Today I’m talking with Dee S Knight. We met through Jan Selbourne and BVS. I enjoy her writing very much and am looking forward to learning more about her. So Hi Dee and welcome to my group.
Good morning, Eileen. Thanks for having me.
Please tell us about yourself and how you got started in writing
I started writing almost twenty years ago, with a few stops and starts along the way. It’s really as simple as this–I had time on my hands while my husband finished a contract job. He suggested I fill that time by writing a book. Like an idiot, I thought Sure, why not? So I sat down at the keyboard and created a novel from an idea I had in my head and a month later sent it to an online publisher that was just starting up, Liquid Silver.
The publisher wrote back and said she liked the story but could I write something with moe sex as they planned on being an erotic romance house. At that time, I had no idea there was such a thing as erotic romance. So a month later I sent her another novel with more sex. She accepted it, and there I went. It was all a fluke that I fell into by accident almost.
Happily fell into. I really like erotic romance, and as Dee S. Knight that is what I write.
Do you have a background that would lend itself to writing… like being an English teacher or something like that?
No. I was a sociology major way back in the dark ages. I love reading and literature but never thought about writing. When my husband and I went on the road as over the road truckers, I left a library position in Richmond, VA. I was in acquisitions and my boss told me that now that I knew what readers like to read, I should write a book about my adventures. I thought, Yeah, right. No way did I ever think I would write a book.
Sounds like an exciting life. You said you write erotic romance under Dee S Knight. Do you write under other names?
It took a lot of years after that, but that first novel I wrote and sent to Liquid Silver was one about trucking.
Yes. I write historical menage books as Jenna Stewart and spicy/steamy work as Anne Krist. She’s really the tamer persona. Anne doesn’t shock my mother, lol.
Was it a romance about trucking or just on trucking alone?
No, it was a romance with a trucking theme.
I love how you refer to your other pen names in the third person. How many books do you have out under each name?
As Anne, I have a full novel, Burning Bridges which is a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards. I also have a short story in the Comfort for Cat Lovers book. Jan and I shared a book just before Christmas as Jan and Anne, and we’re soon publishing another. As Jenna, I have I think 10 or 11 books, all of them with Siren-Bookstrand. And as Dee I have gosh, I think 6 or 7 right now, with BVS and as an indie. I have a few more titles I need to republish since Liquid Silver went out of business.
You’ve been busy. When did you publish your first novel?
On Valentine’s Day, 2003. It’s one I need to republish, called Impatient Passion.
Wow! You’ve been at this a long time. What’s one thing you do differently now than you did when you first started?
I know a lot more about writing rules and the mechanics now. When I wrote Impatient Passion, I knew how to write but had no idea about point of view (POV) or head hopping or hooks. really. Those are things I learned from other authors. The erotic romance world was pretty small back then and the authors at Liquid Silver were fairly close so we helped each other. They also had excellent editing, and that taught me a lot about how to tell a story. How to show instead of telling. I had a LOT to learn!
I think that’s common. I know I did and still do. Which do you prefer – traditional publishing or self publishing?
They both have advantages and disadvantages. I love working with BVS. Ric is wonderful and the group of authors he has gathered under the BVS umbrella are not only talented but are sweethearts, always willing to share and help each other. The control freak in me likes self-pubbing. BUT, it’s a lot of work–making covers, doing my own editing, completing the publishing, and keeping up with Amazon, which is no easy feat in itself. I’m still learning so much about it. If I went with regular publishing, I would definitely stay with BVS, though. They’re a strong publishing house.
I agree. The authors are wonderful and Ric is great to work with. Like you, the control freak in me enjoys the advantages of seeing the numbers. What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m trying to sinish up my novella that will be part of Jan’s and my new joint venture. The book is called Evil Lives in the Night. I’m writing our books as Anne Krist so our heat levels are closer together. I wouldn’t want to shock Jan’s readers with Dee or Jenna’s nasty ways. 😉
LOL How do you determine what the heat level is for your books? Do you know when you start writing or does it come as you get into it more?
As I said, when I first started writing, I didn’t even know there was a genre called erotic romance. Ellora’s Cave was about the only house publishing it. But for some reason, I was able to write sex into my books pretty easily. When I wrote Burning Bridges as Anne, I had to really control myself not to write actual sex into the book. It’s TAME, and yet one of my friends told me that the only somewhat hot scene in it made her blush, so maybe I’m not so good at measuring heat in books, lol. Writing menage is harder. There are so many arms and legs and…well, you-know-whats to keep track of.
