Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interviewing a Princess by Susan Sheehey

Interviewing a Princess
Susan Sheehey
*Originally posted on Smart Girls Read Romance on April 10th, 2015. http://smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com/2015/04/interviewing-princess.html 

In researching for PRINCE OF SOLANA, I had the rare privilege of interviewing a princess of Namibia, Ms. Nene Nwoko. I stumbled across her name from another writer in our critique group who took an acting class with her and was kind enough to share her information with me.

Who gets to speak with real royalty? Research gold for my series!

Right before our call started, I was suddenly nervous, getting to speak to a real princess. I had a list of questions written out, by topic, hoping not to take up too much of her time or ask the wrong question. I didn’t want to blow my only chance at this incredible research opportunity.

First of all, Nene was a joy to speak with, extremely personable and seemed down to earth. She had a slight accent, but was fluent in English and sounded like she grew up in the States. Nene briefly explained her family, and while drastically different than the scenario I’ve depicted in my series, I couldn’t pull the phone away from my ear.

Her father is the brother of the current king in Namibia. The king (her uncle) has more than twenty wives, and over fifty children. The family tree and dynamic she explained were fascinating.
They aren’t ultra-wealthy, like the royals of the UK or Denmark, and many of her family members live in the United States (herself included). They lead normal lives with families, jobs, and careers. Amazingly enough, she lives right in my homestate of Texas.

Though she is married, she explained an interesting custom that the eldest daughter of the king traditionally never marries. Her cousin is a representative of the royal line, and the eldest son inherits the throne. Nene is an actress, model, and entrepreneur. She formed and runs a commercial advertising and marketing firm.

When she asked about the books I’m writing, she was genuinely intrigued, especially since it was an international setting (though far from Africa).

Overall, the interview lasted about an hour, and several of my questions had her laughing. Such as were they restricted by what clothes they had to wear, or what places they could go to (much like my interpretation of the British Royal family). I felt like such a newbie, but she was more than gracious enough to answer my questions.

After the interview, I had some valuable research for my series, and I laughed at how nervous I was before the phone call. One of the biggest things I learned was that you never know who will cross your path in the simple conversations you have every day. Just put yourself out there—put your work out there—and see who’s reading. :)

Susan Sheehey

1 comment:

Linda Nightingale said...

I found this a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing!