Interview with Kim Headlee, author by Robert Raker

RR: I am fascinated by your interest in the Arthurian Legend. When did this interest begin?
KH: Believe it or not, I have been enthralled by the Arthurian Legends for almost half a century. When I was 7, my parents took me to see the movie Camelot on opening day, and I was utterly hooked. The two most memorable images from that first viewing (of many) were the unmarried Guinevere in her white fur coat at the beginning, and the knights fighting and breaking the Round Table at the end. Both images have shaped my vision of the Legends ever since.

RR: You appear to have traveled to many locations? Do you have a favorite? Is there a place you’d like to visit that you haven’t yet?
KH: Too many to count. I was fortunate enough to have been a world traveler by age 5, and in fact I celebrated my 5th birthday in Tokyo, my 9th in Mexico City, and my 51st in Cancun. My family hails from all over northern Europe — St. Petersburg, Oslo, Berlin — and I’ve been fortunate to visit those places, as well as Cairo, Athens, London, Edinburgh, Rome, Venice, Paris, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, New Delhi, Luxembourg, Belize, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, and Aruba, to name a few in no particular order, to say nothing of all the places I’ve lived in and visited across the United States, including Hawaii.Identifying a favorite is so hard!! But I must say I have a special place in my heart for the BritishIsles, especially southern Scotland and northern England, since that’s where most of my fiction is set.As for places I have yet to visit — I can now cross Australia off that list, since I just returned from a lovely 10-day trip to the Gold Coast (Queensland) which included a day-trip to Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Still left on the list: cruises to Alaska, the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian fjords; I need to round out my experiences in the British Isles with trips to Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Scottish Highlands, and the Orkneys and perhaps even the Faroes; and I would love to do a photo safari somewhere in Africa, as well as a Holy Land tour someday. I guess I had better get started, then!

RR: Who are some of your favorite authors?
KH: The late Mary Stewart was — and still is — my favorite literary hero. I enjoyed her thrillers, such as The Moon Spinners andTouch Not the Cat. But the main reason her work is so important to me is that her Arthurian series, colloquially dubbed the “Merlin Trilogy” — to which I was introduced in high school — was what set me on the path toward researching and creating my own version of the “historical” Arthur and his wife, family, friends, allies, and enemies. I feel tremendously honored and humbled whenever a reviewer compares my work to hers, which has happened more than once throughout the course of Dawnflight’s publication history.Mark Twain, of course, is another huge influence, since in November I will be releasing the ebook edition of a sequel to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, titled King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court (KASIWC). I read and analyzed several of Twain’s works in the course of researching KASIWC, since it is written as if by Twain himself. To this day, I stand amazed at how timeless his works remain, even though they were very much rooted in the culture and society of his day.

RR: Which is your favorite genre to read?
KH: You’re asking the Cross-Genre Queen?? Ha. That’s like asking a loaf of marble rye whether it prefers being next to a loaf of light rye or pumpernickel! I don’t gravitate to genre as much as I gravitate to the story, and the more well written, the more enjoyable it is for me. My tastes are fairly eclectic — everything from the nearly incomprehensible but hilarious science fiction of Stanislaw Lem to Hemmingway and Steinbeck.

RR: You state that writing fiction is your passion. When did that passion first begin?
KH: Just a few months before I saw Camelot for the first time, as a matter of fact. I woke up from a dream that was so weird and intense that I had to start crafting a story around it. I’ve been writing stories ever since… and some, like Dawnflight, can still trace their genesis to dreams I’ve had. For me, pursuing my dreams is quite literally a way of life.

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