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Tuesday 10 August 2021

D K Marley's Novel, Kingfisher - my Tuesday Talk Coffee Pot Book Club guest

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The Inspiration Behind “Kingfisher”
by D. K. Marley

So many have asked me how I came up with the idea of this historical time travel novel and I always quote the famous line from Toni Morrison when she said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” When I first read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley decades ago, the book took my breath away and is still among one of my favorites of all time. I am a huge fan of Arthurian literature and keep my own copy of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King on my night stand.

When the COVID hit early in 2020, I was working on the next book in my Fractured Shakespeare series and found I was getting a bit bored with the topic. I wanted something more, something transcendant, especially after everyone started getting put in lockdown. It was then that I decided to binge-watch the Outlander series. I must admit, I had never read the books but the series completely engulfed me. It was after watching the first episode, the one where Clare falls through the stones of Craig na Dun, that the idea hit me. I remember saying to myself - “Wow, I’d love to read a story where a girl falls through something and awakens in Avalon.” The words of Toni Morrison voiced in my head. I took out my phone one day and typed out a brief outline. Within days, the story started developing and six months later, not only did I have the first novel written but the second and third were outlined. I knew this had to be the start of something. 

The more research I did, the more everything fell into place, sometimes in the most strange and magical way; such as, I chose to have my character, Vala, become friends with well-known real-life woman art aficionado and philanthropist, Gwendoline Davies, not realizing that later in my research I would discover that Gwendoline’s brother was friends with H. G. Wells, and that both of them were associated with the Round Table Society of the 1900s, as well as being instrumental in forming the principles of the League of Nations. The puzzle fit perfectly together as I wanted Vala to transform into the Lady of the Lake, the High Priestess of Avalon whose sole purpose is to bring peace and balance to Britain, using key players such as King Arthur and the 4th-century Knights of the Round Table.

Every single book that have a special place in my own private library inspired parts of this book – H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, and Relativity by Albert Einstein. All of these books played a role in the development and inspiration in writing Kingfisher.

Lastly, I knew I wanted part of the story to revolve around the legend of the kingfisher bird as I interpreted the legend to involve the Lady of the Lake. The mythical bird makes her home near the water, near the sea, and waits for the perfect peaceful time in the year to raise her young, thus the meaning behind the ‘halcyon days’; the Lady of the Lake makes her home in Avalon near the waters of a mist-covered lake, and uses her abilities to bring peace to the land. Perhaps, the Lady is the goddess Alcyone, the one who was transformed by the Gods into a kingfisher, and throughout time she waits for a time when Britain needs her to restore peace to the land. 

Another one of my inspirations for the novel is based on the line from Keats that reads, “Oh for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts.” This line is a thread throughout the novel and represents the distinction between the idyllic life of the Victorian era, and that of Camelot, versus the aftermath of WW1, and the destruction of King Arthur’s kingdom.

We all live during times of suffering and our own world has changed with the onset of this pandemic but how we emerge on the other side speaks a great deal of the courage and strength inside us all. Grief changes us, death changes us. Ultimately, the inspiration of Kingfisher lies in the commonality of the human condition and our desperate need to escape from time to time, whether in books or the imagination, and the beauty of hope lingering right there at the horizon. I am reminded of the line from The Great Gatsby – 

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
    Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . And one fine morning——So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

(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

Buy Links:
Available on #KindleUnlimited.

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:

Twitter Handle: @histficchickie @maryanneyarde
Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel #WW1 #KingArthur #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

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  1. I always enjoy reading the inspiration behind a story. Thank you!

  2. What a fabulous post.
    Thank you so much for hosting today's blog tour stop.

  3. Thank you Pat - and my pleasure Mary Anne


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