Set in a fascinating world that’s reemerging from a devastating famine caused by genetically modified seeds, The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles, Book 1: The Crown begins in 1992, when a Dutch accountant flees to the United States after stealing millions from a notorious drug cartel. Adopting a new identity, Espen Koning settles down on a remote Virginia farm.
Two hundred years later, nineteen-year-old Lady Elise Koning’s induction as heir to the prime governorship of Virginia is underway. However, her indolence causes her grandmother, the current ruler, to warn Elise that her succession is not set in stone. She could still name her youngest son, Carl, as the heir instead. But unwilling to give up on Elise just yet, she recruits the former adviser to Elise’s deceased father to groom the young woman for her leadership role.
The rules of the game are changing, as Virginia follows the lead of neighboring Carolina in transforming into a sovereign kingdom. Elise is changing as well—to the chagrin of her longtime companion, Decker Regan.
As Elise prepares herself for the rigors of being a strong ruler, will treachery undo her efforts to rise to the occasion?
Where you can find The Virginia Kingdom Chronicles:
Interview with L.L.:
1. What prompted you to write your book?
During elementary and high school, I always enjoyed writing short stories and completing the creative writing tasks assigned in my English classes. I even attempted to write a Sweet Valley High book that I’d totally planned on mailing to the publisher in the hopes they’d include my idea in the series, although truthfully I never neared completion. Many years later, while sitting with my good friend on his balcony one night, we were talking about books and he confessed to recently losing all interest in reading. A copy of Game of Thrones that I’d lent him had sat on his shelf untouched for months. I told him in jest that if I wrote a book myself then he'd have no choice but to read it. The very next day, I started typing up an idea, and from there the story grew and grew into the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles. Koning House is actually based on the National Ballet School of Canada which sits across the street from my pal’s balcony. And the idea for the Black Harvest stemmed from his constant failure to grow potted tomatoes and peppers to which I always joked we’d starve to death if we relied on him to provide us with dinner. As for the idea of the Kingdom of Virginia, we once had a full conversation debating that if the American Revolution had failed, would the colonies have followed the European royalty system, unfolding into their own separate kingdoms with time?
2. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
George R.R. Martin- He didn’t just write a fantasy series, he created an entire other world that feels no less real than this one. Maurice Druon of the Accursed Kings series- This French writer brings to life the personalities of the 14th century French royal family and aristocracy, cloaking his historical books as page-turning novels. Nele Neuhaus- I love her thrillers covering the unique cases of German police detectives Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchoff. Once you start reading one, it is near impossible to put down. She is a master at plot-crafting which is why her novels top the German book lists. Julian Fellowes- The creator of the Downtown Abbey television series has also penned a couple novels, Past Imperfect and Snobs. These stories offer insight into the world of the English upper-classes, presented in a soothing reading-style to reveal the social nuances that separate the haves from the have-nots.
3. What inspires you to write?
Once I began thinking about writing an actual novel for my friend, all these characters and places and ideas started swarming about in my head so there was an urge to start putting everything to paper (or laptop screen). Yet even as the story takes form, there are days when I find myself weather-proofing my boots in the middle of summer rather than wanting to plug away at the keyboard. Sometimes I am just stuck on what to do with a character or how a story line should progress. So I leave it be and pick up another book, immersing myself in a completely different story. If I what I am reading is entertaining, the book often instigates a spark into how I shall continue my own story, and even if the book isn’t up to par, I find myself thinking, “Hey—I can do better than this!” And then I find myself right back at the old laptop…
4. If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?
I am a huge soccer fan which is why I rarely write on weekend mornings while the English Premier League is in session (five hour time difference between Toronto and England). I cheer for Manchester United, so if I could meet any one celebrity it would definitely be the legendary and recently retired team manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. I envision us drinking lager and sitting side-by-side in the stands of Old Trafford as Manchester plays on, trading quips and commentary, laughing as he regales me with locker room gossip. I believe Sir Alex would be a right hoot to spend a match with.
5. What would you like your readers to know about you?
I work in Canadian government, so I am very familiar with the inner-workings of the political system and how the lure of power and money can easily corrupt. There is a lot of background plotting in the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles which is based on my own observations from my career in politics. I am actually in my late-thirties (although I don’t feel it,) and when I started a twitter account to help promote my book, I realized not a single one of my friends actually participates on Twitter. I guess Facebook is enough for my crowd. I love to travel, and one of my next planned destinations is to the Netherlands. For although the country plays an important role in my series, I’ve never actually had the pleasure of visiting. I can’t wait to walk along the canal in Amsterdam.
6. If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
Always be prepared with a Plan B. It helps take the sting out of disappointment and rejection. For example, with the release of the first book of the Virginia Kingdom Chronicles, there is always the uncertainty that readers will hate the concept, detest the writing, and flag it down with one-star reviews. How can I brace for that? I have another completely different novel in the works. Meaning, if need be, I can just start placing my concentration on that book, and having that back-up novel immediately gives me more confidence. Going for a promotion at work? Why not apply to outside jobs too? Knowing there are always other options will lessen the blow if that promotion doesn’t come to fruition.
Where you can find L.L.: