Hope the day finds you well and healthy.
We here in Melbourne have moved into Daylight Savings Time and I don’t know about you but it messes with me for quite a few days. It’s only one hour difference, I know, but it takes me ages to settle into it. Is anyone else like that? It’s very annoying and then we have to reverse it all six months later. 🤨 Still, in the big scheme of things, it’s the least of my concerns in this screwed up, messed up, interminable year. Someone made a logo for this year and if you haven’t seen my tweet about it then let me show you this little beauty…….
And this is my motto (x ten thousand percent)……
We still have tough COVID restrictions for a few more weeks and hence, as much chaos as there is all around the world and in my own little pocket of the planet, it somehow feels as if my life is “on hold”. As if someone has pressed the pause button and everything is a grey blur of routine monotony. Everyday feels the same because of being stuck indoors for much of the day, unable to travel more than 5 Kilometres. If that sounds harsh, well, it kind of is but it’s been a necessary measure my town has had to take to control the second wave of the virus . The good news is – the great, fantastic, stupendous news! – is that those measures have been working and we’re on the home stretch. The bad news is – I gotta go on a diet. Anyone relate?
So, onto better things……my dear friends, I have another interview for you! This lovely author came to my attention through Twitter and her bubbly personality shone through her every tweet. I just had to interview her! She’s a prolific writer and has a huge backlog of works so if you’ve not read any of her stuff, I recommend you fix that immediately as she is a highly imaginative and entertaining writer and I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her.
Please welcome Ms Susanne Marie Knight!
First, I want to thank Zelly, Author Extraordinaire and Queen of her Domain, for hosting this interview and sharing her valuable time. You’re a Peach, Ms. Zelly!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an incurable romantic. Yes, it’s true; my sun sign is Pisces, so I look at life through a rosy haze. That said, I do live in the real world too, starting with locations here on Earth! I’m originally from New York, New York, and have also lived in the U.S. states of Florida, Alabama, and Montana, in addition to Okinawa, Japan. Currently I’m settled in Washington State. I think I’ve finally adjusted to the Pacific Time Zone, but I have to confess I’m envious of you, Zelly, for being 17 hours ahead of me!
I’ve had a variety of jobs, mostly in accounting, editing, computer technical support, and a combination of all three. I’ve worked in a federal prison (interesting!), for the Drug Enforcement Agency (*very* interesting!) and for a television fitness program (kept me on my toes, LOL). A while back I needed to leave the workforce to take care of my mother. Today, I eat bon-bons and lounge around all day… ah, not really, but in my dreams!
If you have a yen to know more, here’s a secret link allowing you into my inner sanctum!
You’ve been writing for a long time……how did it all begin for you?
Yep, a REALLY long time! But when you’re doing something you love, the time does fly. I’ve been writing professionally since the nineties doing reference articles on health, writing, and also fiction short stories. My first published novel GRAVE FUTURE was released in 1999–first as an ebook, and then in print. I know it’s hard to believe now, but way back then there was quite a struggle between authors that wrote “real” books (i.e., print books) versus authors that wrote ebooks. Rather like snobbery. Believe me, the battle was quite intense and certainly not pleasant for ebook authors. But happily, we’ve come a long way, baby (!), and it’s to be celebrated. So let’s clink our wine glasses! Anyway, my forty-second novel was just released in August, THE AWAY PLACE. For those who like to see the total number of books, it’s now sixty-one, and all are available on Amazon.com.
You write in such a diverse range of genres…do you have a favourite? Which do you find the most difficult to write in? Or the easiest?
My favorite genres to write in include science fiction, Regency, suspense, paranormal, mystery, contemporary, time-travel, and fantasy–to date. Who knows, I may pick up another favorite genre! When I write, I like to experience what I’m writing about, and I want to describe it to the reader so that he or she lives through the experience, too. This can be emotionally draining for me as the writer, depending on what’s going on in the story. But I find it particularly difficult to write if the setting is someplace I’ve never been, or seen in pictures, or experienced somehow. What I’m really saying is, world-building in science fiction stories can be very hard to write about. In my award-winning JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD, the locations include Earth of the future (that wasn’t hard), deep space and wormholes (that wasn’t bad), and the center of the galaxy on the planet Xaspaar–ouch! Creating and populating a believable world and culture from scratch takes some heavy research. As for the easiest genre, how about if I mention the easiest part about writing a novel? That’s getting the ideas! The hard part about that is getting the ideas to turn off. :))
Often your books involve some sort of time travel…..if you could travel to any time period, past or future, what would it be and why?
Going to the future would be a gigantic unknown so I definitely wouldn’t opt for jaunting upwards. And as I found out from researching my time-travel to Ancient Rome, A SESTERCE FOR HER THOUGHTS, going back two thousand years was no picnic! Not to mention having to learn Latin. So, I would love to time-travel back to visit with my father’s father, Alex. He died (injury on the job) when my father was very young. After his death, my grandmother had a photo taken with her young son, then had the photographer insert a picture of Alex so that she could have a family heirloom of the three of them. I’ve always treasured that photo, and now it hangs in my house.
What writing works have you got planned for the future?
I’m currently working on a time-travel Regency. Still trying to fit the pieces together on this one. The heroine is a contemporary ballet aficionado and so I’ve been studying ballet moves on my own to get the dancing techniques correct. Plus, it gets me away from the computer! Then in 2021, I’m planning to reformat and re-release in print some of my older novels. That’s all I have on the agenda so far.
