Behind the Writing of
A Slow Parade in Penderyn
Tell us about the background for the story, what inspired it or why you wanted to write this story.
Most of my stories come from a desire to explore certain subjects and motifs. The Dryad’s Crown is the first story in a multigenerational family saga. It’s about grief and love. I also wanted to write about strength in a nontraditional way. At first glance, Silbrey seems like your typical “strong female character”—but her ability to fight doesn’t help her much in the end. In some ways, it makes things more difficult. She has a lot of anger, and her problems can’t be solved with violence.
Is there meaning behind the title, or series name?
The Dryad’s Crown is a fairly straightforward title. Although, I think it’s amusing that I never once use the word “dryad” in the story itself. The crown takes on significance in a variety of ways. In this setting, a floral crown represents the relationship between parent and child. It honors Yoon, the great midwife goddess. It can also symbolize adoption and the family we choose. All of that can be found in the novel.
Tell us about character traits that were fun or hard for you to include in the book.
Gydan is a young child, but she grows up in a medieval setting, raised on a farm, so she’s more “grown up” than a modern child who is allowed to be young for a longer period. It was hard to write her youthfulness without just throwing out a number, e.g., she’s 5 or 8 or 13. She’s a fun character and her “old soul” maturity was a fun writing challenge.
What playlist did you listen to while creating this book?
I put together a Spotify playlist that I listened to nonstop while writing. The playlist features amazing artists like Sam Lee, Aurora, Wardruna, Myrkur, Sigur Ros, and Sissel Morken Gullord whose music is featured in the Dryad’s Crown audiobook—coming in September 2023.
Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book?
Gydan took on a much larger role as I started writing. At first, the story was just going to be third person limited with Silbrey as the sole POV. But Gydan and Maricel both earned POV honors in the main storyline.
Which of the side characters would you love to explore more, or turn into a main character in another series?
My next novel features Bren Caius during the war. It’s slightly inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry V. I’ve been hinting at her story since book one. I also have a novel planned for Tom the Barber. He’s a fun character, and my editor practically demanded more Tom.
What special knowledge or research was required to write this book?
I spent a lot of time studying folklore and fairy tales. I owe so much to the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman were an amazing resource for me—especially while I outlined the Dryad’s Crown and worked through the plot.
What’s the strangest thing you had to do to create this story?
I used tarot cards while writing the story. Is that strange? You can actually see symbols found in the major arcana throughout the first book, tracking the fool’s journey. The death card is practically a scene from the novel. And the minor arcana with wands, cups, swords, and pentacles—it’s all there.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope they get to experience a lot of “big feelings” throughout the story. If I do my job well, the reader will have some highs and lows while reading, a rollercoaster of emotions. By the end, I hope they feel like they’ve lived several lives—and that they’re excited for more.
Was there something major that happened in your personal life while writing this?
I wrote the first half during the last half of the Covid-19 lockdowns. A lot of quarantine novels coming out right now. This is one of them. Book 6 is practically a lockdown narrative. It was certainly the hardest part to write. I felt trapped and restless during it.
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Publication Date: 12.8.2020
The Dryad’s Crown Book 1 of 9
Page Count: 88 Pages
The fey child belonged to the forest. Fate sent her elsewhere.
With a bloody staff in one hand . . .
And a battered shield in the other . . .
Silbrey returns to the port city where she was first taught to kill.
While there, she discovers there is more to her troubling past, something magical and foreboding, far beyond the familiar cobbled streets. Silbrey must decide if she’ll take her revenge against the cruel guildmaster who trained her—or is mercy even an option?
What begins as a fairy tale transforms into a sweeping epic adventure about love and loss—and a woman with a strange connection to the natural world.
“In his series opener, Hopkins writes graceful and sinewy prose that vividly describes action, emotion, and inner life.” — Kirkus Reviews
Read this nine-part fantasy series today.
About the Author:
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David Hopkins is a fantasy novelist with an interest in Shakespeare, medieval history, fairy tales, and myth. He is the author of The Dryad’s Crown, a story set in the vast world of Efre Ousel. BookLife described book one of The Dryad’s Crown as “a welcome, inventive, humane fantasy, set at the scale of a single fascinating life.”
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.
David is married to artist and designer, April Hopkins. He has two daughters, Kennedy and Greta, and a dog named Moose.
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