Guest interview: Julia Knight
Our special guest today is Julia Knight. First, let me say Happy Birthday, Julia!!
Julia Knight lives in Sussex, UK, with her ever patient husband, two eccentric kids and the world’s daftest dog. When not writing, which isn’t often, she likes motorbikes (men in leather), watching the wrestling (men in not very much apart from muscles, sweat and baby oil) and exploring new ways to get a giggle out of life.
Welcome, Julia! Please tell us about your new release from Carina Press.
Ten Ruby Trick is a piratical fantasy centring on Van Gast, a racketeer who lives for thrills; his lover, the unpredictable Josie, and the mage-bonded slave set to catch them, Holden. Van Gast and Josie delight in pretending they loathe each other, using that to further their scams. Sadly, when Van Gast steals the wrong ship, Holden is ordered to use the racketeer’s “worst enemy” to help flush him out. Things go from bad to worse when Holden discovers that “enemy” is Josie, his own former lover…
Sounds fun and fascinating! What inspired this story?
Lawks, all sorts of things. I was a bit obsessed with pirates at the time—my pirate period!—having just finished an historical erotic novella about them, inspired by a trip to Portsmouth Naval Museum. Then these two scallywags turned up in my head, Van Gast and Josie. She was trying to scam someone by pretending she hated Van Gast, so I wanted to know who they were scamming and why, and it all sort of spiralled from there, especially once I had a certain song in my head—The Unforgiven III by Metallica. Yes, I know it sounds a bit odd, but once I have a song for a book, it really takes off, and that one suits both Van Gast and Holden, and the theme of the book, so well.
I know what you mean. Having a song that fits the story is so inspiring and truly helps me write it. Please tell us about an interesting or unusual quirk one of your characters has.
Well they all have their quirks! Van Gast will always pick the stupid-but-exciting over the sensible-but-dull (and I’m sure we all wish we could do that more often). Josie is capricious and unpredictable, just a blast to write about, and probably my favourite. But the most unusual quirk is probably Holden’s. He’s mage-bound, that is he’s under the control of a mage who directs even his thoughts. He struggles through the whole book between doing what he’s supposed to, and what he wants to, and the best way to keep his mind in order is to look for patterns in everything. He finds order soothing.
Those are great quirks. How do you choose names for your characters?
It depends. Josie and Holden just sort of came with names attached. Van Gast, well I couldn’t think of a good name. Luckily my husband is used to questions such as ‘I need a pirate name. Now!’. Then it stuck, although a friend of mine, after seeing the cover, insists on calling him Van Gasp.
LOL! I agree. Awesome cover! Did you choose the intriguing title of your book and if so how did you do it?
I did, in fact it was almost the first thing I knew about the book, which is unusual for me. It’s the name of a con that Van Gast and Josie used to run, and that now resurfaces in a more menacing manner.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I can’t say I have one—there are so many places to love! However, I suspect you can spot my love for Marrakech in one of the cities in this book. I have a soft spot for the Norwegian fjords too.
What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?
Just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean it should be a doorstopper! My first book was, and I blush to admit this, 225 000 words long. More than twice your average book. Once I discovered that a debut book this length was such a hard sell, I trimmed it down to 110 000, and discovered that it became a much better book in the process. So I suppose what I learnt was to take out what wasn’t important to the story.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m waiting on betas to finish ripping apart, er, critiquing a Viking historical romance and I’m just finishing up a rather dark fantasy noir—no romance, just for a change. After that, I’m going back to Van Gast’s world for a new con trick: Find the Lady.
These sound wonderful! Would you like to ask readers a question?
Staying with the piratical theme—who is your favourite fictional pirate?
Please visit Julia on the web...
Ten Ruby Trick is available at Carina Press and Amazon.
Thanks for being our guest today, Julia! I hope your birthday is wonderful!