Some Thoughts with ... David Hopkins

19 Mar 2024

The Author/s

David Hopkins

David Hopkins

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. David is married to artist and designer, April Hopkins. They have two daughters, Kennedy and Greta, and a dog named Moose.

David is a full member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association) and founder of Cake and Prose. David teaches classes through He’s also an instructor for the ArmadilloCon writers workshop in Austin.  

The Interview

1.- Could you introduce yourself to the readers of the blog?
I write epic fantasy novels. I nerd out about a lot of things—such as chess, Dungeons & Dragons, Shakespeare, Marvel Comics, medieval history, and basketball. I’ve lived in Texas most of my life. I’m married. I have two daughters. I’m old enough where pretty much everything in Stranger Things rings very true, except the monsters and shadow dimension. But otherwise, that was my childhood.

2.- When did you start writing?
It’s a boring answer, but as long as I can remember. I grew up reading comics and fantasy books. My parents would always take me to B.Dalton at the mall and buy me something to read—and I wanted to be that person with their name on the cover. As an adult, I wrote comics for small press publishers. Then I wrote for magazines, which paid better. I was a sportswriter for a time. I taught high school English and Creative Writing, then I got into marketing. About ten years ago, I started writing prose fiction until falling into this fantasy series, which has been the most rewarding.

3.- What made you choose self-publishing?
I got really tired with the endless Writer’s Digest cover stories about finding an agent or tips for writing the perfect query letter, workshops on getting published, or pitch fests that amounted to “agent speed dating.” There’s a whole industry around getting published. It preys on the hopes and dreams of my peers. I didn’t want to be part of it. If an agent or a publisher wants me, they know how to find me. And if they can offer me a good deal, I’ll take it. But otherwise, I’m just going to publish my novels on my own. I’ll build my readership on my own. As long as the quality remains high and I’m able to get it to the people who want it, and I maintain all the creative control, I’m happy.

4.- How did the idea of Tales from Efre Ousel appeared?
It was a combination of things. I wanted to write a fantasy world that felt instantly recognizable, but still unique—something that felt historically true to itself. I wanted to create a setting where I could occupy the rest of my life populating it with meaningful stories. I want to dive into court intrigue, succession drama, and thrilling adventures. The great thing about Tales from Efre Ousel is that the larger story arc is still unfolding.

5.- What inspired you to write The Dryad’s Crown?
Initially, I was inspired by online feminist critiques regarding the “strong female character” stereotype. That strength was ultimately a “male strength.” And the not-so-subtle message was essentially fascism. Let’s celebrate power. How do you write a heroic character with nuance and not glorify solving problems through violence? In the Dryad’s Crown, the Ancient Beast only gets stronger when you fight it—so it requires a different approach. One that is ultimately the denial of self. And who better to understand such sacrifice than a parent? Obviously, the character of Bren Caius typifies the “strong female character,” but her life is a mess. Her family is in shambles. She creates more problems than she solves. So, Silbrey is the counterpoint to that. Bren absolutely knows who she is, but Silbrey is still trying to figure it out. I’m amused by people who are frustrated by Silbrey, but seem to have no problem with Bren. The novel needed to be more than just a theme wrapped in an ideology, but that’s where the story began—and then it developed from there.

6.- From all the self-publishing process, which parts would you say are your favourite ones and why?
I love editing. With each pass, the book becomes a little better. And that’s very reassuring. If I’m being honest, seeing the cover for the first time is also a lot of fun. I work with some great artists and designers. It’s very cool to see what they bring to the collaboration.

7.- Sometimes you have talked about Shakespeare influencing your books, could you explain a bit more of this?
My wife is a classically-trained painter and portrait artist. She studied at an atelier and was mentored by the best. She’s incredibly talented. One thing I learned from watching my wife develop her craft is the importance of studying old masters. For a writer, who else would that be, but Shakespeare? I’ve spent several years digging deep into Shakespeare’s work. It’s the best writing education. Obviously, Shakespeare’s prose style isn’t necessarily one you could easily emulate. But looking at his work—both at the high-level view and up close—there’s a lot to learn. George R.R. Martin always talks about how he was inspired by history, but I see a lot of Shakespeare in there. Tyrion as Richard III. Jon Snow as Hamlet. Cersei Lannister as Lady Macbeth. Robb Stark as Henry V. Tywin as King Lear. Or Littlefinger as Iago. It’s all there.

8.- What does David Hopkins like to do in his free time?
Not surprisingly, I enjoy visiting bookstores and libraries. I like going to the Ren Faire in the spring, and Shakespeare Dallas during the summer. If I need to completely take a break from all things fantasy, then I enjoy watching basketball.

9.- What can we expect from David Hopkins in the future?
War of the Hounds is coming out this summer. It’s a shorter standalone story focusing on the young Bren. Then (hopefully) the Summer Sword next year, which continues the main storyline. I have the first eight books planned, but that doesn’t mean the series will stop there. Each novel will feel complete in itself. (I think that’s important.) But the larger story will be worth following as well.

If you are interested on what you've read, you can order his books using this handy link