Exclusive Interview with
Dee S. Knight
Let’s start with your Career as a writer!
When did you start writing?
I started writing late--I was in my 50s and had some time before I had to start a new job so I thought I'd write a book. Hahaha! Little did I know how little I knew. That was in 2002.
What makes writing your passion?
It's hard to describe the need to put your thoughts into the written word, but that's pretty much what the writing bug did for me. Before I started writing, I formed stories in my mind but never gave a thought to writing them. Once I gave it a try, I could hardly stop. I resented having to sleep. I hated stopping in order to get dinner ready. I waved goodbye to hubby in the mornings and sat down immediately to hit the keys. Nothing else I've worked at has given me so much pleasure, so much pride, and so much frustration, all at the same time. ;)
How long have you been writing?
19 years, but I've taken time off for life a couple of times. So maybe 12 years all told.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I was happy, of course. But writing a book had never been my great desire--I only wrote one because I had time on my hands. Still, I wrote the book (Impatient Passion) in a month, so I guess you could say I was shocked. But also, very happy. And for the first time, I thought when I could--between work and the demands we had in our lives--I might write another book someday.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I love writing male characters. I see much more breadth and depth of character in men than in women. Most of the male characters I've written have been alpha, though not the true take charge guys. I've written one beta male (Cooper in The Cinderella Curse), and he's one of my favorite guys. Maybe because he's so much like my own real hero. And there is something about my husband in every male character I've written.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Marketing! (That deserves an extra exclamation point so here it is: !) I don't know how to do it effectively so I always feel like I'm throwing a dart at a target I don't see. I wish I could hire the job out...
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I take my husband to breakfast and then throw my problem at him. By the time breakfast is over and we've had our second (or third) cup of coffee, I usually see a path before me that I can take to get out of my own way.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
This is do as I say and not as I do advice:
1. Write!!! And then write some more. All the time, every day.
2. Read what you've written out loud. Slowly, reading every word. You'll hear mistakes you won't see in writing.
3. Let someone you know who will be honest read your work. They must be honest, though, not someone who will tell you your work is great because you're friends.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't get a sociology degree. Get into MARKETING!!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes. It's inevitable that some reviews will be bad. It's hard to accept and when I get a bad one, I yell a bit, mope a bit, and then try to put it behind me. Otherwise, you'll allow someone's opinion paralyze you. A review is one person's opinion, and we all know that (like something else) everyone has one..
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I laugh, I sing, I smile for hours! ;)
Really, I share it with hubby and he says "Good job!" and then we move on. It's always reassuring to know that someone else sees what I think is good work. I appreciate very much the reader who takes time to post a review!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Oh yes! In Impatient Passion, my hero attended VMI, just as hubby did. In Passionate Destiny, I had my characters dine at a restaurant where we did in Palmyra, and also in Man of Her Dreams (coming soon). In Burning Bridges (written as Anne Krist), my characters strolled along the riverside and read a plaque dedicated to the soldiers of Vietnam, just as hubby and I did. Because most of my novels are erotic romance, people always ask if I do a lot of "research" for my books. No comment.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Gosh, I don't think I've based any character on me. I did base the heroine in Passionate Destiny on my boss in New Jersey, and many of my characters bear a resemblemce to hubby. I don't think I'm interesting enough to be a character in my books.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I wouldn't say it's as important as the story, but absolutely the cover is what first attracts the reader to look further into the book. A poor cover might not bring a reader to the book but a poor story won't bring the reader to your next book, regardless of the cover. You really need both.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
No, I love to chat with readers. I've done a few radio interviews and on one, readers were encouraged to call in. A few did and I loved getting to know them better. What I do, I do not only for myself but to share with, and I hope enjoy with, others. I want to create something readers will enjoy.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Ha! Being recognized in public hasn't happened to me. Again, because I write erotic romance, I use pen names to protect the innocent. ;) I used to work at a private school supported by the Southern Baptists. I don't think my talents (such as they are) would be appreciated by my colleagues back home.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have been really fortunate to meet and work with some phenomenal authors. Leigh Wyndfield, TL Schaefer, Cheryl Norman, and Jennifer Skully are three I worked with early on. They all develop kick ass characters and write emotion like nobody's business. Recently, I've found Jan Selbourne, Alice Renault, Virginia Wallace, Callie Carmen, and a host of really great writers at Black Velvet Seductions. J.L. Peridot is fabulous and so is Lisabet Sarai, both for their sensual characters. I like most every form of romance, including space romps, so for world building and again (my jam!) great characters, Kayelle Allen is tops. I'm actually a pretty laid back, easy going reader, but I do appreciate writing that takes me out of this world (in every sense) and all of these writers do that. Now I'm nervous because I know I've missed someone...
