Q&A with Kristina Knight
Interviewed by: Kelsey Browning
Everyone writes a bio but I wanted something different for the About Me page and besides, the personal biographies I attempted were incredibly lame! So, I thought I'd answer a few popular questions about writing and include a little personal information along the way. Read on!
What inspired you to write your first manuscript?
KK: I've been writing for as long as I can remember. The first romance manuscript, though, was inspired by a story I'd reported on while working at a local television station in Nebraska: a man had killed his step-children because he wanted to inherit the land his wife left the kids. I took that story in another direction: rather than killing for the land, the villain manipulated his children. Of course, he was later driven to attempt murder. . .
Have you always wanted to write?
KK: Yes! I've been creating stories in my head for a long time. I remember re-writing the Brother's Grimm version of fairytales my mom used to read to me (she thought Disney versions were too unrealistic!). When I was 11, two friends and I decided to write novels over our summer vacation. I finished mine (a girl-power version of Three Musketeers) but they wimped out half way through the summer. I've been hooked on writing ever since.
Tell us a little about your writing routine.
KK: My writing routine is very strange and changes day to day. I'm a full-time freelance writer, so I fit fiction in wherever I can. Usually, I try to squeeze in two uninterrupted hours of fiction - whether that is fresh writing, revising or researching - and I have a goal of 1,000 words each day. But I don't write solely in the morning or evening.
Do you have a schedule?
KK: Sort of. Let me take you through a typical day. Wake up at 8 am, check email and generally geek around for about 45 minutes or so. By 9 am, I am (hopefully) working out and by 10 am showered, dressed and ready for the workday. From 10 am - 12 pm I'm working on nonfiction, either interviewing story subjects, writing articles or researching articles. I break for lunch around noon. One of my freelance gigs is working for Soaps.com. I write for the All My Children and As The World Turns pages, so from 1 pm - 4 pm I'm usually writing daily updates, writing short articles or interviewing actors/actresses about the shows. I take another break around 4 pm each day. I try to take a walk or play Wii for 45 minutes or so, just to keep the blood pumping. Then, it's back to work, now on fiction. I'll be working on a draft, revising a draft or researching the plot for a couple of hours. I shut down the computer around 6:30 or 7 pm, depending on where I am for the day. For the rest of the night, I'm hanging with the husband. Oh, and I do fit in time during the day to critique for my oh-so-amazing CPs.
What gets you in the mood to write?
KK: Nothing, and if I waited for inspiration or to be "in the mood" I wouldn't write. Everyday it is a struggle to fit everything in and some days are better than others. One thing that does help me to write is music. While I'm writing a draft, I usually listen to instrumental jazz or light classical music (Sirius is the bomb!). Once I'm revising, I listen to specific songs. I create a CD when I start working on a manuscript and fill it with 5 to 10 songs that I think reflect the mood of the book or the story I'm telling. My amazing former-DJ husband made a few CDs on the sly while he was at work, but now that he's not in radio I have to create my own. You can see a few of my song lists on the Books page.
Where do you get your ideas?
KK: Everywhere! When I was a television reporter, I'd find ideas on the newswires and I still find some stories from watching a news segment or from a newspaper article. I also have ideas pop into my head fully formed. But story ideas might also come from a snippet of a conversation I overhear in the grocery store, gossip passed along from friends and even movies and television shows. There are a myriad of directions that any story can go and from time to time, I'll find myself rewriting a television movie as I would have told it. Sometimes those ideas actually are the start of a book but not always.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to begin writing a book?
KK: 1. Start writing. 2. Keep writing. 3. Finish the story. 4. Start over. I hear from a lot of people - friends, family, friends of friends - who say, "I want to write a book". My advice is always the same: start writing. Some of them do but most find reasons they can't - from a busy work/home life to the, "I don't have enough experience" excuse. I had no experience with that book I wrote at 11 and my first romance manuscript was truly terrible. It had more plot holes, POV changes and general nonsense than I like to admit to but it taught me a lot. Since then my writing has improved immensely. So, start writing, keep writing and finish the book. Then you'll know if you really do want to write a book. If you do have the writing bug, see Rule #4: Start Over.
What are some must-have writer's tools?
KK: Notebook/binder, Pen and paper. You don't need the latest computer and you don't need tons of software, just a desire to write. I make a notebook for every manuscript, though you won't find many manuscript pages in it. There are character worksheets, general plot arcs, a few character arcs and deleted scenes inside. A few other things I find helpful: a white (or chalk) board to mark character and story arcs, a cork board for pictures that I think reflect the manuscript, post-its to keep order in the madness of the novel notebook and highlighters (all colors).
Why write romance?
KK: Why not? Romance encompasses so much more than a love story: it can be an adventure (and most are because "just" falling in love is an adventure!), a thriller or a traditional romance, an emotional read or a fantastical escape. And the best part is that the girl gets the guy in the end.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
KK: I read (a lot!), my husband and I travel and I'm an amateur photographer so I'm forever updating scrapbooks and photo albums. I also sew - when I'm blocked on a manuscript, you'll find me outside walking or inside working on a sewing project. I make bags, wall hangings and baby blankets, mostly, but I just started my first full quilt and I'm very excited about that.
Do you have some favorite books or authors?
KK: There are way too many favorite books to list, but I'll name a few names. First, I'll pimp out my CPs - Jerri Drennen writes faboo romantic suspense, as do Pam Champagne and Betty Womack; Marty Kindall is an amazing historical/vintage romance author, Robyn Wren is awesome at fantasy/paranormal romance and Kaitlyn Rice writes really great contemporary romance novels. I absolutely love Lisa Wingate, Suzanne Enoch (her historical and her contemporary stuff), Nancy Warren, Tori Carrington, Diana Palmer (especially her "Long, Tall Texans" series), Nora Roberts, Terry McLaughlin, Jayne Ann Krentz and Sandra Brown. There are many more but there isn't enough room on this page to include them all!
Do you have an English degree?
KK: No. I studied journalism in college, which some think is like studying English but it is actually far from it. English has very definite rules and journalism, especially broadcast journalism breaks all of those rules because you write as you speak. Grammar goes out the window. However, I wouldn't trade in that journalism background for an English degree (though I'd love to forget all those rule-breaking journalism habits). Journalism took me from small town America to big cities, rural areas where the cattle and cornfields outnumbered the people and into the suburbs. Every place I've lived has taught me something and, I hope, has made my writing that much deeper.