Today in the Library we have D. K. Marley, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, D.K., please introduce yourself
Hi, my name is D. K. Marley and I am a historical fiction author specializing in Shakespearean themes. A literary agent called me the “Shakespearean Madeline Miller” since my Fractured Shakespeare Series is all about transforming the plays of the Bard into historical fiction adaptations. I was introduced to his works at the age of eleven by my grandmother, who was an English Literature professor, and since then his words have entranced me and influenced my own writings. I travelled to England three times over the past twenty years on research trips, attending debate lectures at the Globe Theatre, and immersing myself into the secrets behind the sonnets and hidden clues within the plays themselves. I am a blogger, and I have written articles for the Marlowe-Shakespeare Society, attended the Writer’s Retreat Workshop in 2006, and am President of a local author’s group. I live in Georgia U. S. A. with my husband, an English Lab and a Scottish Terrier named Molly McScottie.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I write historical fiction. I must admit I am hooked on research when writing in this genre. The sheer act of delving into the past as if you are stepping through a portal in time is quite intoxicating and I have to remind myself to get back to writing.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read, as well, but I do love literary fiction, historical fantasy, and every once in a while, I will indulge in a dystopian.
Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?
I am a self-published author with hopes to go into traditional publishing at some point in my writing career. Many people ask me why I don’t dive into the deep waters of the traditional world and my answer is always the same. I chose to go the self-publishing route five years ago when my husband and I suffered a horrific tragedy in our family – my daughter and son-in-law were killed by a drunk and drugged driver running from the police. Grief changes you in ways you cannot imagine, especially when losing children. Not only has writing been a source of therapy for me, but I feel I have taken a bit of control over my life by self-publishing my own novels. It is really hard to explain, but I truly feel a small sense of happiness in being an Indie author. I am not sure if waiting, perhaps years, to see if my manuscripts might be accepted by an agent or traditional publisher would have brought me the measure of therapeutic release I needed at this time in my life. Four and a half years have passed since they died and I have written and published four novels. To me, this is a success for now.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
First and foremost, my grandmother who shared with me her love of writing. Second, my eleventh grade English teacher, Ms. Jeanne Centa. She helped me develop my love of writing and was a huge encouragement to keep pushing forward. I even went back to visit her years after graduation to share with her some of my writings. Third, the incredible staff of editors, writers, and agents of the Writer’s Retreat Workshop, especially Lorin Oberweger and Bill Luse, who have mentored me and encouraged me through the years. I still hear both of their voices in my head of things I could do to improve and to never give up on my dream of writing. Last, my husband. Without his support and love, especially with all that we have gone through over the past four years, not a single story would have made it from my mind to the page.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Interesting question. I have to answer an emphatic ‘NO’. I have always felt that I live in the wrong place and in the wrong generation. I live in the Southern United States, and with the exception of my one novel, “Child of Love & Water”, I truly have no interest in writing about the South. I am a true Anglophile, so I feel that the history of Great Britain has influenced my writing more than anything.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
The most difficult aspect of writing for me is not having enough time to write. I would love to do this full-time. As I am working on one book, I already have at least another three to four in my head, and since I am limited in the amount of time I can write, I do find myself getting a bit frustrated and depressed at times. I have to make myself step back and focus on whatever my current WIP is, take a deep breath, and stop doing word counts at the end of the day.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
Never give up. A writer writes, good or bad, and sometimes it is more bad than good, but never let that get you down. Not every story will be great and you will never be able to please everyone with your writing – so write what you know, love what you write for yourself first, be flexible enough to make needed changes (Yes, even if it means scraping entire chapters), and don’t let criticism take you out of the game.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Yes, I love to write at night when everyone is asleep. The house is quiet, the crickets outside are chirping, and my brain is focused on the tapping away of the keys on the keyboard of my computer.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I love photography! For a while, before my daughter died, I was a wedding photographer, as well as a conceptual art photographer. I still take pictures from time to time now, but more as a hobby instead of a job.
If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?
This is an easy question as I have thought of this for quite sometime about every single one of my novels.
Blood and Ink – Benedict Cumberbatch as Christopher Marlowe, Tom Hiddleston as William Shakespeare
Prince of Sorrows – Liam Hemsworth as Hamlet
The Fire of Winter – Scott Kyle as Macbeth, Saoirse Ronan as Lady Macbeth
If you could live the life of a historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?
I would want to live the life of Queen Elizabeth the First. I would love to know her mind, the things she thought about, her choices and decisions about love and marriage, about the state of her country, her fears and worries, as well as her passions.
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
Even though I love the Tudor era, I think I have to choose the Regency period. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors and I adore the idea of living in an era surrounded by simple elegance and exquisite manners.
You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein
Please tell us about your latest published work
My latest published work is The Fire of Winter. The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.
“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…” (Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)
She is known as Lady Macbeth. What leads her down the path of murder? What secrets fire her destiny?
Gruah, the granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne. Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?
“This beautifully written reworking of the Macbeth tale told from Lady Macbeth’s point-of-view flows from the page and you quickly become immersed in the politics and intrigues of feudal Scotland as she fights for her rightful place and her true love! A mesmerising read that grips from start to finish and Gruah is now one of my all-time favourite literary crushes.” – Iain Leonard, ARC Reviewer
The Fire of Winter is on a book blog tour from July 22 – August 19, 2019 – a giveaway for the chance to win one of three signed hardcovers and a special gift with each, plus reviews and spotlights from 24 different historical fiction bloggers.
Amazon US Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SGYFZT8
Amazon UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07SGYFZT8
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dkmarley.author
Author Website: http://www.dkmarley.com
Author Blog: https://themingledyarnoflife.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/DK-Marley/e/B003MS4JPE