Oh I know what… Now I’ve read your work and enjoy it. It’s a solid read and entertaining. Where do you come up with your ideas?
Coming up with ideas is usually simple. If I need something, I just tune in my favorite classic country station and let my mind take it in. The hard thing for me is to sit down and put fingers to keyboard.
So you’re inspired by music. Is there an artist or type of song which inspires you more?
With me, I normally have an outcome in mind first and then come up with the story to get there as I’m writing. And like I said, with any country song, you’ve got an situation to choose from. Then I ask “What if…?” What if I had a hero who was so cynical he says he has waterfront property in Arizona to sell (George Strait), or if two people who thought they’d love each other forever find themselves separated (Reba McIntyre)? Cry-in-your-beer songs are great for getting ideas about conflict.
You know about getting ideas. Your books are so interesting.
Two of my favorite singers. I do know and thank you. I try. Inspiration is a chaotic thing – I watch a lot of documentaries and odd science shows. I know you said it took you a month to write your first book – my first book took ten years so I’m impressed. How long does it take for you to write a book? Have you ever gotten stuck?
When I first started writing, I was a book a month for the first five books–all over 85,000 words. Then, yes, I got stuck. Passionate Destiny took me nearly 11 months to write. I have no idea why but I just could not get through that book. Finally, I told myself that if I didn’t have it finished by Thanksgiving (the end of November), that I’d let it go and (virtually) shove it under the bed. I hate giving up, so I got it done and sent it off to Liquid Silver that same afternoon. I was so DONE with it, and not just the writing, I was done with the characters and setting and everything. But, that book got my highest reviews up to that point. It won Top Pick in Romantic Times magazine. Readers wrote and asked me to write a sequel. I was shocked but so pleased that the problem child was so well liked.
These days, I can finish a book in a couple of months or longer, depending on how I’m feeling.
Wow that’s a great story. What helped you get through the writing?
Sheer determination, lol!
That’s wonderful. Sometimes that’s what it takes. So do you outline or write as you go?
While I was writing Passionate Destiny, I wrote Burning Bridges, that’s how stuck I was with PD–I took a month away to write an entirely different book.
I’ve done that as well.
Usually I write as I go. I do have a kind of outline in mind but not an actual outline. I usually think of a three-part outline as to where action will happen. I also use character charts to help me include things like internal and external conflict, likes-dislikes, and character traits. I’ve found that character interviews help me know my characters, too. (Thanks, Kayelle Allen!)
Sounds like you’ve got some great tools at hand. What would you tell a new author was essential for writing?
I sometimes hate to advise new authors because there’s so much to keep in mind. I found that once I learned the storytelling mechanics that my writing slowed down because I was thinking more about HOW to write then writing itself. But I do wish I had know about those things before I started. They are things we all know but don’t recognize while we’re reading.
So all of that is included in what I would tell a new writer. Learn your craft. Then WRITE. And keep writing. Find a good person–not a friend or relative generally because they will praise your writing no matter how bad it is–who can read and critique your work. Finding out what you’re not doing well is a huge benefit. Then write some more. Don’t be afraid. Learn to self-edit (there are tricks for this, like reading your work out loud). Read books in your genre and pick out why you thought the book was good or bad. Make sure you do–or don’t do–the same things in your book. And then write.
Thanks. I don’t always take it myself, but I should!
Please tell me about your latest release…
Jan and I released Finding a Christmas Miracle last December. We set in the Vietnam War era. Jan’s story was about a soldier who found a woman about to deliver a baby in the Outback and how he’s led back to her. Mine was a paranormal tale about a soldier who’s led find his true calling through the death of a woman he knows. I thought both stories were great–though I admit to a bit of bias.
Oh I read them they were great stories!
The book we’re now working on is set in the mid-1950s and has a crime element. Jan’s tale starts with a murdered man. Mine is about a missing woman. It should be out at the end of the month.
I’m excited to read both of these!
Thank you for joining me today!
Eileen, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share! It’s been fun.
Find out more about me and my writing personas at https://nomadauthors.com
Finding a Christmas
The Girl with the Brass Balls (Jenna Stewart):