I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview with...Angela Knight

This is an interview I conducted with Angela Knight for the RWNZ Heart to Heart magazine (March 2009 issue).

Angela’s love for paranormal romance is evident in her cross-genre novels, combining futuristic, fantasy and romantic fiction with incredible success. Over the last decade she’s been a multi-nominee and winner of the PEARL Award & RIO Award for many of her books.
Besides writing romance, her publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. In 1996, she achieved her dream of romance publication in the Secrets 2 anthology with Red Sage. She’s also sold books to Changeling Press and Loose Id.
After publishing several more novellas in Secrets she was discovered by Berkley editor, Cindy Hwang, for whom she now writes two highly popular series – the Mageverse and Time Hunters series.
She attributes her success to the wonderful editors she’s had over the years, all of whom encouraged her to believe in herself and her talent for romance writing.
Angela continues to rock the paranormal romance world with her success. With her work hitting the bestseller lists, she stands alongside other highly successful paranormal authors such as J.R.Ward, Sherriyn Kenyon, Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan.
Angela takes time out from her hectic schedule to share her thoughts into the world of paranormal romance. 

I'm always fascinated by the books/authors/life experiences that influenced writers. What inspired you to become a writer? Do you have a particular author you like to read or were influenced by? What are you reading now? 
Nora Roberts is a big influence on me. Others include Lois McMaster Bujold, Laurell K. Hamilton, Linda Howard, Jennifer Blake, JR Ward, Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher, and many, many others. I'm a voracious reader, particularly of urban fantasy novels.

What draws you to write paranormal romances? 
I love letting my imagination run, thinking about the implications of things. How would being a vampire affect the way one makes love?  What if King Arthur were a vampire?  How did he get to be a vampire?  Playing with those kinds of ideas is great fun.

Mentioning paranormal romance to the un-enlightened can sometimes elicit lamentable cracks about the genre eg. "Eww, that's sex with aliens/shapeshifters (inset appropriate label here)." Have you experienced these sorts of comments in the past and how have you dealt with them? 
Yeah, I do get that sometimes. Mostly it's just distaste for the fact that I write about sex at all. I just smile and shrug. There's not much else you can really do.

You started out being published by Red Sage, a small press publisher. How has this helped you in your career as an author? Would you recommend this pathway for writers trying to break into the world of publishing? 
Oh, it was a huge help. My Berkley editor, Cindy Hwang, read my Secrets novellas and decided she wanted to see if I'd write for Berkley. So she actually approached ME. This does NOT happen. Yet it has worked out very well for both of us.
I think it's good for new authors to write for small presses and e-presses. Writing is a difficult craft, and it takes time and effort to learn. Working with editors at small presses lets you learn skills that New York editors are not going to take the time to teach you.

Jane's Warlord was the first novel of yours that I read. Captive Dreams (with Diane Whiteside) was the second. Baran, Mykhayl and Jarred are all alpha males. Yet Jane, Corrine and Celeste are heroines more than a match for each of them, capable and resourceful women in their own right. What are your thoughts on why alpha heroes and strong heroines have such a fascinating appeal to readers?
I think if you're going to write Alpha Males, you HAVE to write kickass heroines. Otherwise, you get the eighties effect -- hapless, dishrag heroines who get run over by these butch males.
You can't get a good romantic conflict going with a pair like that, because the heroine is too far out of her weight class. But an assertive, strong heroine can get up in the Alpha's face and give him a good fight. It makes for better drama, and readers will enjoy it more. 

In the Mageverse series you combined the mythos of Merlin and King Arthur and made your heroes vampiric knights. In addition, you have them interacting with shapeshifters, sorceresses, and magic in a contemporary world and alternate universes. What inspired you to give the vampire tale a new twist? 
I love vampires and always have. But they've been DONE. You have to find some way to make them different and special. For me, adding in the Arthurian legends let me turn everything sideways and have a great deal of fun.

You've recently released The Time Hunters series, with Warrior debuting in July 2008. Guardian comes out in May 2009. How hard was it to begin planning or building a new series after writing (and continue to) the highly-successful Mageverse series? What does the future hold for The Time Hunters series? 
There will be a third book that will wrap up the series. For me, the Time Hunters series was a great way to play in the Jane's Warlord universe without having to set the series completely in the future. I was afraid a futuristic series wouldn't work with readers. So by pairing these superhuman characters with heroes and heroines in the present, I got to play without going too far.

What do you think it is about your books that give them such appeal? Is it the cross-genre mix? The memorable characters? Your incredible world building?
Thank you for the compliment!  I have no idea why people enjoy my books. I only know why I enjoy my books. I love playing with handsome Alpha heroes with a superhuman twist, and heroines who can go toe to toe with them. I love writing great sex scenes and great fight scenes, and roller coaster plots. I think my enjoyment of those elements communicates itself to the reader. If I'm having a good time, the reader has a good time. That's the key to success as a writer.

I'm always interested to learn about an author's writing habits. Can you tell us a little bit about your routine/research? 
I just spent a week following around a forensic chemist who is also a member of the bomb squad as well as an arson investigator. So I got to wear part of a bomb suit and take pictures of their bomb robot, and watch them detonate an explosive chemical sample they found.
I also tested various samples to find out if they were cocaine or crack. I'm now going to incorporate those elements in my new Mageverse book, which features King Arthur's mortal son, who is a forensic chemist. I spent a lot of time brainstorming with the chemist friend on ways to kill him!  It was a lot of fun.
I think anytime you can research by actually talking to somebody who does that job, your work is so much stronger. I now know how cocaine smells, and what a mortar feels like. And my chemist friend (Lt. Ashley Harris) also helped me come up with a great bomb to use in the opening scene. He seemed to be thrilled at having a hero modeled on him, and I had a fantastic time.

