(The Kingfisher Series, Book One)
By D. K. Marley
The past, future, and Excalibur lie in her hands.
Wales, 1914. Vala Penrys and her four sisters find solace in their spinster life by story-telling, escaping the chaos of war by dreaming of the romantic days of Camelot. When the war hits close to home, Vala finds love with Taliesin Wren, a mysterious young Welsh Lieutenant, who shows her another world within the tangled roots of a Rowan tree, known to the Druids as ‘the portal’.
One night she falls through, and suddenly she is Vivyane, Lady of the Lake – the Kingfisher – in a divided Britain clamoring for a High King. What begins as an innocent pastime becomes the ultimate quest for peace in two worlds full of secrets, and Vala finds herself torn between the love of her life and the salvation of not only her family but of Britain, itself.
“It is, at the heart of it, a love story – the love between a man and a woman, between a woman and her country, and between the characters and their fates – but its appeal goes far beyond romance. It is a tale of fate, of power, and, ultimately, of sacrifice for a greater good.” – Riana Everly, author of Teaching Eliza and Death of a Clergyman
Available on #KindleUnlimited.
Universal Link: https://amzn.to/3A94jzi
BOOKS+COFFEE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
DK: I have known since a very early age that I possessed a love for books, and for creating worlds in my imagination. I used to act out the story of Alice in Wonderland at the age of six and seven, so when my grandmother, an English literature teacher, discovered me sitting on the floor in front of her bookcase at the age of eleven reading her college textbooks “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and “English Literature”, she gifted them to me that day and started me on the path of becoming a writer. In high school, my English Lit teacher was also instrumental in pushing me forward, and I was the editor-in-chief for our high school literary magazine, as well as winning medals in the regional short story competitions every year. I wrote my first novel before graduation, which is still unpublished but remains a reminder of how far I have come on this journey.
BOOKS+COFFEE: How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?
DK: As I mentioned above, I’ve been writing since high school. After graduation, writing was put on the back burner as I took a job right out of school as a graphic designer, and shortly afterwards, married and started a family. When my daughter was two years old, I started playing with writing again but wasn’t serious. Not until 1997, the month after Princess Diana died, when I made my first trip to England did the spark reignite after a visit to the Globe Theatre. The premise behind whether or not Shakespeare being the true author of the plays hit me and I started writing the moment I returned to the states. After years and years of researching the plays and sonnets, I was only half finished by the time I attended the Writer’s Retreat Workshop in 2006. After learning a great deal and realizing my story was not up to par, I shelved it for many more years. In 2015, everything changed. My husband I suffered a great personal tragedy, losing our daughter, son-in-law, and grandbaby to a drunk driver. Death and grief impacted us in ways I cannot describe but after attending grief therapy, my counselor suggested a return to writing as a way to cope with the immense feelings. I published that shelved novel in 2018, self-publishing as a way to regain some of my lost power. After six years, I now have five books published and I have to say, writing has definitely helped me to cope.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?
DK: Yes, I do have a routine as I am very obsessive-compulsive. I enjoy writing when I first wake up and pushing myself to keep going, especially if I am on a good flow. Also, I plan for writing in advance; in other words, I will tell myself that ‘I am going to write 2000 words tomorrow’ and that seems to hold me accountable the next day. Snacks? Hmm, most often I snack on White Cheddar Cheez-Its, and my favorite tea is ‘Breakfast in Paris’ with lavender honey.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?
DK: The best writing advice I’ve ever had came from the instructors at the Writer’s Retreat Workshop. Jason Sitzes and Lorin Oberweger (of Free Expressions Literary Services and the Donald Maass Agency) spurred me forward on my writing journey, and to this day their words resonate in my head and heart.
BOOKS+COFFEE: What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?
DK: The scariest thing? I’m not sure anything scares me anymore. Losing a child, the scariest thing a parent can go through, puts other things into perspective. I’ve faced the scariest event ever, all the rest is a cinch.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Is there a book, movie, or song that inspires you when you’re working?
DK: I adore the songs of Enya, and Andrea Bocelli. I think if inspiration is found in a voice, then these two people have it in abundance.
BOOKS+COFFEE: As a writer, I’m sure you also love reading. Do you have a favorite book and what do you love about it?
DK: Yikes, this is a hard question! I can’t pinpoint just one, so maybe my favorite ten?
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – powerful and evocative
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck – this was my daughter’s favorite book, so it’s mine, as well.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzGerald – the words, just love the words!!
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – such incredible world-building
- Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – again, such beauty and emotion in the words
- I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles – one of the first Tudor-era novels I read and loved
- Columns of Fire by Ken Follett – I loved this one because of my own book “Blood and Ink”
- The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye – the very first historical novel I read as a teenager
- The London Scene by Virginia Woolf – actually, everything by Virginia Woolf!!
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare – well, obviously.
BOOKS+COFFEE: What do you think is the most important thing to remember when following your dreams?
DK: Interestingly enough, I adore this quote by Ray Kroc, the businessman who founded McDonalds. There is utter truth in the quote: ““Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Now, let’s talk a little about your current book…
What’s the title of your current release and is it part of a series?
Kingfisher (Book One in the Kingfisher Series)
Who published Kingfisher?
My own imprint – The White Rabbit Publishing
Your cover looks amazing. Do you know who the artist is?
Yes, I am the book cover designer, my company – White Rabbit Arts. I’ve been a graphic designer for 37 + years from the day I graduated in 1984 to today, with countless experience working on magazine covers, layouts, photography, logo design, book covers, branding, and more. I design book covers for historical fiction authors at The Historical Fiction Company – www.thehistoricalfictionpress.com/book-design-packages
Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this story?
Yes, my love for Arthurian literature and in the words of Toni Morrison “If there is a book you want to read and it has not been written, then you must write it yourself.”
If there’s one thing a reader will take away from this story, what do you hope it is?
There is hope beyond suffering.
Any funny stories you can share about writing this book, or something that sparked the idea for it?
No funny stories… sorry!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
D. K. Marley is a Historical Fiction author specializing in Shakespearean adaptations, Tudor era historicals, Colonial American historicals, alternate historicals, and historical time-travel. At a very early age she knew she wanted to be a writer. Inspired by her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, she dove into writing during her teenage years, winning short story awards for two years in local competitions. After setting aside her writing to raise a family and run her graphic design business, White Rabbit Arts, returning to writing became therapy to her after suffering immense tragedy, and she published her first novel “Blood and Ink” in 2018, which went on to win the Bronze Medal for Best Historical Fiction from The Coffee Pot Book Club, and the Silver Medal from the Golden Squirrel Book Awards. Within three years, she has published four more novels (two Shakespearean adaptations, one Colonial American historical, and a historical time travel).
When she is not writing, she is the founder and administrator of The Historical Fiction Club on Facebook, and the CEO of The Historical Fiction Company, a website dedicated to supporting the best in historical fiction for authors and readers. And for fun, she is an avid reader of the genre, loves to draw, is a conceptual photography hobbyist, and is passionate about spending time with her granddaughter. She lives in Middle Georgia U.S.A. with her husband of 35 years, an English Lab named Max, and an adorable Westie named Daisy.
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/DK-Marley/e/B003MS4JPE