The following is an interview with writer Joshua Desjardins on the recent re-release of the children’s book, The Tale of Two Princes. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Desjardins about how his creative process differed with this second release of the book, what he hopes that readers may take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent re-release of The Tale of Two Princes! For readers who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe its premise?
Joshua Desjardins: Thanks, Barbra. The Tale of Two Princes is a beautiful picture book about two princes in love, but told as a classic fairytale. When our two princes are discovered together, they’re forced to leave their kingdoms, but after coming across a castle full of princes just like them, they, of course, live happily every after. But not really…
It’s not until their families miss the princes that they venture out to find them. When they do, the two princes accept their families back into their lives regardless of how they were originally treated. Only then are the true values of tolerance and acceptance actually learned.
BD: Given that this is a republication of the original story, what can you share with us about your creative process with this second release, and how did this compare to your initial process in bringing the story to life on the page with artist Michael Hetrick?
JD: I’m so glad you brought up our illustrator, Michael Hetrick, because he has always been the one bringing my vision to life, pun intended. But in all honesty, after running into so many hiccups with our original publishers, this second time around was a breeze because we knew what to expect.
This time we worked with BookBaby—a more prominent hybrid publishing model—and right from the start they were able to tell us what layouts their printers currently worked with, how long the process would take, cost specifics, and more. With our original publishers, it took 4 attempts at printing before they finally got it right. With BookBaby, they got it right on the first try! Even the printing materials are significantly better; Michael and I were both very impressed.
BD: As an Amazon bestseller, the story has had great success since its release! What has been your experience with reader feedback thus far?
JD: Becoming an Amazon Bestseller within its first week of release was a shock for us, but also a moment of pride, of course. In today’s day and age with books being banned left and right, we knew our subject matter would fall under those categories of books that some would ban in a heartbeat. But once we found the right category to add our book to on Amazon—in this case, LGBTQ+ Families—we knew the right audience would welcome us with open arms, just like our princes do for their own families who don’t originally understand them.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that the princes’ story may connect with and impact readers?
JD: Although TTOTP is written as a children’s book, I always knew my story was meant for children of all ages. I have a couple of older gay friends who got married within the last decade or so. One of the groom’s parents refused to attend the services due to “religions reasons.” For a few years after their nuptials, these parents kept inviting their son to family gatherings, but not his husband. Eventually, they realized that the one would not attend without the other, and so they came around and started inviting both of their sons to holiday gatherings and the like. It’s unfortunate that some life events were missed, but love for one another was always there, just as it is for the two princes and their respective families. I’ve always hoped that this story (and more to come) would empathize with those members of the LGBTQ-munity who don’t always feel loved, but have hope in their hearts that their families still love them, because I can almost always guarantee that they do.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JD: Absolutely! I have many more ideas for children’s books that all fall within the realm of LGBTQ literature. This year, I hope Michael and I can release The Tale of Two Princesses. With print-on-demand services on the rise, it’s easier for authors to create options for their readers, and I want the options for parents to choose what story best empathizes with their own children’s needs.
Last year, I also finished a “final” draft of my first novel. That book is about life lessons I’ve learned playing bridge with friends twice and thrice my age, including my best friend at almost 99-years-young. I’m currently in the process of having that book professionally edited before putting that up for publication, as well. The entire publication process is a journey, so we all have to enjoy it while we can.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about your work and purchase copies of The Tale of Two Princes?
JD: Readers can buy The Tale of Two Princes on Amazon, directly through my publishers at BookBaby, and they should also be able to request copies in person at a local bookstore, including Barnes & Nobles. Bookstores can buy my book via IngramSpark, which is a popular distributor. I would also love for readers to follow me on Instagram as @JediJosh83 and TikTok as @JediJoshua83. I’m starting to post lots of videos about my best tips and tricks to help other authors take their own writings from project to publication, while also posting #AuthorAlerts about scams and bad behaviors to be aware of in the writing community.