Sophia Knightly Interview - Author of Wild for You
An enjoyable read has you wanting more. This is especially true when the author has more to give you. I bought a book that sounded interesting called Wild for You. It turned out to be more than interesting.
It was the story of woman being stalked. She wants to think of it as nothing serious until her brother sends his best friend incognito to watch over her. He ends up protecting her from a sinister man as he falls madly in love.
I was thrilled when the author agreed to an interview. It was such a pleasure reading her answers and corresponding with her. Here I'd like to share with you what Ms. Knightly responded with.
Where did you find Marisol?
Beauty salon owner, Marisol Calderon, was a joy to develop as a character. She has the type of naturally upbeat personality I like to be around. I admire people who have the ability to look at the bright side of life, even in the face of adversity.
Placing carefree Marisol in jeopardy set up the suspense in Wild for You. Pairing her with hard-edged Detective Clay Blackthorne as her bodyguard, added hot romance and an emotionally charged element to the novel. Ultimately, the mystery is solved in a romantic suspense novel, but it’s what happens afterwards to the characters that intrigues me most. Clay had his work cut out for him protecting Marisol because she was impulsive and too trusting, but the biggest challenge by far was trying not to fall in love with her.
Without giving too much away, how did you develop the stalker?
I thought long and hard about what type of person would be capable of terrifying someone like Marisol and to what lengths would that person go. When I figured out the strong motivation along with the personality flaws, a villain was born.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I have been writing for about twenty years. I read my first romance novel when I was working as an airline reservations agent. From that moment, I was hooked and after a few years of reading historical and contemporary romance novels, a story began to unfold in my mind and I just had to write it! That book was called In Hot Pursuit and it’s the love story between Linc and Isabel, the couple that makes an appearance in Wild for You. I haven’t re-released that book yet…but someday I may.
Do you prefer stories with a mystery involved?
I love all kinds of stories as long as the characters are engaging and there is a satisfying resolution at the end. I am partial to reading romantic comedy at the moment, but I always enjoy a good mystery.
How do you write? Do you just sit down and let the words flow or do you do more planning than that?
Much planning goes into my books. Since they are character driven as opposed to being plot driven, I begin by getting to know my characters really well. I consider what I want the reader to know from the get-go and the things that I will reveal as the story progresses. I think about their childhood and what shaped them as adults. Once I know who they are, what they want most in life, and what their private fears are, then a plot begins to percolate and all kinds of possibilities emerge based on their outlook on life and love. The premise of the book comes after the characters are fully developed in my mind and have become human.
I decide how I want the novel to begin and then I write a synopsis with a sharp eye on structure, which includes plot points and a clear arc. The synopsis is not written in stone and often changes during the work in progress; it serves as a blueprint for the plot. At the opening of the story, I place the heroine at a crossroads in her life and then devise all kinds of ways to complicate her life – and the hero’s. They will face internal obstacles and external conflicts that will seem insurmountable until their emotional journey comes full circle and they embrace their destiny at the end. The protagonist must have a big, compelling goal for the whole book, something she needs and wants badly so the reader roots for her.
For example, Marisol, the beauty salon owner, in Wild for You treasures her freedom and independence. She’s very proud of the successful beauty salon business she has built on her own. So to complicate her life, I threw in an anonymous stalker and then added a tough, no-nonsense detective who takes charge of safeguarding her. With the addition of those two elements, the book took off when her carefree life got turned upside down.
How have you grown as an author?
Initially, I started writing romantic suspense and then segued into writing romantic comedy. Craft wise, I’ve learned a lot over the years by attending workshops, going to writers’ conferences and trying my hand at diverse genres that include screenwriting, romantic comedy and humorous women’s fiction (previously called chick lit). The more I write, the more I challenge myself as an author. My ultimate goal is to entertain my readers and take them away from everyday life. If I’ve done that, then I’m a happy person!
Can a reader find you in Wild for You?
Yes, there’s a part of me in every book I write. In Wild for You, like Marisol, I want to believe in the inherent goodness in people and I always try to find humor in a situation. I’d much rather laugh than be depressed and given the choice, I’ll take a comedy over a tear-jerker.
Coming from a multi-cultural background that is part-Colombian and part-Italian, I understand Marisol’s need to establish her independence, especially with an overprotective brother like Marcos watching over her! Since Marcos lives in Naples, he asks his buddy, Detective Clay to keep an eye on her and investigate the stalker. Little does Marcos know that Clay will be wildly attracted to Marisol from the moment he meets her.
I made her a beauty salon owner because I enjoy watching the personal dynamics at a beauty salon between the stylists and their clients and also among themselves. I am a hair person and love trying out new styles and keeping it current, so it’s an atmosphere I know well J
Is there anything you would change in the book and why?
I can’t think of anything I would change in Wild for You because I recently revised and updated it before I re-released it. When I finished the rewrite, I felt a sense of elation and gave a sigh of happiness.
How many projects do you usually have going at one time?
I have many projects going at once. Currently, I am working on a trilogy I would like to release next year. I am also getting ready to promote my June romantic comedy titled Grill Me, Baby about two hot chefs battling for top spot in a TV cooking show. Since Grill Me, Baby is a celebration of food and love, I plan on making a donation on behalf of my readers to Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry for the first week of book sales. The campaign will be called BUY a Book, FEED a Child.
If you could tell an aspiring author one thing that you see as the most important thing you have learned, what would it be?
Keep writing and never give up! I say this because as writers we grow, improve our skills and expand our horizons if we continue to create stories we love. There are myriad opportunities to writers that didn’t exist ten years ago. In my case, just a year ago, I would have never imagined that in four months I would sell over 40,000 books of my Tropical Heat Series: Wild for You (Book One) and Sold on You (Book Two). I re-released those back list titles to build a readership before my new book, Grill Me, Baby is released in June. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d sell so many books as an indie author. I also sold another book titled Paging Dr. Hot which will be released by Samhain Publishing in September 2012. The sky is the limit for aspiring authors these days, just hone your craft, read a lot and write, write, write!
Where Can You Find Sophia Knightly
Thank You, Ms. Knightly
I want to extend a heart-felt thank you to Ms. Knightly. It is humbling when an author will talk to you and let you see a part of them. It is also very exciting. It also helps inspire one who is looking to write their own books. I always take to heart what an author says that I'm interviewing as I go about my writing. I want to be where Ms. Knightly is one day. Fingers crossed.
Thank you again, Ms. Knightly. I wish you luck with your new book and can't wait to read it!