Welcome Allison Knight, author of BATTLESONG

What a Gorgeous Cover!!!

Welcome Back, Allison! We’re so glad you could join us. The last time we talked was in February, and the August release of your new novel seemed like a long time away. But now it’s time for Battlesong to come out. Can you refresh our memories about the story?

Thanks, RomanceMama, for having me again. I love to talk about books and the digital market. Now, to your questions!
Battlesong is the story of Rhianna ap Brynn Frydd’s youngest brother, Arthur. She was the heroine of Heartsong. And yes, what a name! But the family happens to be Welsh so they had to have a Welsh name.

About Battlesong, without giving too much away, I can tell you Laren, a young woman from Scotland, is forced to marry Arthur. They don’t get along because he dumped her (literally) at the gate to his estate and went off to war. When he returns – years later- she’s taken over his keep, his people and he doesn’t like it. Battlesong is the story of two independent people who learn to live together and in the process, discover they love each other.

I will also tell you that this book is dedicated to my RWA chapter, Gulf Coast Chapter RWA.

When can we buy it, and where?

Battlesong is available from Champagnebooks.com or several other digital book sellers the first part of August, so it’s available now. It will be available in Kindle format before long.

What else is on your plate – more historicals, another Gothic, or something new?

I have a short Valentine story coming, of course, in February. I’m waiting now for the edits on that one.

As far as my writing goes, I’m trying to finish a plague story. Nope, the hero and heroine don’t get the plague, but this one takes place during the plague and the fire of London during the reign of Charles the second. I’m also working on the third of the ‘song’ books. The next one is “Windsong” and is about Rhianna’s second brother. I now have plans for one more (actually, my publisher told me there would be four total). That one is about the fourth brother and is called “Lovesong”. I also have this contemporary bugging me. I may get to that before the next year is out.

You have been involved with e-publishing for quite a while now – what words of wisdom do you have for authors trying to decide whether to go e-pub or traditional books?

I believe the first thing an author must decide is why they are writing. Do they write because they have to or because they have dreams of making a fortune. By the way, I don’t know too many authors who can live off their writing income. Oh, a few, yes, but not most, so you’ll often hear, don’t quit your day job. If you write because you have to write, want to get your name out there and to entertain people, you should consider e-books. But a word of caution. There are hundreds of publishers now, and unfortunately, some are not a good choice. I’d ask a awful lot of questions before I decided on a specific e-publisher. Editing, distribution, number of books, how many people in the business. Those are just a few of the questions that must be addressed. But be realistic. You are NOT going to become the next millionaire writing e-books.

As a veteran author and reader of e-books, what do you predict for the future?

The future is here now. In case you didn’t know, the Kindle is coming out with a version at $139.00. The Sony is available at $149.00 and the prices are dropping fast. People have discovered the e-market. We went to Wal Mart the other day and in the McDonald’s attached to the store a woman was eating breakfast and reading from her Kindle. Several of my senior friends now have readers or are planning to buy one this year. Why? Because e-books are so plentiful and easy to get over the net. And it’s instant. You see a book you want, you buy it, download it and can begin to read it in a matter of a few minutes. They’re also cheaper than paper books.

I’ve also been told that the major textbook publishers, college editions, are now coming out with a catalog of e-books. Again, why? Because every kid I know wants an I-Pad. And text books on an I-pad make a lot of sense. I sure wish I’d had something like that instead of the twenty five pounds of books I had to lug around from class to class.

I really enjoyed a post of yours a few months ago where you talked about being a plotter, writer’s block, and how authors need playtime. What’s your best advice for a writer who just can’t seem to get into the flow of a story?

Take time out, read a book, paint, plant (flowers or vegies), trim the shrubs, do some crafts, anything that will let your mind wander. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll want to get back to the keyboard. (At least it works for me)

Anything to add?

The cover for Battlesong is another winner. I love it. And again, thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my second love – writing romances. I really do enjoy a ‘happy-ever-after’ story. And second love, because my first is my wonderful husband of fifty happy years. A real ‘Happy-ever-after’ story! No wonder I write romance.