What keeps you motivated when the writing gets hard? 
Money. LOL!  I'm under contract, so I've got to deliver one way or another. So that keeps me writing every day.

The paranormal genre still seems to be quite popular in the marketplace. Are there any particular themes that tend to resonate or remain popular in this genre? Do you feel that it still has a strong future or are publishers beginning to cut back? 
I think readers are still fascinated by paranormal elements, because they want to fantasize about superhuman heroes. Look at all the superheroes we're seeing in the movies -- Iron Man, Batman, etc. The need for fantasy is particularly strong when times get grim.

Is life as a published writer how you imagined it would be or have there been some surprises? Are there things you'd do differently given the chance to go back and do it again? 
I would have had more confidence in myself and finished and submitted more books earlier than I did. When I was younger, I just didn't believe I was any good. The positive response I got on the Secrets books on Amazon gave me the courage to go for it.
I was very insecure -- just like most writers. Taking a chance on myself was worth it, though, because now I’m making great money and hitting the best-seller list. I think young writers need to go for it -- just take a chance on your work. Educate yourself on the market and write the best book you possibly can, and you will eventually succeed.

Do you have any advice for someone setting out in this business who wants a long-term career as an author? Any experiences that you'd like to share in your journey to publication?
Like I said, FINISH YOUR BOOK AND SUBMIT IT. However, you should check out publishers you submit to, to make sure they have good reputations, and you should be careful about the contracts you sign, because you can get screwed by fly-by-night pubs.
Luckily, if you join online writer's groups, you can usually ask around and find out a lot about these publishers. I personally like Changeling Press and Loose Id as e-publishers as a venue for new writers. I know the publishers of both companies, and I'm comfortable recommending them. They're not going to screw you. And of course, Red Sage is a great company.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or share with us about your writing? 
My new book, GUARDIAN, is coming out in May. I did a book video for it myself, with my own artwork. The first edit of it used my voice and some music I had bought from Renderosity. My editor told me the marketing guy hated my Southern accent and the music sounded like a porn vid, so I hired a professional narrator through Circle of Seven, and redid the music. Here's the redone video. I hope you like it!
You can also check out my website

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

Angela, thanks for answering my questions and sharing your experiences with us!


  1. Great interview questions, Kylie! And Angela, thanks for sharing your insights with us -- reading this has been a really excellent way to kick off a Friday morning *VBG*

    I do think finishing the book and submitting it is The Best advice. So often I hear people at my RWNZ meetings saying they've finished manuscripts -- a wonderful achievement! -- but they don't want to submit it. I always feel a bit saddened when I hear that.

    Kylie, Angela's got another book coming out with Red Sage in January! Can't wait to get my hands on it...

  2. Oh, goodie, I love adding to my Angela Knight collection!

    If someone is a part of a writer's group it sounds like they're interested in doing something with their work other than just writing for their own pleasure. It is sad though, when you hear that they have a finished ms and do nothing with it. I often wonder if it's fear holding them back - fear of rejection, fear of exposing something of themselves, fear of success.

    Thanks for dropping by, Maree! :-)

  3. Kylie, being the curious sort -- you know me! -- I've asked why. The main reason is being too afraid to submit, closely followed by not wanting to put themselves through all the emotional stress. I understand that -- believe me, I do. But it's sad to think that a wonderful story might remain locked in a bottom drawer or filed away on a computer's harddrive.

  4. Thanks for the lovely interview today !


  5. Good on you for asking, Maree, sometimes all someone needs is a little support and encouragement to take that first step.

    But for those who remain adamant, I agree, what a lot of emotional time and effort to expend getting the story written then to put it in a draw never to see the light of day again!

    Hey, Angi, great to see you visiting my blog again - welcome!

  6. Wow! really wonderful and creative post, I just visited first time on your blog by searching letter format. Thanks, i'll back to reply.

  7. Hi Ian, welcome to my blog - I hope you enjoy many more posts to come! :-)

  8. This was a great interview and we can all benefit from hearing other peoples stories.Reading her replies made me think how we can be so critical of ourselves. It also makes me realize how brave every writer is who puts their work out there. I was in a comic show once that a friend had written. She hated opening nights when she had to wait and see if people would laugh. I now understand what she meant. Maggie

  9. Hi Maggie, it is scary putting your work out there but once you do it it gets much easier. And I get what you mean about being critical of our writing. Sometimes we need to take a step back and let it alone for a while, then when we come back to it, it doesn't seem as awful/bad/could do better as we thought it did originally.

  10. Thanks for doing this great interview, Kylie. Angela Knight is a keeper for me. My favorite is her first book though, The Forever Kiss.
    Love it.
    Cathleen Ross

  11. Hi Cathleen, my favourite of Angela's is JANE'S WARLORD, and the rest in the Time Guardian series follow.

    I also have PASSIONATE INK (guide to writing erotic romance) and have bits highlighted all over the place. I especially like the internal and external events tables she outlined for Baran and Jane. THey're excellent guides to emotional and plot turning points.

  12. Great interview Kylie!
    I've read a few of Angela's books and really enjoyed them. But I highly recommend her "How To" book, Passionate Ink, it's fantastic =)

  13. Second Mel's plug for PASSIONATE INK - think I mentioned how good it was before! :-D