Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Kathryn Knight. She is #1 Amazon and B&N Bestselling Author of Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, and Young Adult novels.
Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult
Kathryn Knight books
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Kathryn Knight spends a great deal of time in her fictional world, where mundane chores don't exist and daily life involves steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and spooky suspense. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon Bestsellers and RomCon Reader-Rated picks. When she's not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time catching up on those mundane chores, driving kids around, and teaching fitness classes. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Dangerous Currents. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
Thanks James, and thanks for having me here today! I'm very excited about Dangerous Currents, it's my first novel without a paranormal element, and I love the way it came out. My next release goes back to my favorite combination of genres, as it's a romance combined with a ghost mystery much like several of my older novels. The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is a novella, slightly shorter than a full-length novel, and I'm thrilled to announce it will release first as part of a box set this fall. The Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Thrillers Box Set contains 21 brand new stories from a group of talented authors, and The Haunting of Hillwood Farm will be one of the stories with some paranormal suspense. The set releases on November 13th, and it's available for Pre-order right now. I'll include more information on Love Under Fire below, but for now, I'll give a short excerpt of a spooky scene from my contribution:
With a sharp pop, the light went out, plunging the room into darkness. Callie stilled, her heartbeat filling her ears. Something rustled behind her, and the hairs on her bare arms prickled. She was suddenly very sure she was not alone. A soft moan floated through the blackness. Panic gripped her, fierce and primal, clawing at her lungs. Did she have a weapon? Would it even work against whatever was here?
She struggled for air, a rancid odor filling her nostrils as she slowly inhaled. Death. Decay. Shadows shifted to her left, and her gaze jerked toward the movement. Behind the solid mass of her reflection in the mirror, the gauzy outline of a face peered over her shoulder. Empty eye sockets stared out from gray, filmy features, the hollow black holes somehow filled with menace.
A sob gathered in her chest, clogging her throat. Please, God. Let me wake up from this nightmare. Something cold and wet brushed against her upper back, and she screamed.
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?
Social media has made an enormous impact on my marketing efforts. When my first novel came out in 2012, I only had a FaceBook page, and I quickly realized I was missing out on a lot of opportunities to connect with readers. Since that first book came out, I've added Twitter, Triberr, and Pinterest, as well as a personal blog, which I keep up-to-date with not just my book information but other (hopefully) interesting posts on a variety of subjects. One of my publishers has a fantastic private chat loop for all the authors to share ideas and support each other, and getting advice and help there made the learning curve much easier. We also all follow each other on social media platforms, and that tends to expand outward to new followers and connections as we share each other's posts and tweets. At this point, social media is a bigger part of my book launch process than physical appearances, although I do think that's an important piece too.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I love to do all those things! I do a number of book signings and speaking engagements every year, at book stores, libraries, fairs, and social clubs. I've done local television, radio, and newspaper interviews as well. I love sharing my passion for books and details about my personal writing journey. I was just honored to be a guest instructor for the Cape Cod Teen Writers Conference, and I also participated in the wrap-up author panel on the last day. At the moment, I have tentative plans for a few speaking engagements this fall and winter, but I don't have the dates set yet. I always post my events on my FB author page and blog as the information becomes available, though.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Thank you! I love my covers, but the interesting thing is that they've been done by 5 different cover artists! I'm a hybrid author--I've been published by small and mid-sized publishers and I've also self-published. So each process is a bit different. The small publisher that contracted my first novel does a great job involving the author in the process. We are given a form to fill out describing our vision of the perfect cover, and I have always spent a great deal of time going into detail on each question, because I've always had a clear vision for each of my covers. Of course, when a publisher has contracted your book, you don't get the final say, but so far I've been very happy with the covers they've designed for me. For my self-pubbed books, I comb through the stock photo accounts used by the graphic artist I've chosen, and I pull suggestions for what I think will work together. They do mock-ups and try out different layouts and fonts for the title, etc. It's such fun! One thing I've always asked or looked for is a sense of danger and suspense, a mixture of light and darkness, because that's a theme in all my books. What I've avoided, although it probably sells books, are covers with prominent couples or a lot of skin. Even though many of my novels are steamy, I like to highlight the themes of mystery, secrets, and spooky suspense on my covers.
Several of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you?
