Author on the Couch: Heather Knight
Today I’m conducting a session with…Heather Knight!
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Win an ecopy of book one in the Yellowstone Series: Life After Chocolate by @HeatherOKnight Click To Tweet
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Heather: Immediately I think of the death of my mother. Not a marriage, not the birth of a child, or anything cheery really, but isn’t that often the case? Even though I was an adult when it happened, I felt far too young to be an “orphan.” When she was alive, my poor mother despaired of me ever “finding” myself. When I was a kid I could fabricate excuses and alibis better than a criminal attorney and not even bat an eye. At night instead of being good and going to sleep, I’d lie there and imagine conversations and stories. I flitted through hobbies as fast as some people cut through cake. Mom was convinced that I had some untapped talent and if I’d only try, I’d find it. Me? I knew better. She’d fixed a label to all of her children, and there were six of us. The smart one, the musical one, the beauty…I was “the lost one.” I still remember her forehead wrinkling in confusion when I went off to college. “But what are you going to do with a degree in English?”
When Mother died, I hurtled through space like a planet that lost its sun. I fell into a pit of grief and remorse that I couldn’t escape. Around that time I came across a copy of Twilight. In those pages I lost myself to a secret world where no one died and dreams of forever-happiness came true. That story and others like it became a comfort to me. I read dozens of books, but the second I turned the final page, my shattered world returned.
A few months after she died, I was sitting at work with nothing to do. The previous night I had fallen asleep before I finished my imaginings, as I often do. I perched that day in a forest of cubicles, listening to the clack of a dozen keyboards, but mine remained silent. Any second my boss was bound to notice, to realize that I was redundant. It didn’t matter that I spent the majority of my days frantically assembling pleadings, submitting court filings, researching rules of civil procedure, and in general running here and there trying to satisfy the un-satisfiable. Today my bin was empty, and needing to look busy, I started typing the previous night’s pretend. I only meant to write a few pages—you know, get the images out of my head and look busy until real work showed up. But four hours later I’d churned out twenty pages of fiction, and when I was done I felt strange—Empowered. Excited. I’d written a story, badly I might add but that didn’t matter. For those few hours I had controlled reality. Maybe not mine, but someone’s, even if that person wasn’t real. Or were they? Don’t they say life is just a dream? Perception is reality? Who knows? Maybe I couldn’t control the physical world, but I could lose myself in a story that could last for months, and it was up to me whether someone got what they wanted or didn’t, whether they found true love or got left in the dust.
My mother’s death had a profound effect on me. It ripped my mind and body into tiny fractals, each tentacle stunned and raw, and the only way I could deal with it was to lose myself in fantasies, and in doing so I found myself.
But what can you do with a degree in English?
I can heal wounds, Mom. I experience passion and rage and joy. I am the creator and the killer, the lover and the bastard child. I am the broken and the avenged, the liar and the redeemed.
I am an author....I am the broken and the avenged, the liar and the redeemed. I am an author. @HeatherOKnight #AmWriting Click To Tweet
Me: Wow! Just wow! Those last paragraphs brought a tear to my eye they are so powerful! And so true!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Heather: A bottomless bag of ideas and the inability to take “no” for an answer.
Me: Both vital traits for success in this industry.
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Heather: I can only write stories that interest me, ones where I can explore a character or a situation. I like taking damaged people and making them whole in a way that would only work for them, or imaging tough situations that seem impossible and then carving out a solution. Once that solution is found, I’m bored. I can’t take that story line any further. Also, if I drag the story out too long I get bored then, too. I have two trilogies on my hard drive—each is missing its final book. Why? I’m sick to death of the story.
Me: We sound an awful lot alike. I do love me some damaged characters put in impossible situations!
What was your high point as a writer?
