In April 2012, Jennifer Nielsen released Book 1 in the Ascendance series, titled THE FALSE PRINCE. It tells the story of a defiant orphan named Sage who is forced into a plot to impersonate the kingdom’s missing prince, where he must succeed, or be killed.

Now Sage is back in Book 2, THE RUNAWAY KING. The kingdom is edging closer to war, and with an assassination attempt on the new king, things may be worse than ever. Sage will need help from both new friends and old if he is to survive the dangers he now faces.

Jennifer, it’s been quite a ride this year with THE FALSE PRINCE. Can you tell a little about what’s happened with that book?

It has been crazy, yes. So far, translation rights have been sold in eleven languages; it was included on several lists including NYT Notable Books of 2012, PW Best Books of 2012, and Fuse #8 Magnificent Books of 2012. Also, Paramount Pictures is developing a screenplay for possible adaptation.

Let’s talk about that movie…

Movies can be a tricky thing because in that business, all you really ever have is what you have at the moment. There’s never a guarantee of things moving to the next step. That said, I’m really excited about the stage it’s in. Bryan Cogman, who is a very talented writer for HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series, is adapting the screenplay. Since THE FALSE PRINCE is often referred to as “a GAME OF THRONES for kids,” I consider that huge bonus points. Keep your fingers crossed!

So what can you tell us about THE RUNAWAY KING?

Not much, I’m afraid, because I want to keep this interview as spoiler free as possible. But I can say the danger, deceit, and twists that readers enjoyed in Book 1 will be back again. Only this time for Sage, things will definitely get worse.

Kirkus said of this book, “Readers will continue to find this arrogant, fearless, utterly reckless hero intriguing, fascinating, and complex as he battles the odds to protect the kingdom and people he now holds dear.” I think Sage would love to see himself described that way.

What has surprised you most in the last year?

I suppose it’s been the reach of the book. In fact, I got two emails this morning, one from a girl in China, and another from a blogger in the Philippines. So fun! I’ve had more than one young reader tell me they’re just like Sage (though for the sake of their parents, I hope they’re not!), and asking about auditions for the movie because they’re sure they’d be perfect for a certain part. There have been enthusiastic reader responses from kids as young as third grade all the way up to grandparents. I’m pretty sure Sage has received at least three online marriage proposals. It’s a tremendous feeling, and very humbling, each time I hear from a reader, especially when I know they’ve had to make some effort to find me online. For an author, the greatest reward is knowing that someone out there loves your book.


How has it been writing in the INFINITY RING series?

I’m actually just working on my book right now. It has been so much fun to work with the other amazing INFINITY RING authors. Their creativity, depth, and talent really set me up to continue the adventure for the kids who are the heroes of the series, and I hope to leave James Dashner (who is writing Book 7) with a great springboard for a really explosive Book 7 (no worries though. He has assured me the book will not actually explode).

THE RUNAWAY KING will be released on March 1. Jennifer is also writing the sixth book of Scholastic’s multi-platform series, THE INFINITY RING, to be released on Dec 1, 2013.

Jennifer Nielsen
  1. My DD marked March 1st on the calendar as soon as she learned the release date. Hurray!

  2. I’m so excited for the next installment in the series! And, of course, I’m waiting for the movie… 🙂

  3. Many thanks L. Best wishes to your daughter!

  4. The False Prince was a favorite in our household in 2012, and the daughter dedicated her gift card to its purchase just the other day. Having read it multiple times already hadn’t worn her out on it. So needless to say, we are very much looking forward to this next book out and pretty much any work with Ms. Nielsen’s name attached to it.

  5. Thank you Shelley!

  6. This Fan Girl is so excited. Ms. Nielsen thank you so much for building an exciting world and intriguing characters.

  7. Thank you Jen – I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    Brenda, yes, Mott will be making an appearance in book 2. I like him too!

  8. I so loved The False Prince, congratulations about the movie. Will we be seeing Mott in The Runaway King? I can’t wait to read book 2.

  9. Excellent interview. This book sounds wonderful and I am definitely putting it at the top of my to-be-read list! My kids would go wild for it as well. Best of luck to you with the movie!

  10. Many thanks Linda! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all that (and toes, for that matter, but not my eyes because that makes it hard to write)!

  11. Great interview. Congratulations on your success with The False Prince and I hope that the movie is on the screens in the near future. May your upcoming titles be hits as well.

  12. So funny Jennifer that kids say they’re like Sage. I’m with you. I’m with you. As a mom, I’d hope not even though he is one of my favorite characters. I’m SO excited for all your success because I SO loved The False Prince. Cannot wait to read The Runaway King.

    • @Natalie Aguirre, I do know that kids tend to read themselves into stories they enjoy so I think it’s a great thing if they identify with Sage. But yes, it’s really better if he just stands alone as his own unique self. 😉