I’ve been fascinated by the British royal family ever since I can remember, writes author Kathleen Irene Paterka…
What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? I even daydreamed about growing up and marrying Prince Charles some day. My mother finally popped that balloon by pointing out that Charles, as a prince of the British Empire, was forbidden from marrying a girl like me ~ a Roman Catholic (thanks a lot, Henry VIII). So I settled back instead and indulged my royal fantasies with every scrap of news I could find about Charles, his many girlfriends, and eventually, the girl he chose to be his princess.
A royal wedding! I was one of the wedding guests (okay, me and 750 million other people watching on television) as Lady Diana Spencer walked down the aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral to marry Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. I daydreamed about Diana’s new life with her charming prince. Living in a luxurious palace, your every wish fulfilled, your every dream a happily-ever-after. Talk about a fairy tale come true. NOT. We all know how the fairy tale ended, in disillusion, despair, divorce … and ultimately, Diana’s tragic death.
Whatever you think of Charles and Diana’s fractured fairy tale, there’s no denying that the British royal family knows how to put on a wedding. Prince William’s wedding to his Kate on April 29, 2011 is evidence of that. An estimated 2 billion people tuned in to view the royal wedding, and I was watching right along with all of them. I flipped on the telly (how British!) at 3am, snuggled up in my cozy white wingback chair, and donned my sparkling diamond tiara just like Kate’s (okay, granted mine is just rhinestones and only cost $20 … but still, it’s a tiara! Am I the last romantic left in the world?). As Kate walked the aisle of Westminster Abbey, a regal bride approaching her prince, I sniffed. My tears flowed freely as William finally turned and gazed upon his princess.
I suppose by now it’s obvious that I’m an addict when it comes to royal romance. Brides. Weddings. I love them! My day job as resident staff writer at a real American castle which hosts numerous weddings (nearly 200 last year) feeds my fix for royalty and romance. When I began daydreaming about a plot for a new book, my love for all things royal and weddings came into play. But it wasn’t until my daughter Abby and her husband moved to Las Vegas a few years ago, that I really started thinking. Las Vegas, the wedding capital of the world. Voila! The framework for a new story was born.
What about you? Are you, like me, an avid royal watcher? Are you a romantic? If you’re not married, do you daydream about a wedding in your future some day? What about Las Vegas? Has anyone you know (or maybe even you!) been married at a Vegas wedding chapel? Royalty… romance… let’s chat!
Royal Secrets is the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily — now a single mom — discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.
Kathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including the James Bay series (Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world-renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book For the Love of a Castle. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.