Heather: I was still a newbie writer with a lot to learn, but I won a critique from a high-level agent. She read my first three chapters and called me that night wanting the rest of it. Not twelve hours later she offered to represent me. She said it was because of my voice. It was unique and compelling. Wow, I thought. This was Validation. I didn’t suck. Happiest moment of my writing career.This was Validation. I didn’t suck. Happiest moment of my writing career. @HeatherOKnight #AmWriting Click To Tweet
Me: Woot! Woot! Congratulations! That’s HUGE validation!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
Heather: I’d started one trilogy and shelved it after the second book. When the same thing happened with the second trilogy, I began to doubt myself. Was I running out of ideas? And my agent—she couldn’t sell my work (which at the time was all YA) because it didn’t fit into an easily marketable niche. For several months I wrote nothing at all. Then I heard an author’s talk on Dark Romance, and I realized my “dark” voice was ideal for this genre, and I dived back in with a vengeance. I wrote four books in five months! I’m a little tired of writing erotica, though, so I’m putting out something a little different – a new adult series based in the same world as my Snow & Ash series, but more focused on plot and character growth, rather than sex (although don’t get me wrong – a romance does come into play!). The first book, “Life after Chocolate”, comes out February 2017.
Me: What causes stress in your writing life? Why?
Heather: Marketing. I am NOT sales person. I do not feel at all comfortable saying “Please, will you buy my book? It’s the greatest book ever!” I’d rather write the thing and then curl into a fetal position and let the cat sit on my head.
Me: Who is your book boyfriend? Why?
Heather: Um? If I dated any of the guys in my books, I’d probably shove a knife through his eye or smother him with a pillow. I am fiercely independent. There was a super nice guy in one of Skye Warren’s books that I could picture dating. The heroine was in charge and although the guy was strong and extremely masculine, he was more than happy to be ruled by her. So yeah, I’d pick him.
If I dated any of the guys in my books, I’d probably shove a knife through his eye. @HeatherOKnight Click To Tweet
Me: If you could be any character in any book for a day who would you be? Why?
Heather: Sara Crew, The Little Princess. Man, would I like to be in her head. Then again, I’d probably get a little stabby, and then no one would want to read her story.
Me: Tell me about your new adult apocalyptic fiction, Life After Chocolate.
Until that day, I’d never heard of a super-volcano…
I didn’t know how good I had it. All I had to worry about was college in the fall and avoiding Connor Falk, the guy I stupidly bared my soul to. Then the Yellowstone volcano blew. Now half the country is buried under a thick layer of ash, the temperature is falling, and crops are failing worldwide. My prepper grandfather used to be an embarrassment, but it’s his stores that keep us alive. For now our family is safe—or are we?
My name is Emmaline Dohring, and this is my story.
PART ONE of the YELLOWSTONE SERIES
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release, Life After Chocolate.
A hungry look crosses Connor’s face, and for a moment I feel an odd thrill in my stomach as his gaze captures mine. Then the corner of his mouth lifts and he strides toward our log, one we set out earlier as a bench. The fabric of his jeans hugs his lean, muscular legs. I’m happy to see that he hasn’t adopted the super-skinny jeans so many hipsters wear. I have a rule. If I can tell with one glance whether a guy dresses left or right, he should be avoided at all costs.
“Hey, Connor,” I say. “Wassup?”
Connor drops his messenger bag on the grass and eases down beside me. He studies us for a moment, and I get the odd feeling he is deciding something, like whether we are friends…or prey.
I like this excerpt because it shows that Connor is definitely into Emmaline (Em), and although she won’t acknowledge it to herself, she’s hot for him. He’s barely been there a minute and she’s already checking out his package. The section illustrates how young Em seems, how carefree her life is before the ash strikes. You also get a hint that there is something dangerous about the guy. I also like the fact that the lighthearted tone is overladen with a seriousness that hints at a much darker story.
Not yet available for sale.
Book One, Life After Chocolate, releases February 7, 2017 on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, and iBooks.
You can find Heather here:
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! Stayed tuned for SAVING MERCY. Book 1 in the new Fatal Truth Series.