Today let’s welcome author DK Marley who writes historical fiction with Shakespearean themes. Her deep passion for Shakespeare is reflected in her books, including the Fractured Shakespeare Novels, in which she’s adapting each of Shakespeare’s plays into a historical fiction novel.
Linda Covella: I’m so glad you could join us today, DK.
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
DK Marley: I always loved story-telling since I was very young. My grandmother was an English Literature professor and journalist, so I picked up a lot from her and she did so much to encourage me. I knew around the age of eleven that I would follow in her footsteps of being a writer.
LC: What is your writing process: where do you write, how often do you write, are you a full-time or part-time writer, do you outline or do you plot as you go, etc.?
DKM: I have a cosy little place in my bedroom, near a window overlooking my backyard, where I write. I try to write every day, but more or less set a word count goal for myself each week. One book a year is my goal for now, and I usually start in September full on writing straight through till February. Then, I use March through May to revise, with a goal of publishing by June or July. August is when I get my thoughts together for the next book. I definitely outline, making timelines and notecards to plot my novel, especially since I do historical fiction in order to keep up with dates and historical figures.
LC: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories? Do you draw from your own experiences?
DKM: All of my inspiration comes from my love of Shakespeare. Each of my novels are based on one of his plays or a character from one of his plays, may have Shakespearean themes. Again, my grandmother gave me her college book of Shakespeare’s plays when I was eleven and after that I was hooked.
LC: Who is one of your favorite characters from your story(ies), one that you enjoyed creating and writing about, and why?
DKM: Without a doubt, Christopher Marlowe, from Blood and Ink. I learned so much about his life and supposed death during my research and felt like we became friends during the process. I think he was very misunderstood in a lot of ways and a very likely candidate for the writing or collaboration of the plays attributed to Shakespeare.
LC: He sounds like a fascinating character and subject.
Do you incorporate (or inadvertently find) any of your own personality traits into your characters?
DKM: Not very often, except maybe for Muirin in Child of Love & Water. She is quite a dreamer and longs for a world of beauty and peace, so in that since, we are very much alike.
LC: Do you find your stories are more plot driven or character driven? Please explain.
DKM: I find that my stories are very character driven, and many have told me the same after reading my stories. People are such complex creatures. There is so much about the human condition, personalities, struggles, trials, emotions, pain, love, etc. that moves my characters through their lives in a way that the plot forms naturally. I love truly delving into my characters, whether made-up or actual historical figures, so much so that I have to stop and make myself start writing. The act of research and development is truly a love of mine as a historical fiction writer.
LC: Did you read much as a child?
DKM: Very much! Everything I could get my hands on. My favorite book as a child is no surprise – Alice in Wonderland.
LC: How important do you think reading is for writers?
DKM: Essential!! Like breathing. Reading teaches you to be a better writer. It teaches you about style, about craft, about yourself, and gives you direction about where you want to go (or where you do not want to go) with your own writing.
LC: Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? What draws you to them?
DKM: First and foremost, William Shakespeare, for obvious reasons. Second, Carlos Ruis Zafon (The Shadow of the Wind) and John Steinbeck (East of Eden). I am drawn to books and authors who while creating a story also have something profound to say in the words. It might be something as simple as one sentence that strikes a chord in my heart, but once it does, I will read the book over and over. In Zafon’s books, I have taken a yellow highlighter to his words, marking the profound sentences and sometimes I will just peruse over them to remind myself of what my ultimate goal is as a writer – to reach out beyond the page and touch someone’s heart.
LC: A worthy goal, and what all writers hope to do!
Anything new in the works?
DKM: Yes, I am currently in the revision stage of my fourth novel, the next in the Fractured Shakespeare Novels, titled The Fire of Winter, which tells the story of the real Lady Macbeth, Gruah, in 11th-century Scotland.
LC: Another fascinating subject. We’ll look forward to reading that!
Thanks so much for answering the 10 Questions, DK. I really enjoyed learning more about you and your work.
DK Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature professor, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.
She is a true Stratfordian (despite the topic of her novel “Blood and Ink”), a Marlowe fan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She is also a blogger for her blog “The Jabberwocky Blog” on WordPress. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terrier named Maggie.
Connect with DK:
Amazon Profile: https://www.amazon.com/DK-Marley/e/B003MS4JPE
Blood and Ink Winner of the Bronze Medal for Best Historical Fiction of 2018 from the Myths, Legends and Coffee Pots Book Blog and Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Cover for March 2019 from Discovering Diamonds Book Review. Available in ebook, paperback, hardcover and Audible.
Prince of Sorrows (Book One of the Fractured Shakespeare Novels: Hamlet) Available in ebook, paperback, and Audible.
Child of Love & Water Available in ebook and paperback.
The Fire of Winter (Book Two of the Fractured Shakespeare Novels: Macbeth) Coming June 2019.