Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Christina McKnight Author Interview

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Christina McKnight from Modesto, California.


Rachelle: Christina, Your first book will be released this December. Tell us a bit about your story.

Christina: I’m very excited to release my first novel. Only in Her Dreams is an Urban Fantasy, focusing on the Greek Demigods of Dreams, the Oneiroi.

Synopsis:
Lucessa is a woman living a life full of hardships. Maxim is an Oneiroi seeking to fulfill a promise.

Maxim Lucas, a Dream Walker, is not of this world. As an Oneiroi, he is charged with protecting a woman whose fate will determine the future of both Erebos -the land of the Oneiroi- and Earth. When a member of Maxim's family threatens Lucessa’s safety, he will stop at nothing to protect her...divided loyalties or not!

When Lucessa Sarcona awoke from a familiar dream, she never imagined her life was about to be turned upside down. The stranger was familiar to her dreams, but when he shows up, in the flesh, Lucessa knows she’s either crazy or experiencing something not of this world.

A war between three demigod brothers – one trained to rule Erebos, one summoned back to rule, and one given the task of protecting the woman integral to keeping the Oneiroi, and humans, safe. How is she linked to the Oneiroi? Why do two brothers seek to keep her hidden and protected? And how does another brother plan to use her against the two demigods who love her?

Will the threat to Lucessa’s life be eradicated? Will Maxim have the courage to claim her as his own or will he bow to the command of another, forsaking the one he loves?

Only in Her Dreams is a modern spin on a Greek legend; the new direction of Urban Fantasy, moving from angels, demons, vampires, and witches and toward the Realm of Demigods.



Rachelle: Sounds interesting. How you come up with the idea for a novel about demigods based on dreams?

Christina: Only in Her Dreams actually came to me in a dream. Ironic, I know. Several times I dreamt of a man watching me. He never approached, moved, or spoke, but stayed silently in the background. I starting thinking: Who is this guy? What does he want?

A fellow writer -and self-proclaimed dream expert- said the man may be someone I’ve come into contact with recently. My next question: What if this mystery man from my dream showed up in real life?


Rachelle: Wow, very interesting. So you pretty much let your imagination take off. Your main character suffered a traumatic event in her childhood. How did it affect her sense of reality, her relationships with others and her ability to believe in the supernatural?


Christina: As a child, Lucessa, was in a devastating car crash that killed her father. Shortly after, her mother started exhibiting signs of early onset Alzheimer’s.  This left Lucessa to raise herself. She has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Because of these early experiences, she learned to rely solely on her own abilities. When Maxim shows up, her reaction is to try and solve things herself. The funny part is, she doesn’t have a hard time buying into the supernatural part of Maxim’s existence- he’d visited her dreams for years. It’s easy for her to take him at face value, he’s a demigod…the other option is that she’s crazy.  Which explanation would you chose?


Rachelle: Sure, I'd rather believe in hunky demi-gods than my own insanity. So you came up with this concept. Did you plot it out or let the story develop as you wrote? How long did it take you to write the first draft?


Christina: As you can see from above, I flew by the seat of my pants (pantser) for Dreams. I had a vague idea of a story, with zero concept of where the story would lead. I didn’t know my characters, their motivations or goals.

Only in Her Dreams was my 2011 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. I completed the first draft in fewer than forty days. It was a whirlwind adventure for me. My characters took me way out of my comfort zone, challenging me to fit the pieces together.

I’m taking a different approach with my current work in progress, Shunned No More. It’s a historical romance that takes me back to my roots, a genre that’s nearest my heart. I’ve spent about twenty hours plotting and outlining everything, including the beginning, middle, dark moment, twists, and the ending resolution.  I know my characters’ motivations and goals. Although, I’m not completely convinced all this will help when it comes to actually writing the novel. Characters tend to have a mind of their own. Plotting allows me to see what direction the story may go, permitting me to explore all paths before I chose one.


Rachelle: Sounds good to me. Looks like doing both keeps you busy. What is your typical work day like? I know you juggle job, family and housework like a lot of us do. How do you fit in your writing?


Christina: I do have a full plate. I work full time as a bookkeeper and office manager. I’m also a wife and mother (this is the real work J). As a writer, I find time to fit everything in my day. Currently, I get up at 4:45am and write/edit until my daughter gets up at 6:30am. Then, it’s ‘go time’…breakfast, packing lunches, getting everyone dressed, and I’m out the door. Thankfully, I can occasionally do blog posts, outlining, and correspondence with other writers at work. Is my boss reading this???

Unfortunately, I’m also a ‘Yes Man (Woman)’. Along with everything listed above, I’m a Girl Scout leader, dedicated member of Critique Circle online, member of several writing groups, a book group, and a bunko group. See where I’m going with this? I can’t say no! But I enjoy everything I’m involved in and try my best to give it 100% of my effort.

To help juggle my busy life, I schedule my days and try to stay organized. My calendar is my best friend.  I stay dedicated and committed to the schedule I set up. This enables me to cram twenty-eight hours’ worth of work into just twenty-four hours.


Rachelle: I'm getting tired just reading about your day! Okay, on to something else. Is there a particular writer who inspires you?


