AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: KRISTINA KNIGHT
Debut author and freelance writer Kristina Knight has stopped by to chat with the JR Bunnies…..
Tell us a little about What a Texas girl wants, what inspired you to write What a Texas girl wants?
I was actually writing a different book when these characters came into my head – and wouldn’t leave me alone. They pushed at my subconscious, interrupted when I wanted to be working on other books but I couldn’t figure out their story, no matter how hard I tried. I think this book had about 5 different starts and nothing gelled until I heard the Toby Keith song, ‘Stays in Mexico’. Then we were off and rolling!
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
No. I had one scene – Jackson and Kathleen waking up, naked, on a beach. I had no clue what their story was, how they’d gotten there or what it meant. That was part of the issue. I kept trying to start the book in a different place or a different way and it just didn’t work. Once I figured out why they were there (thanks to Toby Keith, again!) it was fun to figure out the rest.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I actually started writing romantic suspense. I love mysteries and whodunits, but those books just don’t fit my voice. I turned to contemporary about 4 years ago and I’ve been so happy! Contemporary romance fits my author voice, I love telling character-based stories and exploring emotional issues. I still dream of writing a really great romantic suspense, though.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I do. My favorite character – so far – is Santiago Cruz, the hero in my second book The Saint’s Devilish Deal. He’s broken and alone and guilt-ridden because of the past. I loved writing him!
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Jackson from What a Texas Girl Wants. Like Santiago he had a lot of emotional baggage, but he kept a lot of it hidden. I don’t think I got Jackson entirely ‘right’ until my editor, Jennifer Lawler, told me to really make him suffer.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Oh, this could get me in trouble! I’m a people-watcher, so I pick up mannerisms all over the place but I’ve never used an actual person from my life in one of my stories. That would be too weird; I’d be so worried they would be offended that it just wouldn’t work. Those little tics and mannerisms, though, are fair game!
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
The beginning. I love the beginning of a story when the characters are fresh and I’m still figuring out the storyline and goals and motivations. At the same time, getting those things right is a struggle and I’m not the kind of writer who can move forward if the goals and motivations are screwy. Once I get the storyline figured out, though, I roll.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m shy when I first meet people. I’ve learned to deal and most people don’t even know it, but meeting people is very hard for me.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Reality television. Not the talent show types, but the ‘real-life-drama’ types.
What TV Shows are you addicted to?
The new ‘Dallas’ show! I remember watching the originals when I was waaaaaay too young to be watching, and seeing JR and Bobby and the rest of the Ewing clan again is so fun! The writers have done a great job of making the show about the new generation, too. It’s wonderful.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
No interruptions, which is why I regularly don’t write at home. I have a 4-year-old who is always wondering what I’m doing so I grab my iPad and head to Starbucks or the café at a bookstore. I can deal with noise and people – as long as they aren’t asking questions like, ‘what are you doing now, mom?’
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Yes! I make playlists to all my books. I don’t listen to the playlist as I’m drafting – for that I need light jazz or classical – but when I’m editing, I’ll put on the playlist. It helps me focus. Every story has a different theme, though. For What a Texas Girl Wants that theme was ‘Wasted’ by Carrie Underwood.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, good question. I think Emma Stone would make a good Kathleen…I’m drawing a blank on Jackson.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
In my living room, feeding my Smurfs village (it’s a game/iPad app). The first person I told was my husband because I needed to make sure it was real and not a dream!
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
About six. Seriously! My mom used to read me Fairy Tales (some the Disney-esque versions, some the Grimm version). When I didn’t like the ending, I’d re-write them to be happily ever after. My first all-mine romance I wrote in high school, it was a short story involving a pirate and a kidnapped noblewoman who fell in love….
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Maisey Yates. Nora Roberts. Nicola Marsh. Jayne Ann Krentz (and all her pseudonyms). The list is long and distinguished (in my eyes). J
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I don’t! I’m a freelance writer (magazine articles, etc.) as well as a romance writer. I love both of my jobs, though, so I can’t complain!
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
The Princess Bride (interviewer agrees with this choice!). I love that movie and I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to those characters!!
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I just got edits back for my second book with Crimson Romance, titled The Saint’s Devilish Deal, that book will be out October 1. And I’m working on two linked Texas books – Kathleen’s sisters, Vanessa and Monica, are getting their own stories and I’m thrilled to be writing them!!
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Co-writing gives the control freak side of me the heebie jeebies. I don’t know if I could give anyone else control over my characters. However, if Nora or Janet (Evanovich) or Jayne happens to need a co-writer……
How do you pick your characters names?
They come to me, sometimes even before I know the full story or have that opening scene down. The character names come first, then their appearance and a bit of story and the rest fills in as I go along.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I think both happen at the same time – in real life and in fiction. Because you have to be attracted to a person to spend time with them, right? So I think its strong attraction/lust which grows into love of all those idiosyncrasies and foibles.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Romance is a $4billion+ industry. Every year. That is more than ‘literary’ fiction, mystery and sci-fi. I really don’t understand people who poo-poo the happily ever after of romance as ‘not real life’. Yes, divorce is very real and ugly. No, not every relationship is going to be life-long. But isn’t that something to strive for?
Kristina where can readers find you?
My website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Dark chocolate. I cannot resist dark chocolate – and if it’s wrapped around a fresh strawberry…. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh….