Meet Alex Knight, author of murder mystery novels born in Toronto who have lived in a number of cities in Canada and the United States.
Hello Alex, so happy to have you joining us. Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of BODYGUARD, The Adventures of Anya Orlova?
This is the story and back story of a young woman who had to grow up with an unusual gift that often threw her into the path of danger.
How real are your characters?
Almost all of my characters are composites of people I know or have known so some of them are all too real.
It started as a short story in September 2010, inspired by a random comment a colleague had made about a little tavern. That’s usually all it takes to get me started, a random word or comment that brings out the best (or worst) in me.
But always entertaining, Alex. When did you first know you just had to write?
Like many other writers, I’ve been an avid reader from an early age. I knew that I wanted to entertain others the way that I had been entertained over the years. It’s always hard to take that first step, especially if you’re plagued with self-doubt. After putting it off for decades, I made it a goal to be published before I reached my 50th birthday. I was and I haven’t looked back.
How long did it take you to write Bodyguard?
As mentioned earlier, it started as a short story in 2010. Over the course of the next two years the protag whispered to me constantly, telling me her back story. In 2012 I started working on it again and released it in January 2013. While it didn’t take three years of writing, it did take that long to realize it was going to be a novella and to get it written and published.
How did you come up with the title?
The working title changed a number of times from start to finish. When it was time to create the cover I had to provide a title; eventually it presented itself.
What is your favorite paragraph in Bodyguard?
“Heed our advice and our warnings. When you are no longer a child we can no longer guide you.”
“But Grandmother, I stopped being a child yesterday.” This terrible truth was confirmed by the gravity of my tone and my solemn expression.
And she was only six, poor Anya. Alex, who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, John D. MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane were the authors I read and admired the most when I was growing up. I think one of the things I like the most about their writing is that it stands the test of time. Their stories are still quality entertainment.
What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing?
When I first started to write I enjoyed some immediate success and so I thought I was ready for bigger and better things. Apparently, according to the much copied, photo-copied rejection letters I received from a major magazine, I wasn’t. (I didn’t even merit an ‘original’ photo-copy, addressed to me, or signed.) That brought me back down to earth pretty damn fast. However, if you don’t try you’ll never succeed.
But many likes your story.Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?
Alongside of my family, it would be a great group of writers that I have had the pleasure of knowing for well over a decade. Write Stuff is comprised of several very talented writers that I often refer to as my extended family. We have shared each other’s joys and sorrows and celebrated each other’s victories as if they were our own. Their belief in me has made it possible for me to believe in myself.
What are you working on right now?
I have six NaNoWriMo novels that I have done nothing with since having ‘won.’ My goal is to revisit them and do some serious editing this year. I hope to release them all before the end of the year.
Tell us your latest news.
I am working on a love story. It’s a bit out of the ordinary for me and it’s going to be extremely difficult not to throw in a murder, or two.
And why not? 🙂
Do you see writing as a career or distraction?
It definitely isn’t a distraction, but I don’t see it being a career until I retire.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to continue to work full time, work part time at home, run a household, and write and edit my writing. Until I can devote at least eight hours a day to my writing and editing of same, I can’t call it a career.
How much do you have in common with your protags?
Every protag is a bit of me, a bit of my daughter and a bit of my sister. Of course being the eldest, both of them tend to be rather like me so perhaps all of the protags are a lot like me. The humor, bits of sarcasm, the courage, the second-guessing, the self-doubt, the loyalty, the willingness to pack up and start over – all of that is me. The physical characteristics are mostly a combination of the three of us.
What are your hobbies?
Besides reading, I love watching old classic movies, listening to music, making jewelry (natural gemstones set in silver or copper) knitting, cooking, and fishing.
A woman of many talents! What is your other profession?
I am, what is affectionately known as, a bean counter (accountant.)
When do you find the time to write?
I often plot about murder during the day. Finding the time to actually write it all out is more difficult; like most other writers I grab spare minutes here and there.
Tell us a bit about who or what matters to you.
I admire those who stand up for others and who protect those who cannot protect themselves, whether they are protecting people or animals.
How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?
I mostly write about murder so I truly hope I haven’t influenced too many people. As to their attitudes towards me, they either love me or tend to avoid me.
What one thing is important for your readers to know about you?
They should take everything I say with several grains of salt.
Seriously, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is usually not serious at all. Often the second thing that comes out of my mouth isn’t much better. I laugh at life and myself a lot and if we can’t laugh at ourselves then the joke is truly on us.
Any tips for us on reading and writing?
Read as much as you can, whenever you can. Open yourself up to new genres. (I used to say that I loved all music except Country & Western and Opera. Having explored both, I can no longer say that.) You can like one genre more than another, but if you don’t explore and open your mind you can miss so many wonderfully written books that could truly change your life for the better. As to writing, you need to read as much as you can in every genre, not just the one you want to write in. Do not let family and/or friends discourage you. Like everything else in life, if you want it badly enough you have to work for it. If you don’t give it a shot you’ll never know.
I hate research. I love reading about a wide variety of topics—for entertainment purposes. The minute I ‘have to’ read about something—it becomes work.
And we can only give readers something that we love, right? Thank you so much for chatting with us Alex. Best wishes with the books!
And readers, here are here you can find Alex and her books:
Find Alex on The Web Links: