Ten + Things about NIkole Knight - An Author Interview

Sometimes you connect with an author and the stories start flowing and you chat well beyond the ten questions you originally asked... meaning that you, as readers get a treat as we peek into the world of today's author, Nikole Knight:

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
I started with a small publishing house in 2018/2019, but quickly realized self-publishing was the way to go in 2020. I like having the control over every aspect of publishing my books, and it allows freedom in a way traditional publishing doesn’t.

Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things? How do you keep track of characters in a series? Do you keep a journal of your characters’ statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
I am a pantser all the way! I always have big plot points that I know will be incorporated, but how I get to those points is always a mystery. I like to let my characters lead, which isn’t always a great plan since they tend to have minds of their own. As for keeping facts straight, I keep charts and calendars where I can plug in information to ensure I keep facts and timelines consistent throughout a series.

Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance
My first book ever published is Every Broken Thing, the first book in my Far From Ruined trilogy. It introduces the main character Silas, a senior in high school, when he is sexually assaulted in one of the school’s bathrooms by his long-time bully. The assault attempt is thwarted by Ben, a new student from California, and though they walk away physically unscathed, they both must face the mental and emotional trauma that results. No matter how hard Silas tries to resist, Ben is relentless in pursuing Silas, and an unlikely friendship, with the possibility of more, forms between them. The Far From Ruined trilogy follows Ben and Silas on their journey to healing, forgiveness, justice, and love. books2read.com/far-from-ruined-01

and then your most recent one…
My most recent release was Against the Grain: A Human’s Guide to Wooing an Asexual Incubi. This urban fantasy rom-com follows male-succubus Ellie and Felix, an insecure, chubby human, as they bumble their way into an unexpected friendship. As the friendship grows, so do other feelings, but how can an asexual male succubus (who maybe doesn’t want to be a succubus at all) and an anxious human fall in love when they live in entirely different worlds? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out ;) books2read.com/ATG2

Your most well known series is Fire and Brimstone an m/m harem. What inspired you to create more than one love interest for Riley?
Well, it stemmed from my enjoyment of reverse harem and my love for MM romance, so I thought, why not combine it? At the time, I had never read an all male harem, and I wasn’t even sure if they existed. But I wanted them to exist! So I wrote what I wanted to read, and I am so grateful that it struck a chord with readers.

I also loved the concept of each love interest fulfilling different things for the main character. For Riley, there are roles and needs that cannot be met by just one person. What Gideon provides for Riley cannot be fulfilled by Jai or Noel, and vice versa. I fell in love with this idea of a found family loving and accepting each other for all their faults, failures, triumphs, and strengths. And with more than one love interest, it opened up all these avenues for Riley to be more than one thing for those he loved. Riley meets Jai’s needs in an entirely different way that he provides for Noel. I just think it’s a beautiful thing when we allow room for love to be love, in all its simplicities and complexities, and that’s what I wanted to accomplish with Riley and his angels.

You have written both fantasy and contemporary. How do you go about choosing the setting?
It always depends on what story I want to tell. Riley’s story wouldn’t have made sense in a contemporary setting in the same way Silas and Ben’s journey wouldn’t have landed the way it did had I added mystical elements. Honestly, I usually follow my characters’ leads, and they show me where the story is supposed to go. Though with A Human’s Guide to Wooing an Asexual Incubi, the plot and urban fantasy universe was created before the characters, and as I outlined that world and what I wanted to communicate with that story, the characters rose to meet the challenge. So I guess it always comes back to what makes sense in this moment for this story, you know?

Do you have favourite characters and why?
Yes, I do have favorite characters, which makes me feel like a bad parent loving a few children more than the others. I absolutely adore Ellie from A Human’s Guide. He is so pompous and arrogant, and yet he can be so innocently sweet and lovely. And even though he is a male succubus and literally survives on sex, he can be so naive, and it makes me want to bundle him up and carrying him around in my pocket. Chrissy, from the first book in my Foxxxy Gentlemen’s Club series, is an absolute treasure. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard writing a book as I did when writing his character. He is so full of color and passion (and yes, a lot of dramatics), and his creative curses slay me. But I have to say, my favorite character I have ever written is Beau from Fire & Brimstone. Beau is fire and life and completely unapologetically himself. He is so much more than he seems, and I loved the layers to him. The first time I wrote him into the series, he was only supposed to be a tiny side character, there to cause a bit of relationship drama and angst between Jai and Riley. But the second I gave him life, he pretty much shoved me aside and said, “I’m here to stay, bitch. Get out of my way.” And I love him for it.

