Author of The Dryad’s Crown series
Join me as I chat to David Hopkins, author of the Dryad’s Crown series of novellas as he releases the third installment. You can find A Red Moon over Rhyll on pre-order on Amazon. Welcome David! Please tell us a little about the Dryad’s Crown series.
David: The Dryad’s Crown is a high fantasy series. It has dragons and fey and goblins and dark gloomy forests and all the things we love about fantasy. But ultimately, The Dryad’s Crown is about Silbrey, a person who deals with her traumatic past, the loss of her husband, her relationship with her children, and her strange connection to nature. It’s a big story. There’s a lot to explore. The series will consist of ten novellas. The third book, A Red Moon Over Rhyll will be available on Tuesday, June 29th through Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. It’s available for pre-order right now. (See links at end of interview).
Helen: Ten novellas is an enormous undertaking, congratulations on the release of the third installment. Your covers are very delicate and nature orientated, tell us how you chose the design.
David: I’m fortunate that my wife April is a graphic designer. She’s designed the covers with licensed art by Julia Dreams on Creative Market. Since we’re on a schedule to release these novellas every three months, we needed something that looks good, which can be put together on a deadline and works as a series. The covers don’t give away anything plot wise. Instead, they establish an earthy aesthetic—and could also look like a collection of fairy tales. Each cover features small touches that distinguish them and have meaning within the story. For A Red Moon Over Rhyll, the bees are significant. I wanted the covers to have an original appearance and be easily identified. April did that very well. Also, I didn’t want the exterior cover art to compete with the interior illustrations of Daniel Decena, which are absolutely stunning. Daniel has his own style, so the covers needed to not go off in a different direction.
Helen: The covers are beautiful. You have set yourself quite a goal to release a novella every three months. What made you write this story?
David: I’ve been writing fiction for the better part of two decades, but I’ve never told a story with such an epic scope, not like this. For me, that’s part of the appeal of The Dryad’s Crown. By the end of it, you’ve witnessed Silbrey’s life. This massive character arc, a story of wonder and hope and beauty, an amazing heroic adventure. As the author, I’ll be with you to the very end—and we’ll experience it together.
Helen: Have you always written high Fantasy?
David: I’ve been all over the place as a writer. Visit my website (https://thatdavidhopkins.com), and you’ll see for yourself! For many years, I wrote comic books and graphic novels in a variety of genres. Every book was something different. Emily Edison was an all-ages superhero story. Karma Incorporated was a story about con artists. Astronaut Dad was the coming-of-age family drama and historical fiction. I was determined to prove how versatile the comic medium was. Shifting genres felt like, at times, a sacred mission and at other times, an indulgence. Beyond comics, I also worked as a journalist, writing magazine features. I co-wrote a memoir about a burlesque dancer from the 60s. My short story collection is a smattering of different genres. And my last novel was an apocalyptic satire. To any fans, I have to apologize. You enjoyed something I’ve written, and then I’m off in a completely different direction. It’s made me a much better writer, but it’s not a good way to “build your brand.”
I was at least a little consoled to see Neil Gaiman make a similar confession in the introduction to The Neil Gaiman Reader: Selected Fiction. He worked in comics, in journalism, and as a novelist. I’m no Neil Gaiman, but at least, we’ve both been guilty of similar crimes.
For the foreseeable future, I write high fantasy. That’s my favorite genre to read and watch. It’s the one that comes most naturally to me. Going forward, I hope to stay on task—and build my reputation as a fantasy writer. I have plenty of stories to tell.
Helen: You must be writing at every moment! Do you prefer silence or music playing in the background.
David: For The Dryad’s Crown, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Lee (https://samleesong.co.uk/), especially his new album, Old Wow, which is just amazing. In particular, the song “The Moon Shines Bright” is the unofficial theme for the series. If I could license it for a book trailer or audiobook, I absolutely would. It is such a sad, tender, and wise song. The world offers no plans or promises. Our time is not long. Cherish it. The lyrics connect the cycles of plant life, particularly trees and flowers, with that of a person’s life—and in that way, it feels a bit dryadic without being too direct.
Helen: I must admit I have a playlist when I write as well. Though I’m often so deep in the story that I don’t realise it’s finished, so silence works for me too! Authors tend to read a lot, do you have a favourite book?
David: For an author who has had a difficult time settling on a single genre, Moby-Dick is a good choice. Yes? It straddles several genres and defies easy definitions. I discovered the novel late in life. When I first read Moby-Dick, I liked it and then I hated it and then I loved it. This peculiar novel does that to the reader. From time to time, the story just occupies my thoughts. It’s had an effect on me. I spent a lot of time just in awe of what Melville created, the world he built for his audience. It’s not a fantasy novel, and yet, it absolutely feels like one to me.
Helen: Thank you so much for spending time with me today. I wish you luck with the launch of third book on July 13th. Just to finish, do you have any book recommendations for our readers?
David: Anything by Ursula K. Le Guin. She’s always at the top of my recommendations. She’s definitely a writer for writers. Her style has a grace and brilliance—like Joan Didion, but not as showy. As far as books I’ve read recently, The Unbroken by C.L. Clark is the best novel I’ve read this year. It’s stunning. Powerful. Entertaining. Hugo worthy! I can’t say enough good things about it. Other books I’d recommend would be: A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark, The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman, Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, and the Galaxy Run series by Sam Renner.
About the Author:
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David Hopkins writes a little bit of everything. His work includes the novel WEAR CHAINMAIL TO THE APOCALYPSE, the short story collection WE MISS ALL THE GREAT PARTIES, and the burlesque memoir THE WILD AND WAYWARD TALES OF TAMMI TRUE. David has been a regular contributor to D Magazine, Smart Pop Books, and Fanboy Radio. He has written op-eds for the Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune, comic books and graphic novels in a variety of genres, and even a few D&D adventures.
IndieReader described WEAR CHAINMAIL TO THE APOCALYPSE as “a black humor-filled romp through the end times that starts with a bang and doesn’t relent, mixing in moments of suspense and pathos.” Also, from the review: “Overflowing with personality and told in a distinctive voice, the book details a creatively imagined post-apocalyptic world one would want to spend more time in.”
You can find more about David via:
You can purchase David’s series from Amazon:
Book One: A Slow Parade in Peneryn
Book Two: A Hidden Burrow Near Barcombe
Book Three: A Red Moon over Rhyll Pre-order (Launch 13th July 2021)