Author, playwright & Publisher, Geoffrey Knight interviewed by Jon Michaelsen
Geoffrey, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook group. (Full disclosure – Geoffrey Knight is one of the publishers of Wilde City Press, which currently has released two of my novels)
Let’s start off with, where do you live?
I live on an island in Far North Queensland, Australia, right on the Great Barrier Reef. I moved here from Sydney almost two years ago and I have no intention of ever going back. Don’t get me wrong, I love cosmopolitan life and the energy of big cities. But you can’t beat walking the dogs every day on a perfect, deserted beach with a calm tropical sea as blue as the sky.
As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
I guess my books are my greatest accomplishment. Writing a novel isn’t easy. As we all know it takes a lot of hard work and discipline and imagination. But most of all it takes courage. You’re pouring your heart and sweat onto the page for the whole world to praise or rip to shreds. There will be people who will like what you create… and there will be people who will hate it. It’s inevitable that your hard work will be trashed by someone out there. You will be called some terrible things, you will be abused, mocked and have your ego crushed. Rejection is hard for anyone, let alone when you’ve worked night and day and emptied your soul into something. But we’re writers because we write. We tell stories because it’s what we’re born to do. And finishing those stories and putting them out there for the world to admire or hate, for better or worse, now that’s a real accomplishment.
Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?
I live with my three dogs and two cats, which is quite a houseful of pets. My partner Brett lives on the mainland in a city called Townsville which is about a half hour ferry ride. We tend to spend one weekend on the mainland, then one on the island. Brett is quite high up in disability care and has a very demanding job, so when it comes to the weekend we try to unwind as much as possible, taking the dogs to the beach, watching DVDs, going to the basketball, cooking or going out for dinner. We have lots of great friends so it’s always nice catching up with them for a barbie or a swim at someone’s pool. It’s pretty much hot all year round in Far North Queensland so we’re never far from someone’s pool.
Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?
I plot till I drop! Everything has to be completely planned out. I’d love to be one of those writers who can make it up as I go along, but I think with some genres – in particular actions and thrillers – that’s very hard to do. Knowing where the next twist is coming from and when a clue needs to be planted is extremely important. Having said that, one thing I do like to do is put my characters in a dire situation with no idea how to get them out of it. I figure if I don’t know how to save them, the reader won’t be able to guess what will happen next. It’s a great way to raise tension plus it makes me think twice as hard trying to come up with a creative way to save their arses.
Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what forms has it taken?
No, I’ve been very lucky never to have had to deal with that. If anything it’s the opposite. People are delightfully intrigued when they find out what I write. They find it fascinating. Some don’t take it very seriously, but they still love to talk about it. And no matter how many times I tell people that I write several different genres in gay fiction, I always get labeled as a “gay porn writer”. I used to get annoyed but nobody means any harm by it, so I go with the flow now. If that’s the best way they can deal with it and describe it, then that’s okay with me. At least they’re trying in their own way to get their head around it and accept it, and I have to take my hat off to anyone willing to accept new things.
Harm’s Way is a mystery/suspense novel I am dying to read which has a unique plot I don’t think I’ve ever read anywhere, especially not with a gay theme. What influenced you to write Zach Taylor’s story?
Years ago a friend of mine told me she had a dream that she discovered her father was a serial killer, and her first reaction was to question whether that would be something you inherit. It was only a dream, but I thought it would make for a great story, so I wrote it… but I have a confession to make: Harm’s Way was originally written as a straight thriller. I wrote the first version way back when I wanted to be the next James Patterson, in the days before I turned to gay fiction. I like that story a lot, but it didn’t really jump out as a straight thriller. Then one day, after I found some success as a gay fiction writer, I decided to turn the main protagonist in Harm’s Way from a straight woman into a gay man. The process was a lot more complicated than I initially thought, it was so much more than changing “she” to “he”. Men react to situations and dialogue very differently – both emotionally and psychologically. It gave the entire story a very different vibe, and I think it’s even better than before. There was also the added element of the daughter. A gay character with a child completely changed the back story of that character and their sense of self. I was stunned (in a good way) at how different the story became and the issues I needed to address. It made the book so much more layered.
Not many readers of your novels realize that you, along with author, Ethan Day, started a new publishing company almost a year ago? You currently own and operate your own advertising and design company, so what possessed you to start Wilde City Press? Can the members of Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction expect to see more releases with mystery, suspense/thriller themes?
This month marks our first birthday, it’ll be a year on April 16, so we’re very excited about that! I love design and advertising, but I love writing so much more, and starting Wilde City felt like a great way to combine the two. I wasn’t sure how I’d go, but I really love publishing. I love dealing with all our wonderful authors and readers beyond the realm of my own books. And yes you can expect LOTS more thrillers and mysteries being released by Wilde City this year. This month alone we’ve got some delicious, dark tales such as Clipped by Devon McCormack, Breathless by Alex Morgan and a superb thriller called The Next by new author Rafe Haze, which is like a sexy, sinister, gay version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. There’s lots of thrills to look forward to this year!
You have an incredible action/adventure, romantic thriller, mystery/suspense series known to fans as Fathom’s Five, which include the novels, The Cross of the Sins, The Riddle of the Sands and The Curse of the Dragon Gold. Can you share a little about how your self-confessed nomadic life influenced the development of this series?
Thanks for the compliment, I do love the Fathom’s Five books. And yes, I love traveling so wherever I go I look for the adventure in a place, whether it’s a marketplace in the Middle East or a snow-covered mountain or a remote island. Of course, I haven’t visited every exotic location that my Fathom’s Five boys have been to. But that’s when research and imagination come into play.
My favorite mystery/suspense novel written by you (and fellow writer, Ethan Day) is To Catch a Fox. (You knew I’d have to ask this next question!) Is there a sequel in the works with the enigmatic and sexy, Jon Fox?
Haha, yes I knew I wasn’t going to dodge that bullet. And yes there is a sequel in the works called A Fox in the Hole which will hopefully be ready later this year. This book will be a lot creepier than the first with a main focus on the spooky things that go on in New Orleans, including the evil work of the book’s main villain, a Voodoo Queen named Sister Sacrifice. And yes, we’ll be putting Jon in lots of bad situations and then try to figure out how to get him the hell out of there. The opening scene sees him drugged and being buried alive (hence the title A Fox in the Hole). How he gets out of that… well you’ll just have to wait and see.
Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?
Well A Fox in the Hole is top of the list, along with the third instalment in my action series Drive Shaft which is called Drive Shaft 3: Russian Roulette. I’m also working on my sexy gay Tarzan-inspired adventure novel, Zan of the Apes. After that I think I’d like to do a comedy. I actually love writing comedy, I had so much fun writing Guess Who’s Coming At Dinner, I’d love to do something quirky and fun like that again. Aside from those I have about a thousand other projects I’m working on at any given time. Who knows which one will bust out of the gates first!
On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.
Thank you so much for having me, Jon. This interview was a lot of fun! Keep writing and reading everyone, and if you want some great mysteries and thrillers, we have a stack over at wildecity.com – hope to see you there! 🙂
Find Geoffrey Knight on the web: