Writers Reach: Jessica Knauss with ‘Awash in Talent’

On Fridays right here, writers talk about their books, their process, where they’ve been, and where they’re going. Today we celebrate JESSICA KNAUSS’ win on Kindle Scout with AWASH IN TALENT, published by Kindle Press on June 7, 2016.

knausscover

So much Talent can kill you.

Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, home of telekinetics, firestarters, and psychics!

Emily can’t escape her annoyingly Talented telekinetic healer sister without committing a crime.

Kelly must escape her pyrokinesis school and bring Emily’s sister to Boston—her mother’s life depends on it.

Appointments with Emily might drive her psychic therapist insane.

With so much Talent, sometimes it’s all you can do to function in an un-Talented society.

***

  • AWASH IN TALENT did well on Kindle Scout and won a contract with Kindle Press. How did you manage your campaign, and how have you enjoyed the process of publication since?

AWASH IN TALENT is the second novel I’ve written. When it was ready, I was sick of agent rejections for my first novel, so I sent it to small publishers. I’ve worked for small presses, and I was certain AWASH IN TALENT would land with exactly the right editor for its quirky style. After a year, it had been rejected by two presses. It was taking too long to get the novel into too few hands. With Kindle Scout, I hoped I would be able to swiftly rally the support of many people who love the narrators and the way Talents like telekinesis, firestarting, and reading people’s minds are taken for granted.

Fast forward: that’s exactly what happened. It’s a dream come true. In addition, the last press I’d sent AWASH IN TALENT to reported believing the characters could be better developed. The Kindle Press editors said my character development is the best they’ve seen in a paranormal book. Wow!

My month of Kindle Scout had me at the computer for hours every day, keeping track of my status and doing everything I could think of to get the word out, mostly through social media. It was exhausting, but it was important to me to feel like I was making a difference. In the end, I was able to get the best response from people I have real-life relationships with. That was an important lesson.

The word I use to describe the publishing process since AWASH IN TALENT was selected is fast. Although it’s the second novel I’ve written, and the second to be selected for publication, AWASH IN TALENT is available to the public a full six months before my first novel. (Seven Noble Knights is debuting from Bagwyn Books December 15, 2016.) Pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise.

  • Can you tell us what motivated your choice of subject matter and genre?

AWASH IN TALENT arrived in stages. First, I dreamed about a girl who discovers her telekinesis and healing powers in a foreign land. When I began writing, the story came out in the voice of that girl’s envious sister. Her resentment is such that she wants to get as far away from her family as she can, which turned out to be Providence, Rhode Island. I love that city, and I hadn’t visited it for some time, so my sweet memories of it helped me build a whole quirky world. When that part of the story came to a resting place, I was inspired to write two more novellas—one with a firestarter and the last with a woman who can read minds—just to stay in the world, flesh it out, and deepen the characters. I’ve often based stories on dreams, but none of them have been this successful before.

Genre isn’t something I worry about while writing; it comes after everything’s been edited. My historical fiction is easy to fix a genre to, but for AWASH IN TALENT, I grabbed keywords to end up at contemporary YA/NA paranormal, which I’m not too sure is a thing!

  • Can you talk about the aspects of being an artist in general, and a writer specifically, that you find most challenging, and those aspects of creativity that come relatively easily?

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work,” Picasso said. The most difficulty I have with the creativity is making the time and space for it when the rest of life is so demanding and full of shiny things. I’m disciplined and I don’t procrastinate, but I put so much effort into other work that most days I don’t have anything left for writing. Basically, I have to start the day writing when it’s a clean slate. I must do that more often.

The easy part of creativity is that inspiration comes from everywhere. An overheard conversation, a photo, something your friend did years ago—these have the potential to take root and flower into an epic story that makes a grand statement.

  • You get to the end of your life, and there to escort you through the tunnel to the light beyond and show you around is a philosopher/author/artist/scientist/celebrity you’ve always revered. Who is it, and why him/her?

Alfonso X, el Sabio, King of Castile and many other Spanish territories from 1252 to 1284. His reign was far from smooth, yet he managed to go down in history as the most learned king. He fostered research in all subjects and ushered the Spanish language into its current robust elegance. Whenever my resolve has faltered, Alfonso X has inspired me to keep going. He’ll know his way around in that other place.

  • How do you see your career as an author developing?

I think Kindle Press will bring my writing to a new audience who will demand that I quit my day job and write full time. They’ll also demand movies and TV series of my books.

***

JESSICA’S BIO
knaussbioI grew up in Northern California, but I’ve moved so many times, I really don’t know what to say when people ask where I’m from. “Not here,” is usually the most accurate answer.
Before I met my husband, I usually moved in pursuit of education, which included stints in Massachusetts, Iowa, England, Spain, and Rhode Island. My favorite US city is Boston, where I met my husband. Now, we move around in search of something that will convince us to stay put.

I was a fiction and creative non-fiction editor at Fireship Press in amazingly unique Tucson, Arizona, for nearly two years. With support from Fireship’s founder, I established Açedrex Publishing to bring you the finest reading material in English and Spanish, mainly in e-book form. Check it out at acedrex.com. I was a founding member of Loose Leaves Publishing (looseleavespublishing.com). We released award-winning literary, historical, mystery, and thriller novels, edited and designed to the highest standard. I’m now a freelance editor. I’ll work with you to make sure your book is the best it can be!

I’ve published fiction in many venues. I’ve collected the best in Unpredictable Worlds: Stories in ebook and softcover. You can find my short novel about a woman’s struggle to find herself under some extraordinary circumstances, TREE/HOUSE, in softcover, Kindle, and audiobook. My exciting, exotic, epic novel set in early medieval Spain, SEVEN NOBLE KNIGHTS, will be published by Bagwyn Books on December 15, 2016. My irresistible contemporary paranormal, AWASH IN TALENT, is published by Kindle Press. I’ve also written a poetry chapbook, DUSK BEFORE DAWN.

My translation of an inspiring medieval story, THE ABENCERRAJE, is available for a mere pittance. I have also published literary criticism: LAW AND ORDER IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN, and DEU-ILES O QUE MERECIAN: VIOLENCE IN THE CANTIGAS DE SANTA MARIA.

Besides my husband, the things I love most in this world are Spain and rhinoceroses.

Get updates on my writing at my blog, jessicaknauss.blogspot.com, or sign up for my newsletter at jessicaknauss.com, for more fun information. 

***

Buy AWASH IN TALENT and find out more about Jessica on:

Her Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Goodreads

Linkedin

Pinterest

We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to connect with JESSICA here.

 

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