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Derek R King Interview

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Thanks, Lily, for inviting me to be part of your guest author feature.

When and how did you start writing?

I've been writing since my early teens. My first proper attempt at a poem was at thirteen. I wrote it perched on the side of a cliff, outside a town on the east coast of Scotland called North Berwick. It wasn't a humorous piece, but it was so bad when I read it aloud; even the seagulls laughed. But I enjoyed writing so much that I made up my mind to get better at it.

Tell me about your books.

Well, my first book is non-fiction and didn't really start at the outset as a book, more something to keep the grey cells going. I'd come across the name Clyde Kennard in several books about the US Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, but the information was very limited. This piqued my interest, and I began what became a journey of over ten years, reading and researching about Clyde Kennard and the time he lived in. Finally, with the research completed, I decided to publish in 2018.

This book became a springboard for the contract for three poetry books, Noir (or When the Night Comes) (2020), Natyre Boy (2021), and (the) Elegy (2022).

In the summer of 2021, I met the wonderful Julie Kusma, and since then have worked on several fantastic collaborations, with many more in the works and or planned for coming years. In addition to these seventeen published collaborations, I’ve self-published two other poetry books, Twelve Red Roses In Verse (2022) and Urban, also 2022. Both are very different in tone from the three previous poetry books. Several other poetry books are in the works, with Twelve More Red Roses In Verse and In Sun and Shade, both planned for 2023.

Your books are very varied. Is there anything you want to write that you haven’t so far?

I started a light romantic sci-fi novel a year or so ago, and I hope to finish it and publish it soon too.

You take a lot of photos that you use in your books. Do you have any plans to take that interest further?

I enjoy taking the photos for the collaboration books, my own, and for pleasure, but I don't have any plans to take this up professionally at the moment, but I guess you never really know.

Do the photos come first or the poems?

In the collaborations with Julie, it can be a mix. For inspirational books, the photo often comes first and inspires the poems. However, for the "Our Series," educational and keepsake, the words come first, with the photos complimenting the words, which is the same for my own books.

What would you do if you didn’t write?

I suppose I would answer this with, I am a full-time construction professional, that's my day job, but in reality, I cannot imagine not writing to be honest. It keeps me sane.

What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment?

I'm not sure I have achieved that yet, but working with Julie, I feel like I'm moving in that direction with our collaborations and my other writing.

What was your biggest challenge?

This is easy for me, having enough time to write and create with my day job. I usually manage it reasonably well, but sometimes the day job, you know, it just gets a bit….

What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

Two things for me here, first, my collaboration with Julie and, i.e., on our book The Poetry Mouse, where Literary Titan wrote, "King and Kusma take the ordinary and transform it into breathtaking.”

For myself, it has to be Literary Titan’s comment on my first book, the non-fiction, The Life and Times Of Clyde Kennard “Derek R. King has made a significant contribution to literature indeed.” These words gave me the confidence to continue writing.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

To carry on writing and reach people with my words.

What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?

Ha! Well, Julie and I have a collab list of around 40 million books at the moment (ha!), and it grows with every week that passes.

Seriously, I have two poetry books scheduled for next year, and maybe my novel too. These plus the twenty or so books Julie and I have slated for publication in 2023, which includes the children’s books The Enchanted Winter Faerie Realm, Zenardi’s Carnival of ABCs, several inspiration books, and additions to both Our Education and Our Keepsakes series.


Derek R. King, is a poet, musician and published author. He lives in Scotland, enjoys the great outdoors, long walks in the hills, the sounds of the seas and ocean, art, photography and good malt whisky.

You might spot him on a hill somewhere with his camera fist pumping and quietly muttering "Yes!" to himself if he’s captured a great image.

His main non-fiction work to date has been the award-winning non-fiction Civil Rights era book, "The Life And Times Of Clyde Kennard", which tells the true story of one man's attempt to go to college in those challenging times.

Derek has also written several short stories of which "Defying Convention" is included in the award winning Winter Chills anthology.

His poetry, which covers diverse topics, has been variously described as "emotive", "raw", "powerful" and "fun". ‘Noir (Or When The Night Comes)’ is the first collection of his poetry. He has since completed his trilogy with Natyre Boy and (The) Elegy. Urban was published in 2022. The sequel to Twelve Red Roses, Twelve More Red Roses In Verse is due to be published in 2023. In Sun and Shade will also be published this year. You can find out more about his books on Julie L Kusma's website.

Derek’s poetry has been featured online and a number of his pieces are included in Tracy Hutchinson’s book “2020 Together: An Anthology of Shorts.”

Since 2021 Derek has published a wide range of books for adults and children with his writing partner Julie L Kusma. There are approx twenty slated for publication in 2023, which include the children’s books The Enchanted Winter Faerie Realm, Zenardi’s Carnival of ABCs, several inspiration books, and additions to both Our Education and Our Keepsakes series.

You can follow Derek on Twitter at, where you’ll find the occasional poetry and photo post and on this Amazon author page You can subscribe to his newsletter here


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