Having two novels made into audio books has definitely allowed me to gain a new audience. I, personally, am a big fan of audio books, and I listen all the time. So for those people who prefer the audio format, having two books available has allowed me to expand my readership. I've had some fabulous reviews and had listeners recommend my books in the some of the FaceBook Audio Book groups, which is a huge boost. It increases my visibility, which is so important in this business. It's difficult for me to identify the exact impact on my regular sales, since I get my numbers from so many different places and at different intervals, but I do know of listeners who've like my two audiobooks and downloaded my other books on different formats to give those a try, so I would say it's a positive impact.
What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?
My primary genre is probably best defined as "Paranormal Romantic Suspense". None of my books really fall neatly into single genres. While all my novels have strong romantic components, four out of six also involve a ghost or haunted house mystery. So it's not exactly traditional paranormal romance, where one of the main characters is a supernatural creature of some sort. Instead, my main characters are humans dealing with a spooky supernatural mystery that is woven into the plot. It's what I like to read, and what I like to write. So while it's a bit of an unusual mix, my books appeal to people who are interested in that sort of thing: Haunted houses, ghost hunting, abandoned buildings, creepy places, etc. I market to fans of the spooky and supernatural as well as to fans of romance, suspense, and mystery.
How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?
This question is a great one, and I attached some humorous images that go with my answer.
I'm actually very old school in terms of how I keep track of everything. Backing up, I should say that I don't usually start typing until I have a complete story arc in my mind. The book's basic plot lives in my imagination for a while as I get to know that characters, work out some details, and then make sure there is solid conflict and an exciting climax. From there, I don't use any software. I draw out timelines by hand and buy a spiral-bound notebook to use for notes. I keep lists of characters, hooks, and reveals in the notebook, and then once the book is complete, I start over from Chapter 1, trying to view it as a new reader, and make notes about what questions are raised in each chapter, and who knows what in terms of the mystery and characters' pasts. So far, this method seems to work for me!
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I have never maintained a reader list beyond people who follow me on FB and Twitter in the past, but I did just start a newsletter a few months back. I decided to do this because it's a popular way to connect directly with readers, and exchanging features in newsletters with other authors is a valuable tool. So far I've built my list using social media, with help from other authors. I send it out around the first of the month, here's the sign-up form link for anyone interested!
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I use a combination of methods, since reviews are important. I'm fortunate to have connected with a few professional reviewers who really enjoyed my first novel and have been willing to read and review each consecutive book. My publisher automatically sends titles out to certain reviewers, and so my books may get picked up on those sites. They also just started doing NetGalley, which is a site readers can join to get free books in exchange for reviews. Beyond that I hope that readers will leave a review after they've purchased and read the book, and if a reader contacts me online to tell me they enjoyed one of my books, I ask them if they'd consider leaving a review if they have time. I think a lot of people think a book review has to be similar to a book report, but a simple "I liked it, I couldn't put this down, I'd recommend this to fans of x" is very helpful and appreciated!
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Love Under Fire with twenty other authors. What a great group of outstanding people. (Many have been interviewed on this blog). What was your main objective in bundling your works with other authors? How do you communicate? How did you get involved with this group?
This is new for me, releasing a book in a bundle, but the first big draw for me was the charity piece--50% of the proceeds from this limited-edition box set will go to Pets for Vets, a nonprofit organization that pairs shelter pets with veterans in need of companion animals. I am a huge proponent of pet rescue and adoption, I have no less than 3 rescue pets at home at any time. And I have a number of family members who have served, so I think this is a great opportunity to give back. I was asked to join the group by an author who is part of an author blog that I'm also in, and the more I heard about the authors involved and the idea of us all cross-promoting our work in a single box set for a great cause, the more convinced I became that it was something I wanted to be a part of. We all communicate very well, via a FaceBook group and emails. I was honored to be asked to be a part of this, and I'm very excited for the release of Love Under Fire! I've included the blurb for my story, The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, below. Thanks again for having me!
After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby.
Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships.
As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation.
Author's Book List
When a costly mistake ends Malorie Montgomery’s career, she returns to Cape Cod in search of a fresh start. But her plans for a new—and quiet—life are quickly derailed when she makes a grisly discovery in the woods, and her screams bring the one person from her past she’d hoped to avoid. Dean Slater, the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart in high school, now lives in the beachfront community that was supposed to be her haven…and he’s just as hot as he was six years ago.