Thanks Allison! So, everyone, stop reading blogs and go on over to Champagne Books and download BATTLESONG! You are gonna love it!

The Sizzlers Welcome Allison Knight!

One thing you have to say about the Southern Sizzlers, we have got some of the coolest friends you could ever hope to meet. Today it is our pleasure to introduce to you our friend Allison Knight, whose medieval story of love and jealousy, Heartsong, was voted the Best Novel of the Year by her publisher, Champagne Books, Inc. The eagerly-anticipated sequel, Battlesong, will be coming out August, 2010. Then you have to add to that our excitement about her upcoming “sweet Gothic” novella, working titled The Haunting of Hastings Hall — part of the Shadowed Hearts series. And we just got word today that Allison’s “A Treasure For Sara” has been nominated as Best Historical of 2009 by Love Romances and More.

In other words, Ms. Knight is one busy and popular author, and we are so pleased that she took a few minutes from writing to talk to us!

SS: Welcome to Southern Sizzle Romance, Ms Knight. Let’s talk about these releases. First, tell us about Battlesong.

ALLISON: Thank you for the welcome. About Battlesong, as the name implies this it a tale about a few battles. Of course, I write romance so these are battles between the hero and the heroine.

SS: What can you tell us about the story?Was there any incident or idea that inspired you?

ALLISON: I just knew Arthur, the youngest brother of Rhianna, my heroine of Heartsong, had to have his own story. Lo and behold the beginning (which I hope is a shocker!) came to me after my husband and I discussed various romantic hooks, some I’ve read, some I was thinking about using. (You have to understand I run most of my plots, especially the beginnings, by my husband before I actually start to outline things. He is great and often his comments will lead the story in a completely different direction than what I planned.) This beginning was a perfect start for Arthur’s story. Then I had to get him out of the situation I got him in, in the first place. Hence the title, Battlesong. Not sure that makes sense. You just have to read the book. I do love the beginning of this book.

SS: What drew you to the Middle Ages for these books?

ALLISON: I loved reading about the Middle Ages. And I write about the time periods I like to read myself. Besides, you can get away with a lot in a historical tale, that doesn’t work for a contemporary novel.

SS: Your readers can tell you do your research. But as writers, we’d like to know more about how you do it. Do you do all the research, or at least the bulk of it, before you write, or are you a look-things-up-as-you-go kind of girl?

ALLISON: I usually try to start with as much information as I think I’ll need. Notice I said – think! The book I’m working on now takes place during the reign of Charles the second. I did the research on clothing, London at that time, the plague and the London fire before I started. But, and that’s a big but, I get into the story and find I need to do more research. Not really sure if I need to do more research, or if something sparks an interest but off I go. I do love the research part. HMMMM Maybe that’s part of why I write historicals.

SS: In writing historical fiction, what resources do you find most useful, and why?

ALLISON: The computer…. I wrote my first three books on a typewriter. I hate to think of how many times I typed a page over and over and over. Being able to pick out sentences, rearrange paragraphs, change chapters. Oh, glorious.
With my second book, published by Kensington, I decided the second chapter was really the beginning of the book, not the original first chapter, which finally became the third chapter. I would have loved to have a computer then.
I also value my books. I have a wonderful book called the reverse Dictionary. I don’t know much about horses, or saddle parts, so I look up the word saddle in the reverse Dictionary and it lists everything and how and why. Invaluable. I have four different word finders – in case. You’d be surprised how many times they’ve come in handy.

SS: Got to get me a Reverse Dictionary! Having grown up loving Victoria Holt and Daphne DuMaurier, I am intrigued by the description of your novella as a “sweet Gothic.” How is it different from what you usually write?

ALLISON: A sweet Gothic is a Gothic without any sex. The most my hero and heroine do is kiss. Some of the Gothics by modern authors take the hero and heroine into the bedroom. I don’t. I figured my granddaughters could read them at 12 and 13 without their mothers yelling at me.

SS: Will we be seeing more Gothics from you? What great stories do you have up your sleeve for the future?

