"Red Kiss breathes life into some of history’s most amazing men, gives them new purpose, and spins a captivating web of honor, deceit, and the overwhelming power of love." -- Darque Reviews
"Knight expertly blends scorching passion, gritty danger and a wildly creative plot in Red Fire, the first in an edgy new paranormal series." -- Chicago Tribune
"Knight’s expertise at combining sensuality and pulse-pounding action is on full display. Make room for another 'Knight' on your keeper shelf." -- Romantic Times
I'm really honored that best-selling author Deidre Knight was able to take take from her insanely busy schedule to answer my questions about Red Kiss, her new release in the Gods of Midnight series, and her powerhouse literary agency, The Knight Agency (TKA).
Since founding TKA in 1996, Deidre has built up an enviable list of clients and represents many of paranormal romance/urban fantasy's hottest writers. I'm not even going to list them, because they're too many and I can't pick. Suffice it to say that her authors are faves of Vampire Wire readers.
While TKA is now bicoastal, Deidre, who hales from Atlanta, proves that a talented agent doesn't have to live on the coast.
As if agenting isn't overwhelming all on its own, Deidre has made time (possibly by slipping into a parallel dimension to grab extra hours) to write both the Midnight Warriors series and the Gods of Midnight series.
If you'd like to enter the contest for a copy of Red Kiss or Red Fire, winner's choice, please leave a comment telling us why you like paranormal romance and urban fantasy books, or leave a question for Deidre, who will be dropping in through the week. The contest ends on Saturday night, June 27, and a winner will be chosen in a random drawing.
MARTA: Welcome, Deidre! I’m intrigued by your career path. As a camera person and as an agent, you were a behind-the-scenes force, and now you’re in the spotlight as a bestselling author. Was this a natural progression?
DEIDRE: Hi, Marta! I’m delighted to be here! Thanks so much for the invitation. As for my one-time film career, I wore a number of hats from wardrobe person, to production assistant, and ultimately worked as a producer’s assistant alongside Carroll O’Connor on IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (NBC). As for my progression to literary agent after that, you’d be amazed at how natural it was.
The reason I got into the film and television business was because I loved stories—visual and written. Agenting is a perfect career because not only do I get to work with the written word like I used to work with screenplays, I also help developing my clients’ books for film. Years ago, I wrote a number of screenplays; in fact, I mark that as the first time I ever became truly serious about being a writer. But eventually, writing scripts felt too limiting. I wanted to describe my characters, convey their inner thoughts, capture their physical gestures—all elements that a writer can’t include in a screenplay. So I eventually turned to the novel format and it was like finding my place at long last. Like coming home.
MARTA: You were really ahead of the game in repping paranormal and speculative fiction writers. Why were you attracted to the genre, and did you have any idea that it would become so popular?
DEIDRE: As an agent I’ve always pursued the books that interest me, the sort that I love to read on my own time. Paranormal and fantasy romance was definitely one of those situations. It was also my first moment as an agent—one that would recur again—when I had to believe that if I loved and enjoyed a type of book, then there would be others who ultimately agreed. When I first shopped Karen Marie Moning in 1997, I heard comments like, “Paranormal romance is dead. Nobody will buy this book.”
But I knew how wonderful Karen was, and also believed that readers wanted that kind of book. In the end, I had the last laugh after selling Beyond the Highland Mist to Dell…and watching Karen’s career soar. From there I signed on authors like Gena Showalter and Robin Owens…and the rest is history! Gena is a force of nature, and I’ve taken her from unpublished to a New York Times bestseller. Robin is so terrific, but she was already published when she came to us.
Did I have any idea this genre would become popular? I wanted to believe that it would, but I couldn’t say for sure. As an agent, my instincts are my greatest asset. Sometimes they mislead me, but more often than not, they’ve steered me in the right direction. Much like when I signed on Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven, a memoir that was a bit difficult to sell. In fact, every publisher I submitted the material to passed—except one. Five million copies later, I’m still smiling.
MARTA: Okay, now why do you think it is so popular; in particular, why do you think women are drawn to paranormal topics, both as readers and writers?
DEIDRE: It’s interesting—you can really trace the explosion of paranormal to the months and years after 9/11. After that, the genre was here to stay, but at the time I think readers wanted an escape. One where true heroes saved the day, possessed the supernatural powers to defeat evil and monsters. In our novels, we found the comfort and triumph—and true romance—that the gritty real world lacked. Romance already takes us away from our lives, but fantasy romance heightens that experience.
MARTA: If someone wanted to start reading your paranormal novels, which one would you recommend?
