SS: I’m sitting here with Princeling George, one of the lead characters in the Princelings of the East series by author Jemima Pett. It’s kind of strange, since I’ve never interviewed a guinea pig before! But he has lovely big deep red eyes and a friendly expression. And he’s covered in ginger hair. He also has a British accent!
George, can you please explain more about yourself and your brother Fred and the Princelings thing?
G: Well, yes, Fred and I are princelings because we are of the royal line, we’re great-grandsons, sort of, of King Cole XVII. But our mother was the direct descendant, and our father was a nephew.Eventually it worked out that Fred, being a minute or two older than me, was in line to the throne,and by the third story we’d become princes. I now have the honorary title Prince Engineer George,which I quite like. I live in Castle Marsh, although I still supervise the laboratories at Castle Buckmore where work on strawberry juice power and its applications is continuing.
SS: This castle thing is confusing to me. Why are castles important?
G: Well, if we didn’t have castles, the population wouldn’t have anywhere to live, and anyone to provide for them. Fred is better than this strategic stuff than me, I just help make things work. I really like making machines that make life easier for people, like water pumps and so on.
SS: Can’t people just live out in the land on their own, in small communities?
G: Some do, but it can be difficult for them to get enough to eat over winter. We often take food out to our communities near the forest these days, to make sure they don’t starve. We do a lot of things to ensure everyone can get food all year round, including storing a lot. We’re using the water pumps to drain some of the marsh now we’ve got so many people living here. Then we can grow more food and save it until the new grass grows in the spring. We grow vegetables as well. We have to look after our land, too, or things wouldn’t grow in it. I shouldn’t say this, but some castles don’t look after their land well enough. They rely on selling things they make. I think that’s why so many families leave their castles to look for a better life with us.
SS: I thought you just solved the Energy Drain and built power plants and flying machines?
G: Oh, well I do that of course, that’s my main job. But anything involving the well-being of people in the castle is our job. Really it’s everyone’s job, to look after each other, don’t you think? We try to live within our own resources at Castle Marsh.
SS: How did you come to learn enough about engineering to build power plants and flying machines?
G: Well, I just worked hard, did all the studying in the syllabus and tried to make things that helped life here at the castle from ideas I’d had from reading the books. And some of the syllabus suggested making models to understand principles better, and I ended up making full-size models that were then useful, since we didn’t have much in the way of machinery here. And then I got thinking of problems we had here that needed a solution, and sometimes I found the right machines in incredibly old books. You’d be surprised at the things in our library. We’re missing most of the modern things except the basics, but have a huge amount of centuries old stuff. With the power plants, well, I got the idea from somewhere else, actually, and I was relieved when I heard I was allowed to use it. It was hard getting it to work, though. When Mr Bleriot came over from the continent with his flying machine I was thrilled, and learned a lot about flying from him and from Prince Miles of Castle Dimerie, as he was then. I suppose I got sort of obsessed with flying. But it’s good for everyone, having fast transport between castles.
SS: Do you think it could cause trouble, in the long run? Presumably not everyone can fly?
G: I don’t see why it could cause trouble. Why would everyone want to fly places? It’s only when you really need to get somewhere quickly, and that’s usually only people in the Kings’ Council. Although Prince Lupin of Buckmore does come and visit his sister Kira by flying machine sometimes, if he only has a little time to spare. Most people live near their families. We mainly need to develop the ability to carry heavy loads around more quickly than they can be moved at present. That would help keep people better fed all the year round.
SS: (He pauses and thinks for a bit, and I wonder if he’s thinking of the implications of having the ruling class flying around quickly when everyone else is stuck on the ground.)
G: Times are changing, though.
SS: That is certainly true. Thank you very much for the interview. I wish you well in your endeavors.
G: The pleasure is mine.
I suspect times will change quite rapidly, indeed, if technology advances as quickly as it seems to be doing over the first six books in the Princelings of the East series. After all, I can reveal the top secret information that the last book in the series has the working title Princelings Revolution. (It won’t be available for at least two years, though, with the seventh book due out next year.)
You can find out everything you want to know about the Princelings world and author Jemima Pett at the Princelings of the East website http://princelings.co.uk