Saturday, April 13, 2013
Today I Welcome Author Mark Knight
I grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, I continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. I worked on scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios, for which I have recently signed an Option Acquisition Agreement. I have also won several short story competitions, and have had my work featured in published anthologies. My main concentration now is on Young Adult urban fantasy novels.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you pick up some from you to be read pile?
It depends on how busy I am with my own stuff! I read a lot of nonfiction, but I do like reading lots of YA – Hunger Games, I Am Number Four, Shiver – books like that. They are great.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
I have certainly tightened up my writing style, and also often employ short chapters, which was inspired by Dan Brown’s novels. I figure if someone is interested in a book, but not sure, they can easily digest the first couple of chapters if they are quite short, and then decide if they want to read further. Not all of my books are like that, however. But I do like to have a book which moves along at a pace, along with being meaty and giving you plenty of insight into the characters and their motivations. It is a fine line but something I believe I have honed quite well over the years.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
I want the premise to be something that really snares me, and the main characters have to be real and interesting. The style of the writing is important, if it doesn’t pull me along effortlessly, I don't really continue. To me, you shouldn’t struggle to read a book. It has to be right for you.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
The best part of being an author is when people finally get to read your work. The novel has been in your head for a long time, and has taken months to write. You get to hear other people’s reactions to it. Feedback for Blood Family has been really positive so far which is absolutely wonderful.
My least favorite part? I enjoy all the aspects of creating and promoting a book, but the problem is that there are just not enough hours in the day to do as much as you’d like. Today, with social networking, you have to be blogging and tweeting pretty much constantly. All of which I enjoy, but really, as a writer, I should be writing!
When you walk into a book store, where do you head to first? Why?
There don't seem to be many book stores anymore! I do love them, and so hope they make a comeback. I look at books that are promoted near the cashier, usually on a stand or table. Book covers can be very striking and there are some amazing covers out there these days. They do draw your eye, but don't necessarily mean you are going to get a great read!
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?
My day job does involve writing, but only in a commercial sense and not a storytelling sense. My goal is to write novels full time, however. You need the entire day just to get on and off of that social networking circuit and still have enough energy to write your current book project!
What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?
There hasn’t really been anything really strange, like ‘out there’ strange, though when people I know find out that I am writing a book they always ask ‘how many pages?’ I find that a bit odd because it is as though they are gauging how impressed they might be by the amount of pages I have completed! They also invariably think that I either am a millionaire or am on my way to being one. One can hope!
What is your favorite junk food vice?
I drink a lot of coffee when I write, and have to have couple of cookies to dunk. In fact, I am doing that right now! It actually helps me think!
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
I like to travel and explore new places. I live on the outskirts of London and that is a fascinating city; most weekends I head on in to London and go to my favorite haunts or go to exhibitions. A lot of famous people come from London, from Dickens to Charlie Chaplin, and you can see where they lived and grew up. As English writer Samuel Johnson once said, ‘When a man is tired of London he is tired of life.’
Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
I do remember an English teacher who encouraged me to write. Several, in fact. They knew I liked writing essays and stories. One in particular read out one of my 20 page ‘novels’ to the class. My classmates generally liked it, though there were harsh criticisms as well. All good preparation!
We all have our little things when it comes to reading, is there anything that bugs you when you read a novel? What is it?
The books I put down are the ones where the characters are just cut-outs who spout dialogue. Your characters are the heart of the story and have to feel real, right down to their little foibles and bad habits.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?
When I write, it tends to be in silence. I need that to think. With my recently completed novel, The Powers, however, I wanted to incorporate some modern songs so listened to quite a few. That particular story has a strong romantic core. There is a High School prom scene as well, and I chose songs that I imagined would be played at the prom and had emotional significance.
On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
Sometimes my weekends are spent writing! But when not, I go out with friends and recharge my batteries, going to cafes or to the cinema, usually with friends I knew from previous jobs who I have stayed in touch with.
What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
I am concentrating on Young Adult supernatural tales now because it interests me and I seem to have flare for it. Of course, there may be those who disagree! But, as mentioned before, my last novel had a strong romantic element. It is an action adventure, but the romantic core was very strong. I don't read paranormal romance but was a big fan of the television show, Roswell, which had a love story at its center. I wanted to create a story that revolved around a very deep emotional connection between two characters. Stories are all about emotions, whether they be fear, revenge, sadness, or love.
Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
Blood Family has quite a lengthy dedication at the front of the book. Included are friends who supported me and also people who helped me with the research. Without them, I might have written a lesser work, or might not have carried on at all.
What are you currently reading?
Quite often I read nonfiction as a change from fantasy fiction. I am reading a book on Pompeii at the moment. The story of how the Roman town was buried by the ash of Vesuvius in 79AD is a distressing but compelling one. I have been to two Pompeii artifact exhibitions. I must get around to reading Robert Harris’ novel about the disaster!
Who are your favorite authors?
I do love some of the older authors like Tolkien, John Christopher, and John Wyndham. Something about that older style of writing that really appeals to me. And you can’t beat Jules Verne and HG Wells! They are the fathers of wonderfully weird storytelling.
What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? Why?
I first conceived of the premise for Blood Family back in 2004, so my answer would be whichever authors I was reading at the time – because any book that I love will inspire me to write. If I get something from a book, thrills, surprises, emotional highs, then it compels me to create the same. But as to direct inspiration, I can site authors like Anne Rice, Darren Shan, and Phillip Pullman. I remember being lost in their worlds around about that time.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself.
Persevering. Imaginative. Obsessive. Self-critical. Visual. Introspective. Particular.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
That's an easy one! And it applies to all my stories. The character who is my favorite is my main character, Daniel Dark. I think if an author isn’t totally into his protagonist, then why bother? He or she is who drives the story, pulls your reader along. It is the central character who is the story. For me, if I don't make the main character the most interesting and most dynamic person within the tale, then I shouldn’t be writing it. And plus, all writers, I think, take an aspect of themselves and mold their hero out of that. It can be a part of you that the public sees, or never sees. Or a facet of your personality you would like to cultivate; the person you wish you were. Daniel has the dynamic, forthright, and impetuous qualities I wish I had sometimes. And he definitely has the drive and perseverance that I know I have. Completing a novel certainly requires both!
Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
For any aspiring young authors I would say this: I have been writing since I was in my very early teens. I started with short stories, and then tried my hands at novels. I was 16 when I tried my first novel – a Star Wars sequel! Gosh, it was terrible. I think, really, I wanted to make my own Star Wars movie; I couldn’t really do that at 16, but I could write one down. My mother urged me to write original stories, and told me of an author she had read an interview with, who gave the simple advice ‘don't never give up!’. That deliberate double negative has stayed with me. If your first story isn’t published, or appreciated, it does not mean that it is no good. It means that you are still honing your talent. To be good at writing you have to write. But don't just consider your early work mere practice. Everything you write is—or should be—a fun experience. If you love what you're writing, your readers surely will, which is the best possible advice I could give.
Contact the Author: Amazon