Natalie P. Jenkins, author of The Last Kings of Deheubarth

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I published my first book, most of the time I was just writing for fun and didn’t really expect to get anywhere. It was my hobby that I found a lot of peace in. I did some work as a translator before this, but my writing was still just a hobby. In 2018, when my fiancé died, is when I started writing professionally and published my first book.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I’ve always been fascinated by medieval times. One of my favorite movies is Braveheart and when in college, I studied ancient cultures and languages. However, that’s not the only reason I wrote this book. What got me interested in this particular story was researching my family history. I have a master’s degree in ancient languages and cultures, so when I came across the story of Princess Nesta of Wales being captured and taken to Ireland, I had to know more. So upon searching, I learned about her entire family and the very intense story of her father fighting for his kingdom.

What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre that they need to know?

The most important thing people don’t know is that historical fiction is based on real history. As a matter of fact, most of this is real. The only thing that is fictional is the dialog and Rhys’ friends Aberthol and Llewelyn.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?

I started writing this book at the end of 2020, during NaNoWriMo. I had planned to do this for a while, but the only time I had available was in November. Unfortunately, I did not reach 50,000 words in a month partially because I’d just entered a new relationship and he was my focus at the time. Fast forward two years, and though the relationship didn’t work out, the book did! Focusing on writing this book helped me get through heartbreak. I was able to live in medieval Wales instead of in reality.

Tell us more about your main character. What inspired you to develop this character?

My main character is Rhys ap Tewdwr, referred to often as Prince Rhys in The Last Kings of Deheubarth. This character is based on the real Rhys ap Tewdwr, but his personality was completely developed by me. The only hint of his personality that I found in historical records was his pride in his alliance with King William of England. Rhys is quite a sweet guy. He gets a little bit nervous, especially when it comes to making decisions. However, he is also really tough and doesn’t shy away from the fighting. As with most main characters, he also has a flaw of liking to drink and party. 

What is your next project?

My next project is the second book in The Last Kings of Deheubarth trilogy. The second book will focus on Rhys’ son Gruffydd and of course the very famous tale of Princess Nesta, which is what inspired me to write this series to begin with. 

What one person from history would you like to meet and why?

This is such a hard question to answer because there are so many people from history that I’d love to have a conversation with, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Anne Boleyn, William Shakespeare, and Abraham Lincoln. However, the one person I’d love to meet more than any of them is Cleopatra. The reason is that there’s so much mystery surrounding her and where her tomb is. The researcher and historian in me would love to ask her questions to get answers to these mysteries.

Want to learn more about Natalie P. Jenkins?

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