And now, for a change of pace, I’m trying something I’ve seldom done on my blog before—I’m interviewing an author about her “new” book. I put quotes around the word “new” because although this book was initially published many years ago, this isn’t just a reissue of the same material. Katriena Knights used this opportunity to look at one of her first published books through the eyes of the experienced author of many books she has since become.
And since Katriena Knights is my daughter, I already know the answers to most of the questions asked of authors, and I know she’s answered them many times with other interviewers. I know she started writing before she could actually write by dictating poetry to me—things like “Ode to a Pancake,” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” I know she wrote “books” about talking horses when she was in the fourth grade, and her teacher read them aloud to the class. And I know that if I got any of the above wrong, she won’t hesitate to tell me so. : - )
So I thought I’d just ask about her latest published paperback—which was also one of her first—and how that process went.
KK: My latest paperback is Dealing With David, which arrived in March from Samhain Publishing. It’s a reprint—it originally appeared from Hard Shell World Factory in around 2000.
1. It’s not often authors get to go back and take another look at previous books. How did this come about?
Dealing With David had been available at Hard Shell Word Factory for quite some time. It actually sold fairly well in the early days—it made the bestseller list at Peanut Reader back in the day. But the market has changed enough that I thought it was time to try something different with the book and give it another chance to find its market. So I submitted it to Samhain. I’ve published a few books with Samhain and like working with my editor there, so I thought it might be a good fit.
2. What kinds of things did this editor want to change and in what way did she want to change them?
My editor, Linda Ingmanson, felt that Tony, the heroine, was a bit too abrasive, and that David wasn’t alpha enough. There were also some areas where she didn’t feel the motivation or the conflict was explained quite well enough for a reader to fully sympathize with the choices that were made.
3. How did you feel about making those changes?
I focused a bit more on the motivation than the other elements, because I felt that if the motivation would clarify the characterizations. This worked to some extent, but I did do some work with the characterizations when that didn’t seem like quite enough. However, we had some disagreement about David and the “alpha male” issue. I don’t like alpha males. I find them annoying. So I went about that a bit differently. I gave David clearer motivation, and a slightly stronger personality, which I thought walked a good middle line between what I wanted to do with the character and what my editor thought might fit the market. I was pretty happy with the results, and I’m grateful to have an editor who’s flexible about this kind of work. I’ve worked with editors who aren’t, and it’s not fun.
4. Did your rework change your basic feelings about the book? How and why?
I think it’s a better book. I also think it’s a bit more in line with how I feel about relationships and balance and reflects my growth since I wrote the book.
5. Would you do this again with another book if given the opportunity? Which one(s)? What would you change/expand/cut?
I would. I’ve already done some work on some other backlist books that I revised before I re-released them independently. On some of them, I reduced the erotic content fairly significantly since I had added that for a specific publisher. I also did a bit of additional work with characterization and plot work where I felt it needed some tweaking. I haven’t done major revisions on these stories, though. In at least one case where I’ve had an opportunity to re-release a book, I passed on doing intensive revisions because I found it was difficult for me to engage with the book—not because I thought the revision suggestions were bad, but because digging deeply into that particular story brought me to an emotional place I found hard to deal with. That’s based on what’s happened in my life since the story was written, and that was a difficult decision to make.
6. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few things right now. I have a paranormal romantic suspense I’m doing edits on as well as a non-paranormal romantic suspense that’s in first draft. I’m also working on a sequel to Necromancing Nim, which came out last October from Samhain. And there’s a sequel to Where There’s a Will in the works, as well. On top of that, I’ve been writing quite a few short stories. I tend to work on a lot of things at once in a mostly useless attempt to keep myself out of trouble.
7. What are your writing plans for the future?
I intend to keep writing what I enjoy and try to find people who also enjoy it. I have a whole door covered with Post-It notes with story ideas on them, and ideally I’d like to write all of them. Plus others.