Do you have a writing/creative process that works for you and what would you say are your biggest inspirations?
I write when I have the most energy flowing, and that’s in the morning. The first thing I do when I sit at the computer is read over the last scene or chapter that I wrote. This is to get back into the story. Then I start with the new writing. My goal is to continue until I finish a scene or until a new character enters the mix. Then I’m done writing for the day.
Pantser versus Plotter: Or, in other words, do I write with an outline (Plotter) or by the seat of my pants (Pantser)? Hands down–I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writer, which means I don’t have the action plotted out for my book. This is probably not the best way to write, but it works for me. I use the “what if” scenario to figure out where I’m going, then I choose my characters and let them decide what will happen next. I enjoy writing this way because I rarely know how my characters are going to solve their problems. I think the best example of this was in my recently published Sedona West Mystery Series. When I started, I had one male character in mind for Sedona. She, however, favored another man, so naturally the second guy won out!
As for inspirations, I enjoy using bits and pieces from real life to help inspire me. In every book, I try to include something personal to give it that extra zing. For example: my dear departed cat was the inspiration for the feline in my paranormal romantic suspense, COMPETITORS! (Neanderthals are extinct, aren’t they?) In this novel, the cat’s name is Eins (number one in German) because he thinks a lot of himself. :))
Can you describe what advertising and promotion was like back when you first began your writing career? Has social media made it all easier or tougher to compete in the publishing field?
Great question, Zelly! So, first off, there was no social media when I started!!! Nope. I know, positively medieval! The publishers I was with expected the author to do most of the promotion. Group ads in trade magazines were sometimes provided, along with mention of the author’s books in the publishers’ newsletters and websites. Authors were expected to have their own websites, newsletters, promotional swag (bookmarks, freebies), host contests, things like that. I did all those things plus I attended writing conferences, did newspaper and web interviews, gave workshops, did booksignings, did video trailers, linked up with fellow authors, and did virtual book blogs or tours. Phew! As different social media sites evolved, I signed on with a few of them, but now I only do Twitter. I love my Twitter friends!
Do you have a favourite authors or any that you aspire to be like?
Growing up, I was heavily into reading science fiction, and then later British mysteries. A friend in high school introduced me to Regencies á la Georgette Heyer because she really thought I’d enjoy them. A bit skeptical, I picked up a copy of Ms. Heyer’s COTILLION and began reading. Ho! This was a comedy of manners with its own peculiar language; it was completely different than anything I’d read before. By the time I’d finished the book, I was hooked. Needless to say, I sought out other books by the prolific Ms. Heyer. She is, in Regency lingo, all the crack! To date, I’ve written fifteen books on the Regency and/or Regency time-travel period, with another one on the way. Thanks, Ms. Heyer!
If you could interview anyone in the world, from any field, who would it be and why?
Tough question! So, I choose the notable Dame Winifred Mary Beard–Mary Beard–the professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge. She has a wealth of information on Ancient Romans. While doing research on my time-travel, A SESTERCE FOR HER THOUGHTS, I viewed many instructional videos that Ms. Beard has on youtube and I also purchased her book, SPQR. I’d especially love to hear her thoughts on the Emperor Claudius.
Do you ever suffer with writers block and if so, how do you combat it?
Definitely! Every book has at least one writer’s block allotted–usually more. When this happens, I take a break from the work. I think a writer’s best bet is to leave the computer and do something completely different. Creative writing is a “right brain” activity; you use the right hemisphere of your brain for creative and emotional behavior. To give that side of my brain a rest, I try activities that involve the left brain, which include organizing, writing factual articles, finances, etc. Sometimes I do something physical like dancing, sometimes I do something mundane like housework. And sometimes I focus on another area of writing, like doing some form of promotion or organizing my files. Or, logging onto Twitter! Oftentimes while I’m preoccupied with other things, an idea will just pop up, and then I’m ready to attack the keyboard again.
With such a long and prolific backlog of work, do you ever look back on it and wish you’d done something different or learnt something earlier?
Hmmn. Honestly, I think everything that’s happened has all been a part of a process. Whatever has happened that’s been negative, hopefully I’ve learned from these events. I’ve really been blessed with getting to know some wonderful people–some who’ve helped me, and some who I’ve helped. So, yep, I’m content with where I am.
Where can people find your works?
All my books can be found on my Amazon Author’s page:
Most of my books are also on my Smashwords Author’s Page: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SusanneKnight
Smashwords is also a distributor for many internet outlets like Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Overdrive, and Kobo.
My website: www.susanneknight.com
Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/susanneknight
I shall bid all you lovely people adieu for now! And many, mega thanks to Ms. Zelly for opening her domain and her generous heart to me!
Isn’t she a bucket of sunshine and sparkles? Such a lovely warm vibe.
I hope you’re enjoying these interviews as much as I am doing them. As an author myself, it’s so wonderful to peek into the minds of other likeminded people and learn from them. I’m so grateful for their willingness to speak with me and I look forward to bringing you another one very soon.
By the way, all the Giveaway Winners have had their gifts despatched so hopefully they’ll be receiving them safe and sound soon. Oh and remember how I mentioned in a previous blog post that the Post Office would love me when I mailed these out? Well, they sure as hell did! Things went all over the place – Norway, Britain, Germany and two to the USA. My wallet needed a defibrillator after that and I wasn’t far from it myself. 😂
Don’t forget to send me a picture of yourself with your winnings and don’t be shy about it.
Till next time, as always,