Christina: How can I narrow this done to one? I can’t, so I’ll limit it to a certain genre. I grew up reading Historical Romance novels. My idea of what equates to a great story was molded by Christina Dodd, Amanda Quick, Stephanie Laurens, Pamela Britton, and Julia Quinn. I’ll stop there! My addiction started at a young age. I’d pilfer my mom’s romance novels from her bookshelf. By age thirteen, I’d finished all the Little House books, the Anne of Green Gables series, and everything by R.L Stine…what’s a girl to do? When I was eighteen, I inherited my great-grandmother’s collection of 1970-1980s bodice rippers.  I was in heaven! I still have most of them waiting in storage until my home library is built (a girl can dream!).

Rachelle: Well, Christina, it does sound like your dreams are coming true. I'm excited to see your revisions going through the queue at Critique Circle. Thanks for being on my blog.

Author Bio:

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. 

In college, Christina took many courses to help develop and enhance her writing skills. She completed a seventy-page dissertation on the need for community policing in American society. Now, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance. Her debut Urban Fantasy novel, Only in Her Dreams, will be released on December 15, 2012.

Christina lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, two boxers, two cats, and a Beta fish named Marmaduke.  If she’s not behind a computer screen or book, she’s busy leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She is very active in several writing groups and a local book group.





28 comments:

  1. Great interview! Loved hearing about Only in Her Dreams. Wow, Christina--you do have a busy schedule! Good luck with final edits and the release!

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    1. Hey Chantel,

      Thanks for stopping by Rachelle's blog. Some days I'm so busy I don't do anything, LOL. One more round of edits and Dreams is on its way to my editor, Norine Fisher.

      Thanks again,
      Christy

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  2. Rachelle,

    Thank you for hosting me on your blog! Your support of Only in Her Dreams is very much appreciated. Thank you for all the time you spend helping other writers.

    Christina

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    1. You're welcome. I enjoyed learning about these dream warriors, the Oneiroi. Mixing Greek mythology and urban fantasy is a fresh and new idea. Love it!

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  3. Christina, I loved this interview. We're in two writer's groups together and I finally get know more about you. And I thought I was busy. I'm fortunate to have read your draft of Only in Her Dreams and can't wait to read the final revision. BTW - your bio picture is gorgeous. Keep up the hard work. You're awesome. Mary Merrell

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary! Every writer should join a local writing group.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I love the idea of using myth as a base for fantasy. Not only do we get a good read, but we get a mythology lesson too!:)

    Can't wait to find out what happens to everyone in your book, Christina! Great interview, Rachelle!

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    1. Lauren,

      Greek mythology is so interesting and the story concepts you can draw from them are limitless. Thank you for your support.

      Christina

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  5. Great interview. Modesto is becoming a hotbed of imaginative writers, and Christine is in the midst of that group. I'll be delighted to crow that "I her knew her when." What this interview leaves out is mentioning her generous support of her colleagues.

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    1. Thanks, MoBurn! Modesto is a great place for writers...and really anyone with an artistic flare!

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  6. Great interview. Like you, I'm a YES person. Your book sounds terrific. Can't wait for it to be released.

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    1. Thanks, Janna! BTW-I ran into a friend yesterday and she is reading your book, Fair Play! Small world!

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  7. Great interview, Christina and Rachelle! Looking forward to the release of your book. Hawt cover, BTW :-D

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    1. Thanks Dariel! My cover was designed by Dara at LFD Designs for Authors.

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  9. Great interview! Congrats, Christina!

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  10. Great interview, Christina & Rachelle! The book sounds right up my alley :) I love reading how ideas are inspired and this was so interesting. I have yet to dream about any of my characters (except for the occasional daydream). Congrats Christina! I can't wait to read it!

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  11. Love the interview... Intrestingly enough, my fourteen year old came back from school two weeks ago and said he learned that we dream real people in our dreams. Even the people we don't recognize are people we've seen in real life and store in our memories. Your response made me remember that. I also love the demigod comeback! Woo hoo!

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    1. It is so true about the dreams. Thanks for stopping by Mel!

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  12. Nice! I love it when ideas come in dreams/daydreams and you start to wonder 'what if?'. I actually had one of these ideas recently and might be entering the realm of dreams myself quite soon!
    Can't wait to get my hands on your MS :D
    And wow on your busy day. Hmmm... maybe I should start planning my days too :p

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  13. Hey Stef,

    Please join me in dreams/daydreams...it's kinda lonely here, LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Wow great answers and questions! . Your going to be famous..new york best sellers?

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    1. One can only hope! Thanks for the support!

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  15. Christina, wow! As in wow. Your typical work day is amazing. I definitely understand that, though. I just love how organized you are. Although at the moment, I have someone helping me look after my son as I really can't work and concentrate on my son's (terrible but oh-so-cute twos) activities. I'm a WAHM.

    "Only in Her Dreams" sounds really exciting! I will have to check this one out in December. It's rather interesting as to what inspired you to write this novel.

    Congratulations, Christina! More more more!

    By the way, I'm Ara. Followed you on Twitter and followed your blog via GFC.

    Rachelle, as always, great interview ;)

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    1. Thanks Ara. Only in Her Dreams is going through final edits now and I'll be moving up my release date. I'd love to send you an ARC when it is ready.

      Thank you so much for your interest.
      Christina

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