Joining me today in The Loft is author Dee S. Knight. Dee publishes under multiple names. She writes sweet romance under the name Anne Krist, and menage and shifter stories as Jenna Stewart. As Dee S. Knight, she writes in all other sub-genres of romance, including fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, contemporary, and erotic romance. Dee has led an adventurous life, at various times serving as a houseparent for 10 teenage boys, a long distance trucker, a teacher, and computer consultant. She married her high school sweetheart and they now live in Idaho.
S: Good morning, Dee! Welcome to The Loft!
Why did you become a writer?
D: I didn’t intend to write. I kind of fell into it by having time on my hands. My husband was working as a consultant in South Carolina and was going to be there for only three months. That was too little time for me to look for work, and he suggested I spend my time writing a book. I hadn’t done that, but I read a lot, and thought, stupidly, “How hard can it be?” The first month, I zipped off a 95,000 word novel. Sent it off and got a good reply regarding my writing/storytelling. But the publisher wanted more sex in the story. So, again, stupidly, I wondered how hard that could be? By the end of the month, I sent her another book at 90,000 words. To my surprise, she accepted it. By the time we left South Carolina, I’d written three books all over 90,000 words and I was hooked.
S: (Laughs.) You do make it sound easy, though I imagine a lot of thought went into those books.
Complete this sentence. "When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."
D: ...That there was much more to writing a book than writing a book. I wish I’d had some background in marketing, especially. Promotion is hard for me--as I think it is for most authors--and could be a full-time job. Add to that, I started writing when the biggest way to get publicity was with reviews and using Yahoo. I dropped out for a few years while life took control of my time, and when I got back into writing, reviews were very few and far between to find, Yahoo was passe, and social media was all the rage. I knew nothing about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or anything else. It’s a new world for authors.
S: (Nods.) I was unprepared for how much marketing the author is expected to do. I have experience in marketing, but it can be very time consuming. Sometimes, it really interferes with writing time.
Do you write in other genres?
D: As you mentioned earlier, I write under three pen names: Dee S. Knight writes erotic romance--though she does have two ménage books. Anne Krist pretty much offers straight romance, sensual, but not erotic. Jenna Stewart writes historical and shifter ménage stories. They all write romance, so not different genres, but certainly different sub-genres.
S: (Smiles.) Love comes in all shapes and sizes, so it makes sense to employ more than one sub-genre. I have written erotic and contemporary romance, but just started exploring paranormal stories.
Now for one of my favorite questions. What was your worst date ever?
D: I had two, actually, and they were with the same guy. I have to qualify this answer by saying that I really hardly ever dated. I met my One when I was 13, started dating him--not exclusively--when I was 15, and we got married when I was 21. So these two dates were pretty rare occurrences. The first time we went out, Bob kissed me at the end of the date—a mixer for freshmen at Mary Washington—and he tried to French kiss me. I didn’t let him. I was a "good girl,” but that wasn’t the problem. I had no idea what a French kiss was, and kept wondering why his tongue kept probing my lips. The second time we went out was years later and we doubled with his brother and date. He kissed me at the end of the night--again, no tongue--and I said, “I had a great time, Steve…Bob!” Nothing says good time like calling your date by his brother’s name. Truth was, I liked Bob, so I have no idea why I did that.
S: (Laughs.) Ah, the innocence of youth. I think we were all a little puzzled by the mechanics of romance as a teen.
How would you like to be remembered? What do you want your tombstone to say?
D: Here lies Dee/Anne/Jenna. She wrote good books, loved her mother and her sweetie, her friends and colleagues, and made people smile.
D: "Passionate Destiny" came about because I used to live not far from the town of Palmyra, Virginia, where the story is set. The Rivanna River runs through there, and while there’s no house--that I know of--set high on a bluff overlooking the river, there is a nearby house that had a hidden room. When I learned of the house, the then owners had just discovered that there was a small window, seen from the outside but not the inside. It was easy to imagine secrets, and in Virginia, we have both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War to draw on for the paranormal. Another inspiration was my boss in New Jersey. He was the inspiration for my heroine, Margaret. He was just so…so New Yorkerish! Very opinionated and loud about it. I adored the man. He did have his moments. (Laughs)
S: Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers?
D: A few things. Margaret is a woman of strong opinions—and she often voices them. Who of us hasn’t been like her at some point? Plus, she makes me laugh—she’s just too arrogant and set in her ways. It was fun to write her. I hope my love of central Virginia comes through. And then there’s the deep love that Margaret and Aaron develop, and their passion. I loved both characters. I hope readers, do, too. I updated and republished "Passionate Destiny" last year, but when it first came out, it garnered rave reviews and a "Top Pick" designation in Romantic Times, so it’s a book I’m very proud of.
Here's the blurb--
Dr. Margaret Amis-Hollings, professor of women’s studies at a small New Jersey college, is a woman who confidently knows who she is and what she expects of life. Until she loses her teaching position and her well-ordered life gets turned upside down. Then, in a subtle stroke of whimsy, fate tosses her a gift in an historic home and property in Virginia.
Harboring visions of Gone With the Wind, she determines to use River Peace as a temporary reprieve from her troubles. Images of Tara quickly evaporate when she arrives to discover the reality of her inheritance, however.
River Peace has history, grace and style going for it. After only one night, Margaret discovers that it also has a ghost. She’s visited by a male spirit from the time of the War Between the States, who knows how to make a woman feel special. And very loved.
Aaron Belton meets Margaret when she first arrives in Virginia. He’s renowned for historic renovations on a multitude of properties, but he’s got a special place in his heart for River Peace. He and his family believe the property always should have belonged to them. In fact, Aaron will do almost anything to make that happen. When his passion for the house changes to a passion for the house’s owner, Aaron’s as surprised as anyone. Can he gain both, the woman and the house? To do so, he’ll have to face a spectral being.
And his own destiny.
S: That ghost is a nice touch! Where can readers buy your book?
D: It's available on Kindle Unlimited at https://tinyurl.com/sxy5sfh.
S: Dee, thanks so much for joining me today. If you would like to learn more about Dee and her books, please visit--
Sweet ‘n Sassy Divas: http://bit.ly/1ChWN3K