Today's post features an interview with author Ciara Knight. Ciara recently signed with publisher Turquoise Morning Press to publish her young adult novel Rise from Darkness.
Corey J. Popp: When did you make the decision to take a very serious, very focused attempt at becoming a published author?
Author Ciara Knight: Although I’ve always loved writing, it wasn’t until a conversation with my middle son. I told him he could achieve anything in life if he tried.
I truly believed what I said. Then I thought to myself, Wow, you are a hypocrite. How can you sit here and tell your son he can do anything when you won’t take a chance yourself? That week I started writing my first novel.
Any time doubt creeps in, I just have to look at one of my boys and know I want to inspire them to participate in life and not sit on the sidelines scared to play.
How did you learn the craft of writing?
I’m still learning! I LOVE workshops. One of the best I’ve attended was Debra Dixon’s Goals, Motivation, and Conflict at Georgia Romance Writers of America. I’ve also attended several online courses via Savvy Authors. As a matter of fact, I’m currently taking Lori Wilde’s 6-month mentoring fast track course. I believe classes, craft books, conferences, and workshops are essential to building my craft.
Are you an outliner or a "pantser?"
("Pantsers" write without an outline. By the seat of their "pants.")
I use to be a “pantser” until I had to rewrite the second half of a book because of poor planning on my part. Now, I tend to write an outline. If it’s a complicated story I might even write a detailed scene/sequel type of outline. I also work out character interviews or sketches.
Tell me about the critique process you used.
I started with online crit loops (online writing communities like Scribophile) which led to a few AMAZING crit partners. I have strength and weaknesses in my writing, so I strive to have people with contrasting strengths and weaknesses. If you are terrible at GMC (goal / motivation / conflict) but great at grammar, you want a partner that is terrible at grammar but great with GMC.
How long did it take you to write Rise from Darkness?
Rise from Darkness was my third novel. It took about six months, and then I did a re-write on the second half. Then I went through another round of crits. I’ve written three other novels since Rise from Darkness.
For Rise from Darkness, you signed directly with a publisher without representation. Did you query agents and publishers simultaneously, or did you decide early on to query only publishers?
First, I’d highly recommend joining a loop or taking a class that specializes in writing queries. It is such an important tool for a writer. I ALWAYS send my queries for crit before submitting them.
I did have an agent for a while. However, we parted ways back in December, and I decided to submit Rise from Darkness to a few houses on my own. I was lucky that all of them responded. All made offers except one, which requested a revise and resubmit. I was lucky to sign with Turquoise Morning Press. They made the process easy.
I believe querying agents versus publishers is a personal choice. Each and every author needs to decide their own career path. I believe agents are a vital part of the process unless you are going Indie (independent).
Lastly, when can we expect to get our hands on Rise from Darkness?
I’ll be discussing this with CEO Kim Jacobs soon. I’ll post an update on my blog when it’s finalized.