DEIDRE: I’d definitely recommend Red Fire because that’s the first of my current series, Gods of Midnight. The next book in the series, Red Kiss just released, too. The series is about a band of immortal Spartan warriors, seven heroes who died at the famous battle of Thermopylae. But as they passed into Hades, the war god Ares made them an offer—he would save Sparta, their families and Greece. In exchange, they would protect mankind throughout eternity, battling every form of evil.
Red Fire launches the series in modern day, when Ajax meets a Shay Angel, part of a quirky, fifth-generation demon hunting family. The ancient world and the sultry modern south collide when these two come together. Red Kiss continues the story with River Kassandros, Ajax’s servant who is a weaponshifter and warrior… the only problem is that he’s become trapped in the form of a dagger!
MARTA: You’re taking a departure from paranormal with your upcoming release, Butterfly Tattoo. What was the inspiration for this story?
DEIDRE: I can honestly say that Butterfly Tattoo is the book of my heart. It was the first manuscript I wrote in an attempt to get published, but way more than that, I poured so much of myself into it. It’s a story of healing and grief…of new beginnings and I wrote it at a time of loss in my own life. So it’s a very personal story, and in many ways. So what was my inspiration? Real events in my own life, but reinterpreted through a writer’s pen.
MARTA: Who are some of your favorite writers who are not your clients? (We don’t want to incite jealous bickering.)
DEIDRE: Ha! You’re a smart cookie, Marta! Let’s see… I read all across the board. In romance, I’m a big JR Ward fangirl! I also love Kresley Cole, Meljean Brook, Carol Berg, to name a few other paranormal and fantasy authors. In historical, I adore Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn, and recently read a book by Elizabeth Hoyt that was fantastic. I want to read more of her work (as you can imagine, pleasure reading time is not as abundant as I’d like!)
MARTA: Now that you’re writing novels, do you have a different perspective on writers than when you were only acting as an agent? Do you take your own advice?
DEIDRE: Do I take my own advice? Hee, hee. I try my best! Although I can fall prey to all the usual authorial anxiety over reviews and sales. Yes, writing has helped me to be a much stronger, informed and empathetic agent. It seems that almost daily I’m noticing some aspect of my agent life that’s been enhanced because of my writing career. For instance, just last weekend I put together a tour around Georgia that included myself and four agency clients. TKA set up the signings, the question and answer sessions, all of it. In short, we signed as fellow authors, but organized the event on an agency level. I wouldn’t have been able to put that together, nor even thought of it, if my own book hadn’t just come out.
I’ve built so many relationships with booksellers, reviewers and readers that’s enabled me to introduce our clients to these individuals. That’s just naming a few aspects of how my author career has helped. On a different level, I understand the process of editing/line editing/copy editing in a more organic way than I did when I was “just” an agent. It’s almost like my own writing career has provided a kind of boot camp for me as an agent.
MARTA: Traditional publishers are getting hit upside the head with a double-whammy, as the economy tanks and as technology advances. Do you think we’ll see any dramatic changes in publishing and e-books?
DEIDRE: Ah, the hot button of the moment! The publishing industry is undergoing vast changes and I believe that digital is the future. Writers are in the content business—and that’s more true than ever. Now our content is delivered via printed book, or iPhone, or e-reader… and I’m sure more avenues will evolve in the near future. The more authors understand that that, the more they can keep pace with the changing landscape of publishing.
MARTA: Okay, time to dish. What’s the craziest thing an author ever did? You don’t have to name names, but if you did, it would be totally confidential.
DEIDRE: Oh, man, wish I could tell tales out of school. I’m thinking, but unfortunately the best stories have to stay locked in the vault, even without naming names! On the submission side, I will say that I once received a manuscript that smelled overwhelmingly of marijuana. And someone once sent me whiskey and candy corn in the same submission package. But I consider those interesting moments, lol.
MARTA: Do you have any off-the-wall predictions about your career, your books, publishing, or anything else?
DEIDRE: I predict that readers are going to love my new book, Red Kiss!! LOL! Couldn’t resist. Seriously, I think the future of publishing is in the digital marketplace. I don’t believe print books will ever vanish, but as I mentioned above, I think those of us in the industry need to regard the books we sell as content—and that we should strive to place that content in readers’ hands in whatever manner and form makes sense, be it digital book, film adaptation or print version.
Marta, thank you so much for inviting me to visit!! I’m so honored to be here, and really enjoyed your questions!
Thanks to Deidre for giving such informative and thoughtful answers!
- To learn more about Deidre, visit her author site..
- To learn more about The Knight Agency, go to their website.
- Here are links to all of Deidre's social networks and newsletters.
- Read an excerpt from Red Kiss: "'What kind of demons live in the ocean?' Emma could barely get the words out, couldn’t breathe. Her heart was beating a crazy, terrified tempo, hammering in her chest."