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I don't have any goals of catching up with someone. I mean wouldn't we all like to be Nora Roberts?? But my goal has always been to be successful enough to carry me through life in retirement. You know, enough for the rent and groceries would be great. I used to think of being successful enough to rent a cottage in the Scottish highlands for a summer. COme to think of it, that's still a great goal!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I would rewrite all of the very early books because I jumped in and had no idea what I was doing, lol. I'd like to fix a few of the things I didn't know to do. But to fundamentally change the story? No.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I wouldn't switch places with anyone. I would like to be able to write more, but I'm pretty happy with my style and development. I don't know anyone else I'd like to be. We all have our successes and problems.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Get a real life! I know I'm not a perfect writer, and if someone has a real problem with one of my books and tells me about it, I can deal with it and take it to heart. But one person wrote a 1-star review and said, "Not my kind of book." Well, okay. But is that my problem? Is that something I can use to improve? Give me a break.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you! I appreciate you! I hope you enjoy my work. Please share your thoughts in a review or an email to me directly. I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in America's great Northwest, but we've live all over the country. Hubby and I met in high school (8th grade, actually) and married when I graduated from college. We're in our 48th year of marriage. We have no children, and so no rugrat grandchildren to enjoy. But that's okay because after all these years we still find plenty to talk and laugh about.
What is your day job if you have one?
I'm retired right now. I was an editor in a manufacturing company (I edited training manuals), and was a technical writer and teacher before that.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Mostly I read when I have time. My mom led me to believe that as long as there's a good book around, dust bunnies can wait. I used to do counted cross stitch and crochet but we moved so much keeping up with it all was difficult. I also like to watch cooking and true crime shows.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes, I sure did. I had polio as a baby, and grew up having to have surgeries on my legs and feet, but I had wonderful, loving parents, so everything was handled in a way I didn't feel handicapped or an outsider in school. I was always encouraged to be whatever I wanted, so I've tried to do that--explore and stretch my abilities.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
As I said above, I simply had time on my hands. Hubby consulted in various companies all over the U.S. so we moved every 2-3 years or so. When I joined him in South Carolina, his contract was going to end in a couple of months. So instead of trying to find a short-term job, hubby suggested I write a book. Sounded like fun. I had no idea it would come to consume me as it did. Just lke my parents as I was growing up, hubby has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes, I have a few that I've not submitted to a publisher, and a few I've started but not finished. One is a book featuring truck driving (based on my own trucking experiences). It's a mystery of sorts about people stealing government freight and a Marine posing as a trucker to track down the culprits. It was actually my first book. The publisher I sent it to said she liked my writing but it didn't have enough sex. Haha! That started my erotic romance novels. Another is a time travel with an African American pilot who gets transported to 1903 Kitty Hawk, just as the Wright brothers are working through their problems with flight.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I believe we need to stick to basics--reading, writing, and arithmetic. When I got my editor job, I had to pass a test, part of which was finding mistakes in grammar and punctuation. They said I was the only person they'd given the test to in months who passed. When they asked why I thought that was, I could honestly say that when I was in school, they made us learn. They didn't care if I was hurt if I received an F instead of an A. I don't mean that teachers were heartless, but they saw their jobs as preparing children for the world we would have to face, and that meant drilling our math tables, learning verb tenses, practicing writing a decent sentence. I don't think schools care so much today for what the student will need to succeed--or even exist well in the world. Since I taught school for 12 years, education is something near and dear to my heart. What's happening in the classroom now make me so sad.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1. Happiness and well-being for all my friends and relatives. Feelings of peace and strength for when things go wrong. Oh, heck. Let's make that for everyone. Why limit it to friends?
2. To make my own little corner of the world as good a place as possible. Hopefully others will notice and make their corners good, too.
3. To make people smile, with my words and deeds. Actually, if that were on my headstone, I'd be happy.
What is your favorite music?
Country, and classic country specifically. It don't get no better than cry in your beer songs.
Share a secret with us 🙂
Just you, huh? No one else will ever know...?
For all the sexy stuff I write, my experience with men is limited to hubby. I've only kissed three other guys in my life and that was with closed lips. He's my one and only, for all the 57 years I've know him. Does that surprise you? Okay, now forget that--I have a reputation to keep!