12 October 2020

Special Guest Interview with D. K. Marley, author of The Fire of Winter

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

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.

I'm pleased to welcome author D. K. Marley to The Writing Desk:

Please tell us about your latest book

My latest book, "The Fire of Winter" is a historical adaptation of Shakespeare's play "Macbeth", told from the point-of-view of Lady Macbeth. As part of my set of books known as the Fractured Shakespeare books, I weave his plays with actual historical events. "The Fire of Winter" was a challenge since Shakespeare's play was not based on actual history but on his desire to appease King James' by showing a connection to Banquo's lines of Kings descending into the future as prophesied by the three witches. 

However, the real history of Macbeth is quite different. He, in truth, had a long successful and somewhat peaceful reign of nearly 17 years in Scotland. So, my challenge was to incorporate known history while staying true to the integrity of the play. I felt the key was with Lady Macbeth. She is a well-known character in the play but she actually has a very small part; however, her lines speak powerfully to her influence over her husband. My question to begin this novel was 'what was her deep motivation to kill and what was her story before meeting Macbeth'? 

What is your preferred writing routine? 

I spend most of the first part of a week, Monday through Wednesday, writing without restraint. Getting the words on the page first and letting my mind flow without any editing along the way. Later on, I will re-read what I wrote out loud to myself and do initial slashing to tighten the story; then, I set a goal of how many words to accomplish for the week to achieve a first draft with the ultimate goal of finishing a book within six months. I have learned this method for myself and the keeping to a time-line really pushes me to finish. My first novel "Blood and Ink" was not that way at all. I spent fifteen years of studying and researching and writing for that book until publication, but there was a lot I have learned through the years.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Go to a writer's retreat, a reputable one, such as The Break-out Novel with Donald Maass or the Writer's Retreat Workshop founded by Gary Provost. I went to WRW early on when I was writing my first novel and the experience has stayed with me for the past fourteen years. I learned more in those 10 days than I ever have in reading a single book about the process of writing. Even now, I still sign up occasionally for online courses with Free Expressions Seminars (Lorin Oberweger is a good friend and one of the instructors with the Donald Maass workshops). Never stop learning and pushing yourself to hone your craft!!

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books? 

Definitely, do a blog tour; several, in fact!! If you are passionate about your books, others will be, as well. Marketing is difficult and something I do not enjoy, but I have learned that you have to look at writing as a business, especially if you want this as a career. Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, you need to dedicate yourself to the long-haul. I've done several blog tours with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and reached a vast number of new readers that way.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.

With "The Fire of Winter" I was shocked to discover how much of Shakespeare's play was not based on historical facts and events of Macbeth's life. Also, I was amazed at the links of the family lines between Scotland and England during the 11th-century; such as, the possibility that William the Conqueror's mother might have been the half-sister of Macbeth macFindlaech.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing? 

The hardest scene was what happens to Gruah (Lady Macbeth) as a child of eight. This terrible scene that occurs on the day that Macbeth's father is killed by MailBrigte and Gille Comgain in their desperate attempt to seize the place as Mormaer of Moray. They partner with Donnchad (Duncan) to terrorize young Gruah, knowing she was the only female connection to a claim to the throne of Scotland. What they do to her fuel's a young girl's revenge and sparks the retribution coming to all of them in the later chapters.

What are you planning to write next? 

I am already working on book one in the "Kingfisher" historical time-travel series, my first attempt at this sub-genre, as well as the next book in the Fractured Shakespeare set based on the play, Romeo and Juliet.

D. K. Marley

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About the Author

DK Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in historical Shakespeare adaptations, historical time-travel, and alternate historicals. Her grandmother, an English 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. Find out more at her website https://www.histficchic.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @histficchickie

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