Do you write full time or part-time?
Full time

Something people would be surprised to know about you
I was raised in a sheltered religious home and I was homeschooled until high school.

Which character still pops into your mind to visit from time to time?
My Fire & Brimstone characters. I enjoy writing the characters and also the Fire & Brimstone world that I created, so it’s hard to say goodbye and stop revisiting.

What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
Finishing my Foxxxy Gentlemen’s Club series is on the schedule for the spring of 2022. After that, I have a few spinoff novellas from my Fire & Brimstone series to release. And in the summer and fall, I will be releasing some books in several multi-author series that are planned for 2022. I have so many more ideas than I have time to write them all, but I do have some high hopes for productivity for 2022.

What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
Ensuring I do my due diligence in representing the characters and experiences that differ so greatly from my own. When writing about queer, sometimes POC, male-identifying characters, I always want to do my utmost to represent everyone respectfully. I am a queer, white ciswoman, so I can only draw so much on my own experience, and I never want to cater to stereotypes. So respectful and accurate representation of characters who differ from me can be challenging.

How do you manage the challenges of writing and have you ever had to get past writer’s block? What ways, if so, did you overcome it?

Now that I write full-time, I try to live by the rule of “write every day.” Even if it’s only 100 words or an outline for a new story, write every day. Life gets in the way, and I try to be gentle with myself when those times come and I can’t write. But I try, every day, to put words down. 2021 has been a challenging year for me, as it has been for a lot of people. If I’m not in a good mental space, it can make it incredibly difficult to be creative or apply myself. And there really are days where I have to force myself to sit at my desk and type words. Writing is not a breeze, and sometimes, it’s like pulling teeth, and that’s when it really comes down to perseverance.

Writer’s block is very real, and I have experienced it on more than one occasion. I have a few different strategies to overcome it when it crops up. I’m a verbal processor, so I am very grateful for the people in my life that I can talk story-points with. My editor, bless her heart, is so much more than just an editor. She has been a sounding board when I’ve hit a wall and don’t know how to get around it. She has listened and offered advice, and I am so grateful for her! My alpha reader is another one of my go-tos when I need to talk through a plot point, and her insights have been invaluable.

When talking about stuff doesn’t help with a block, I will play around with a different story. Sometimes, working on something completely different can help the creative juices start to flow in every area, and it can help bring a clearer perspective when I go back to the original story. And lastly, though this isn’t my favorite coping mechanism, I force myself to keep writing through the block. Most of the time, what I write in those times is garbage that I usually don’t use at all, but it can help get me to the next place I want the story to go. And once I’m there, I can continue the story, and at a later time, I can go back and rewrite the garbage steps I took. 

What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
Anytime my characters get inebriated is a good time. Or embarrassing scenes where my characters want to sink into the floor.

What’s the hardest part about writing?
Writing through writer’s block or when inspiration is lacking. I find it so hard to “fake it” or “push through” it. But when you have deadlines to meet, there isn’t always another option.

Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
My sister is one of my biggest supporters along with Heather, Savannah, and Tina. They are all instrumental in keeping me focused and encouraged.

What made you decide M/M romance was the genre you wanted to write? Do you write other genres?
Writing male characters has always come easier for me, and it’s more enjoyable than writing female characters. (Sorry, I know that sounds sexist, but I really don’t mean it that way) There is a freedom and openness to queer culture that, I feel, allows for more honest and deep storytelling. I love the queer community and culture, and I want to celebrate it with every word I write. And, selfishly, writing MM fiction is a way to escape certain realities that I live with as a woman. In MM romance, the relationships can feel more balanced with mutual respect and honor, and I enjoy writing that more than playing by the rules of the heteronormative patriarchy.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in art, music, and fiction. I have come up with stories based purely on a song or photo, but I can also be inspired by real life experiences as well. I tend to do my best thinking and plotting when I walk my dog, take a shower, or lie in bed at night pretending to sleep.

What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
Not all of my friends and family know, but the ones who do are either very outwardly supportive or quietly indifferent. :-p

What is your favorite thing about writing M/M romance?
The diversity and representation within fiction. The open and loving community of readers and authors. The celebration of freedom, love, and identity!

How can we connect with you?
My Facebook group, Nikole’s Knights, is probably the best way to connect with me. But my email is always open, and I try to keep my website updated, though I usually am lacking with that. I have Instagram, but I’m bad at social media, so I only post funny memes and book announcements. But everyone is welcome to follow me if that’s your jam! :-p