#1 What am I working on?
I am at work on my third novel. The main character is a young woman called Spark who keeps falling for the wrong person, but that is the least of her problems. Her father, grandmother, and best friend are each struggling with a different health crisis, and the only thing that gets Spark through is music.
#2 How does my work differ from others in the same genre?
If the genre is “lesbian fiction,” my work tends to the more mainstream or general fiction end of that spectrum. There is same-sex desire in most of my fiction, but in the novels, I tend to work best with a variety of characters, including male characters. There are certainly other writers who deal with some of the same themes I do, such as family, spiritual faith, and humor! But I try to make a contribution that is a little bit unique.
#3 Why do I write what I do?
Writing is a habit and if I don’t write, I get withdrawal—it’s part of my life. But once I create characters, I care about them as if they were real people, and my aim is to get that across to my readers. When readers say they were moved by something I wrote or it made them think or made them laugh—that is the best feeling. I love that experience as a reader, and so I love to share it with others.
#4 How does my writing process work?
I write best in a kind of half-conscious flow, before I can start self-editing and blocking myself from just getting it all out on paper. And paper it is—I write with a pencil, ideally before I’ve turned on a computer at all, as early in the day as possible. I do sketch out plot ideas and have some idea where the story is going, but that’s only a guide. I listen to music the whole time. Only at the rewriting stage do I start putting a version of those paper drafts into typed form, so I can share them with my writing group and get their help.
The “Reading” page at jeknowles.com has published stories that you can read for free. There are also links to my books, and a contact page, because I always love to hear what others are reading. Thanks!
J. E. Knowles is the author of The Trees in the Field and Arusha, a 2010 Lambda Literary Award finalist, and editor of Faith in Writing. She also blogs at The Discreet Traveler: jeknowles.blogspot.com
Next up, we’re keeping it in Canada! Here are a couple of terrific writers you should read:
Liz Bugg (lizbugg.com) is a Toronto-based writer best known for her Calli Barnow mystery series. Her first novel, Red Rover, won a Goldie Award for Debut Author from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and Yellow Vengeance is short-listed for this year's Goldies in the Mystery/Thriller category. Liz also writes short stories, and is presently working on a novel based on the life of her grandmother.
Nadine LaPierre (nadinelapierre.com) is a playwright, novelist, and composer. Her novel The Slayer, is the first in a mystery-thriller series set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and featuring Constable Danielle Renaud, an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Her follow-up, Verity, is coming soon.