe zone. This forces the characters to choose between fighting for themselves and fighting for the sake of others.

Your book features a blend of modern technology and fantastical elements. How did you balance these aspects without overshadowing the human element of the story?

I always tried to find the connection between the two. I would imagine what the technological requirements would be for a certain magic or power to exist in our world, and how it would be implemented. The boring human stuff like laws, history, taboos and cultural trends then helped me balance my greatest expectations with the “disappointing” reality that many people are ordinary and we would feel shame, fear, anger and regret when we found out the truth behind what it takes to become great at something. Tempering fantasy with the grim truths about reality in short.

The theme of fate versus choice is central to your novel. How do you explore this theme through the characters’ journeys?

I made the characters blank slates, but included a few truths to guide them in a particular direction. I then realized that I could feed them more tidbits of information as they progressed and compare the new memories they have made to the ones they have uncovered.

Could you elaborate on the role of the video game-like world in the story? How does it affect the characters’ perceptions and decisions?

Many people believe games are meant for children. However, psychologists have discovered that play is important for humans of all ages. We also have high stakes games such as gambling and contact sports can be considered games as well. Initially, hearing that the world has been likened to a video game seems absurd, and it is that absurdity being proved true that leads to them wondering what else could be true. Games also seem to cause some people to behave differently. Some may cheat in a game but never do so anywhere else in their lives, and some people are incredibly aggressive or critical during a game. This change in behaviour, whenever people compete, is something I wanted to explore.

What message or feelings do you hope readers will take away from the experiences and challenges faced by Reuben and his friends?

Be honest with yourself. Be honest with the ones you care about. Learn from your mistakes and try again. Do not be afraid to fail. Do not be afraid to dream. And most importantly. Love yourself, for you are your worst enemy and your greatest ally.

Are there any autobiographical elements in “The King and Queen’s Prerogative,” or is it purely a work of fiction?

I suppose the only element would be the idea of a group of friends. I had a large group of friends in university and now and then I would imagine their faces in the characters’ places. It helped to imagine the strange scenes, the facial expressions and the tone in their interactions.


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