The Oakland Post

The creative mind behind ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter’

Hannah Enderle, Contributor

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Karen Dionne, author of “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” visited Oakland University this past fall while promoting her new book.  She says that although she’s always loved to read and write, she didn’t start writing professionally until after her college day were over.

While I have always loved to read and won creative writing awards when I was in high school, I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my mid-forties when my children were nearly grown,” she said.

Born in 1953 in Akron, Ohio, Dionne and her family moved to Michigan when she was eight years old. In 1971, Dionne graduated from Grosse Pointe North High School and then continued her education at the University of Michigan.

Dionne is also the author of, “Freezing Point” (2008), “Boiling Point” (2011) and “The Killing: Uncommon Denominator” (2014). She came up with the inspiration to write when she woke up in the middle of the night with the first few sentences of the book fully formed in her head. 

I wasn’t dreaming about this character,” Dionne said. “She was just there talking to me. Middle-of-the-night ideas don’t always look quite as wonderful in the morning, but this one did, so I wrote a few paragraphs in her voice as if she were telling me who she was. I think it’s interesting that those paragraphs are now the first pages of the novel. Over the following days as this character kept talking to me, I kept writing in her voice and before long I was so captivated, I decided I needed to find a story for her.”

“The Marsh King’s Daughter,” was recently chosen by the Library of Michigan as a notable book and is also the winner of the Suspense Magazine’s Crimson Scribe Award.  Now that the book is getting some recognition, Dionne enjoys talking to those who enjoyed reading the story that she enjoyed writing so much. 

Some of the most interesting questions at book events come from people who have already read, ‘The Marsh King’s Daughter,'” Dionne said. “When readers want to know why the character said or acted in a specific way or wonder why I wrote something in a certain way, it really makes me think.”

Dionne says that she has no plans to stop writing novels anytime soon and is aiming high. 

Ten years from now I would love to be writing compelling literary fiction. A National Book Award or a Pulitzer nomination would be nice,” she said.

As writing is so quickly becoming part of who she is, Dionne wonders why she waited so long to start putting words on the page professionally.

“The Marsh King’s Daughter,” is set to be on the big screen with Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander playing Helena. Oscar-nominated director Morten Tyldum known for “The Imitation Game” and “Passengers” is set to direct.

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