7 Questions With Bestselling Author Angela Knight
Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id. Her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name.
In 1996, she discovered the small press publisher Red Sage, and realized her dream of romance publication in the company’s Secrets 2 anthology. She went on to publish several more novellas in Secrets before going on to write for the Berkley Imprint of Penguin Random House. Books from her Mageverse and Time Hunters series hit the New York Times list. She was the recipient of a Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance from Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine.
Angela has written over 50 novels, novellas and e-books. The latest is Arcane Heart, the story of a beautiful witch cop and her handsome partner, who can assume the form of a magical lion.
Angela lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a detective with the Spartanburg City Police Department. The couple has a grown son, Anthony.
In this interview, Bestselling Author Angela Knight speaks about her life as a writer and provides interesting tips for the upcoming author, from overcoming writer’s block to useful tools and writing tips.
Interested in becoming a writer? Start here
Esther Rabbit: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a plotter. I must know where a story is going before I can write it. Sometimes that’s been a real problem, because what I planned doesn’t work, and I have to stop writing until I can figure out what’s wrong. There have been times I’ve been stuck for as long as a month before I broke through the block.
Esther Rabbit: How does a day in your author life look?
Usually with a three-mile walk, during which I brainstorm the day’s writing into my iPhone. When I get home, I transcribe the resulting audio file using Dragon Naturally Speaking 15.
The transcription serves as my notes while I dictate the scene. I’m a reasonably fast typist, but I can still talk a lot faster than I type. (Note that you need a headset with a boom microphone for the required accuracy. Even then, Dragon makes transcription errors – usually words like it’s and its — that you must clean up. Too, Dragon is not a cheap program — the version I use costs $300. Still, I’ve found the investment in time and money is worth it. I recently wrote a 60,000-word novel and a 13,000-word short story in the space of three months.)
Brainstorming this way has helped me escape my crippling perfectionism. In the past, I was very slow because I’d keep stopping to rewrite. It would take me six hours to write ten pages, and I’d be exhausted. Now I write ten pages in half that time, so I’m finishing books a lot faster than I used to. Being able to produce books on a regular schedule is the key to success for a full-time novelist.
Esther Rabbit: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
Don’t edit your work until your first draft is finished. Though I decided I wanted to become a writer when I was nine, I didn’t finish a novel until I was forty. That’s because I’d write a first chapter, then edit it trying to make it perfect. I’d write and rewrite that one chapter until I got sick of the book, so I was never able to finish anything.
When I turned forty, I made a rule I wouldn’t even look at a book until it’s finished. The only exception is if I get stuck and have no idea where I went wrong.
Esther Rabbit: What can you tell me about your heroines?
I love writing strong, intelligent heroines who have some nagging emotional scar that prevents them from being happy. In the course of the book, they recognize the error in their thinking, usually thanks to the relationship they’re building with the hero. They, in turn, help the hero with his own scars so that together they can defeat the villain.
Esther Rabbit: Love Bites and Beyond the Dark are some fan favorites. From the way you write, I feel you have a tremendously young spirit and a really engaging way to write. Is it something writers are born with or do they have to sweat to achieve it?
Thank you so much for the complement! I think people are born with creativity and imagination, but it takes work to learn how to use that talent in constructing a novel.
People think that because they can write an email, they can write a book. But a novel has a lot of moving parts — all the characters, their conflicts, their histories, their problems and their efforts to solve them. All these factors must interact so naturally, they create the illusion of reality.
Nobody can do a job that complicated the first time they try. That’s like believing you can buy a guitar, take it home, and immediately play “Stairway to Heaven” as well as Eric Clapton. You must be patient with yourself, accept the fact that you have to learn the craft, and work.
Esther Rabbit: What should readers expect from your next novel?
I’m going to continue writing the Mageverse series. This story arc, “Merlin’s Legacy,” will include several books following the adventures of a team of vampires and witches as the Magekind battle aliens from Mageverse Earth. Think a whole team of dominant, screwed-up men and fierce, intelligent women, all fighting for their lives against vicious magic-using trolls, Fomorians, and other nasties. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Esther Rabbit: There are a lot of experts behind the novel, editors, developmental editors, proofreaders, beta readers, etc. How did you find your perfect crew?
Since leaving Penguin Random House, I’ve been working with Shelby Morgen, who is my editor at Changeling Press. Shelby is a skilled, intelligent writer who has assembled a team of crack editors at Changeling.
I’m also very fortunate in my critique partners, Joey W. Hill, Stephanie Burke and LaVerne Thompson.
Joey W Hill is the best erotic romance novelist I know. She’s the author of the Vampire Queen series, as well as the Knights of the Board Room series. She’s incredibly creative at exploring different aspects of BDSM. She not only writes dominant men and submissive women, but dominant women and badass men who are simultaneously sexual submissives. It’s a hard act to pull off, but she’s amazing at it.
I had the pleasure of critiquing her most recent book, Vampire’s Embrace, and found it fabulous. It deals with an Australian nurse in World War II who encounters a vampire fighting to defend the country against the Japanese. Not only was it deliciously erotic, it made me cry.
My other partners include my dear friends Stephanie Burke and LaVerne Thompson, both of whom are terrific writers specializing in interracial romance. Stephanie’s work is incredibly imaginative and sexy as well as wickedly funny. LaVerne’s paranormals feature fascinating worlds with dark, yummy heroes and strong heroines.
Most recent books:
Master of Valor: Handsome Afghan war veteran Duncan Carpenter barely survived a horrifying IED attack that cost him his legs. He gets a second chance at life when he agrees to become an agent of the Magekind — a vampire sworn to protect humanity. The spell that transforms him also heals his broken body and gives him incredible new abilities. Now he must pay for that gift, because the Magekind is preparing for war with powerful magical enemies. But first he must complete his training with a Magekind witch, Masara Okeye. Problem. He’s falling for his mentor, even as he struggles to deal with life as a vampire.
Masara finds her apprentice deliciously seductive — a little bit too much so for her peace of mind, because he brings up memories better left buried. But when Duncan and Masara are asked to help a werewolf cop investigate the murder of a jogger, they’re targeted by the same vicious killers. The fight for survival drives the couple together, despite Masara’s determination to keep her distance. Then the case turns even more horrific and mysterious. What turned a couple of loving werewolf grandparents into vicious killers?
And what’s with the flying rabid zombie rats?
Christmas Carole: Carole Elzer is no Scrooge — she loves Christmas. But when she’s visited by the ghost of her best friend and business partner, Marley, Carole learns she must make amends for something she hasn’t done — otherwise, Marley warns, she’ll spend the rest of her life in anguish and guilt.
She’s guided on her voyage into Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come by three sexy spirits, all of whom look just like her partner, Bob Crockett. Bob is still grieving for the wife he loved and lost years ago, but Carole nurses a guilty love for him.
As Carole explores her past, present and future with her handsome spirits, she realizes just how high the stakes are. Bob’s young son Tim’s life hangs in the balance. If she doesn’t learn how to save the child, none of them will ever again know a merry Christmas — and she and Bob will have no future together.
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Some links where readers can purchase her books:
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And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“