With his rough background, Dean always knew he wasn’t good enough for the kind, intelligent beauty who claimed his heart, but somehow he’d believed their love was strong enough to survive anything—until the tragic night she turned her back on him when he needed her trust the most. Despite their painful history, Dean can’t resist the instinct to protect her, especially when it becomes apparent there’s a killer in their town.
Their former chemistry soon reignites, but Malorie has long accepted that her dark family secret has destined her to a life alone. And when she uncovers evidence that makes her the killer’s target, a deadly confrontation threatens to destroy any possibility of a second chance.
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Barnes and Noble
Four years ago, Emily Shea and Staff Sergeant Brett Leeds agreed to part with no strings attached. Sparks flew during their brief affair, but fate intervened, sending Brett overseas. When an unexpected pregnancy derailed Emily's own plans, her attempts to locate Brett were soon overwhelmed by the challenges of single motherhood. Now, Brett has returned home, and Emily is forced to share her secret.
Despite feeling betrayed, Brett is determined to forge a relationship with their son, Tyler. As the former lovers battle both their inner demons and their mutual desire, another presence enters their lives—Tyler's imaginary friend. Soon, however, the chilling evidence points to a different conclusion: a ghost has formed a dangerous connection with their son. Emily's attempts to help both a lost soul and a friend in need spiral toward a deadly confrontation, and Brett must race to save Emily before he loses her again—forever.
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Barnes and Noble
Rain Anderson can't decide which is more unsettling--encountering the ghost of her missing friend, or reuniting with the man whose love she foolishly rejected. But one thing is certain: the past has come back to haunt her, quite literally.
Five years ago, Rain's tight-knit group of high school friends unraveled when one vanished during their senior year. Now, a parent's deathbed request has reunited the friends at Silver Lake, including Jason Lansing, the man Rain discarded.
Rain and Jason discover the powerful attraction between them has survived, but though Jason is willing to forgive, he can't let himself forget. The possibility of falling for Rain again is too risky.
Slamming doors, crashing objects, flaring fires--clearly the ghost has a message to share. As Rain and Jason struggle to unravel the truth, they must face a desperate spirit in need of help--and a burning passion that refuses to die.
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After tragedy tears Jamie Brandt's life apart, her only goal is to finish high school so she can leave her small hometown behind. In the meantime, riding her horse is her main source of solace, until a mysterious stable hand shows up at the barn. There's something not quite right about the handsome new employee, and the more Jamie sees of him, the more determined she becomes to figure out what he's hiding.
Dothan Reed came to historic Huntsville, Maryland, for one reason--revenge. But his plan can't move forward until he finds the missing piece he needs to enhance his powers. As the only surviving Nephilim, Dothan is not only weaker than full-blooded angels; his forbidden lineage makes him an outcast in both worlds. When he discovers Jamie is the key to locating an ancient weapon, he's forced to interact with a vulnerable human girl--a task that becomes more appealing with each encounter.
Jamie soon learns Dothan isn't the only one with a dark secret. Each new revelation further threatens her safety, and Dothan's betrayal shatters her heart. Forgiving him seems impossible, but the thought of turning her back on him is equally painful.
As their connection deepens, Dothan will have to make his own difficult choice: continue on his path of vengeance, or protect the girl he loves. And when Dothan's actions thrust Jamie into an unforeseen danger, he must seek the help of his enemy...or risk losing her forever.
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Barnes and Noble
When Claire Linden's job sends her to the sleepy town of Gull Harbor, she never expects to encounter her ex-boyfriend. As a medium, the prospect of tackling a haunted house is less daunting than seeing Max Baron again. Throughout their passionate college relationship, he promised to love her forever. Then, without explanation, he abandoned her on graduation day.
Max never intended to break Claire's heart--a cruel ultimatum forced him to disappear from her life. While he's shocked to find her in Gull Harbor, he isn't surprised by the bitter resentment she feels for him...or the fiery attraction that remains between them.
Claire is determined to rid her temporary home of its aggressive ghost, but Max soon realizes she's facing a danger beyond the paranormal. When Claire risks everything to help a desperate spirit, Max must race to save her--before another tragedy tears them apart forever.
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Barnes and Noble
The Haunting of Hillwood Farm
strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to
communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she
reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She
quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s
ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other
living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a
scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little
faster every time he’s nearby.
Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to
restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he
can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance
of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial
suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still
determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid
As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the
target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her.
Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity
escalates to a final deadly confrontation.
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