ALLISON:I love Gothics. I truly enjoy writing in the first person. I love becoming the heroine, struggling with danger, trying to figure a way out of a dilemma. At the present time, I’m working on the historical romance taking place in England during the fire, I also have the next ‘song’ book in the works. Not sure yet if this will be Arvil’s story or another of Rhianna’s brothers. When I get tired of writing third person, I’ll write another gothic. It might be next week, or next year.

SS: I am seriously looking forward to your Gothic – I love ‘em! Now, we never tell our ages here on the Sizzle – such an insignificant factoid, to our way of thinking. But we have to say that you have had a long-running successful career as an author. How does one maintain that kind of achievement over the long haul?

ALLISON:Like any thing else that is worth doing, you keep at it, and you have to enjoy what you do. I love writing. I love story telling, I always have. My kids will tell you, I told them stories as we occasionally drove to my mother’s (a three hour trip) as well as the trips to the lake for swimming in the summer. (a two hour trip). We’d go two or three times a week to the lake so I finally ended up verbally rewriting some of the bible stories for inspiration. My kids still laugh about some of my tales. But I truly enjoy what I do.

SS: And your readers enjoy what you do, too! You have been involved in e-publishing as much as anyone I can name. What should aspiring writers know when they are comparing going e-pub with more traditional publishers? The upside of e-pub, and what to look out for?

ALLISON: Probably the best advice to give is KNOW YOUR PUBLISHER. Note, I’m shouting. When I first started with e-publishing, the concept was new, the publishers inexperienced, some of them dishonest. I was lucky. I got my books back without too much damage. But there are companies now with track records. Those are the ones you want.
Another thing. Be realistic. If you don’t promote your work, no matter who the publisher, you will not make any money. Also if you write to get rich, you’re not realistic. According to research, the average author makes about six thousand a year. Not a living wage. E-publishing pays more now than when I started, but it still can’t compete with the money paid by traditional publishers per book. However, you can receive royalties on books five, six, seven years old because they are still out there. And if you continue to publish people will look for your old books. Old paperbacks only come from used book stores. No royalties on that.

SS: We have all heard horror stories about authors who sign over their rights to an e-publisher, and then the company disappears, with no sales, no royalties, and no right to re-sell the works to someone who will really market them. How prevalent is that, and how do authors guard against these problems?

ALLISON:You always hear about the bad ones. But with this business, again the best advice is find out everything you can about the publisher, ask questions, contact other authors who write for the same company. Do your research. There are crooks in almost every profession.

SS: So let’s say one of us finally gets the letter we are all wishing for – an e-publisher wants our baby! What should we look for (and look out for) in an e-pub contract?

ALLISON:Like New York’s big publishers, many of the better e-publishers have boilerplate contracts. The important thing is to learn what royalties mean, what rights mean, ask about the company’s business model. And don’t sign anything where you have to pay one penny to be published. Don’t pay to have your work published. It’s worse than giving your hard work away for nothing…….

SS: We are all somewhat familiar with the ways an author promotes her books with a traditional publisher – ARC’s, signed copies, etc. But how does a successful e-book author promote her books? What works for you, and is there anything you tried but found not to be successful?

ALLISON: Well, let’s see. Making ARC’s for reviewers, signing copies you make of your cover, chatting online, having a web presence. What works for traditional publishers works for e-published authors as well. Today, all authors have to promote their work. It doesn’t matter who their publisher is. After all, a book is a book, whether you hold paper in your hand or an electronic device. How your eyes see the words really doesn’t matter.
The one thing I don’t have much faith in are bookmarks. You can pay a lot for them and they really don’t do much for you. People tend to throw them away.

SS: Well, kids, now you have heard the inside story on e-publishing from someone who has the credentials. We cannot thank you enough for your insights, and the way you encourage all of us who want to grow up and be just like you!

If you want to meet Allison Knight and other great writers (and the Sizzlers themselves!) join us at the beach for the Silken Sands Writer’s conference in March. White sand beaches, good friends, and all the romance industry guidance you could ask for – so why aren’t you registered yet?????


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