Jevon Knights is the Author of Guardian of the Cursed Crown!
Jevon Knights is a fantasy writer and blogger who wants to entertain with amazing stories and enlighten with great content. He posts science fiction fantasy topics on his blog, and invites you to download his debut novel for free.
Have you ever written a story from a dream?
I usually dream a strange mix of things I read and watch and experience, and sometimes they play out like full stories. Because dreams are so slippery to remember, I try to write them down in my dream journal. And from that journal I wrote a small collection of short stories, like Zelna where a king was so angry that he waged war with the sea, and the Heaviness that tells of a being who would rather die than go on not living.
Do you base characters on people you know?
Not the protagonist, but I have for minor characters. In my novel Guardian of the Cursed Crown, the protagonist Larsen encounters a man named Feres while staying at a village. I had a neighbor whose look and personality fit perfectly – bald, round face, round belly, liked to smile and banter. Even derived the name from him. And I do have notes of other people that I will use in the future, but in a respectful way of course.
What is your favourite character of another author?
Gotrek from the Warhammer series Gotrek and Felix written by William King. Gotrek is a dwarf seeking his death from fighting a great foe to regain his honour. The problem is he's too tough to die, and poor Felix is dragged along to remember every moment of it. I just love Gotrek's ferocity and blunt manner.
Do you prefer fiction, non-fiction or both?
I prefer Fiction. While I enjoy watching history documentaries for knowledge and research and ideas, when it comes to reading, I want to get lost in sci-fi and fantasy worlds, get wrapped up in amazing adventures, get hooked by surprising conflicts, and just forget all the pressures and responsibilities of life.
Did you ever consider a pseudonym?
J K World. My first attempt at a blog was called Knights World because I had this idea that I would create an amazing world where my writing lived. And the name J K World seemed right. At that time my articles were a mess and my writing was a mess and everything was just a mess. Fortunately nobody was reading and I decided to move away from it. Eventually settled on my real name.
Do you try more to be original or pander to readers’ wants?
Definitely original. I write stories that I want to read so if I pander to readers' wants then I wouldn't have any stories to write. Hopefully someone else out there likes what I'm writing.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I like the concept of connected books, of trilogies and prequels, so I'm trying to do that. But not all my work will be connected and I don't want it to be that you have to start from this very specific book to get to know my writing.
When did you know you were going to be a writer?
It was only around age 30 after consuming hundreds of movies and books and songs that I started feeling the need to tell a story. Everything blended into this one story that was just boiling in my blood and I don't want to mess it up, so I started writing other stories to get the experience of what works and what doesn't, and I just kept going.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hiring the right editor. It's tempting to write and just ask a friend or even another writer to edit your story. You think, this person reads fantasy or they also write so it makes sense that they could get your story ready for publishing. But it's better to find someone who has been trained how to edit, who understands the story arc, and who is willing to put in the work because you hired them as a professional, not as a friend. And it's not just about finding the cheapest editor, or the most expensive editor, but the right editor. A couple hundreds spent on getting your manuscript ready is definitely worth it.
How many hours a day do you write?
At my best I was writing about 3 hours a day, somewhere between 4 to 5 times a week. Writing for me has a lot to do with a conducive environment but that's not always possible. And of course there's all the other joys and responsibilities of life that gets in the way, but I'm slowly getting back there.
What did you edit out of your most recent book?
In an early draft of Guardian of the Cursed Crown, the protagonist Larsen encounters a bandit camp where he is held captive. The leader of the bandits wants to keep Larsen for ransom, and one of the bandits is extremely skilled with a sword and also appears to have no emotions. There's a whole scene where Larsen escapes and a chase on horseback and the emotionless bandit leaves with several loyal followers. I thought it was good stuff, at first, but after reviewing my editor's comments and revising the story, that entire bandit camp was gone. Took me a long time to accept cutting it out but it really was for the better.
How do you select the names of your characters?
This is an extremely big deal for me as I'm terrible with deciding suitable names. I don't want modern everyday names like Jane or John, and I admire authors like Brandon Sanderson who has such unique and fitting names for his characters. For minor characters I sometimes use a name generator on a website, but major ones I listen and take note. I actually heard the name Larsen one day while helping out a friend. It was the name of one of the volunteers, and I never forgot it. Other times I see unique names in emails or on the news. Especially African and Middle East names. Sometimes while watching the news, a reporter would interview a man or woman form Ghana or Qatar, and I'd be running for a pen to take note of the names.
If you have a day job or family commitment, how do you work writing into it?
It's so hard getting that writing time in between your job and family. I usually get some writing in just before lunch, and again after work between 5 and 8pm. Sometimes late night or early morning. It's important to have a mobile device that's easy to whip out and tap away, something comfortable. A small tablet equipped with a keyboard helps for those moments when you have an hour waiting at the doctor, the airport, or at your kid's swimming lessons.
What was your hardest scene to write from any of your books?
I'm not a fan of romance, even though I believe love is the core of every good story. So whenever two characters are hooking up or showing affection, I have a hard time writing something that readers will enjoy. In Guardian of the Cursed Crown, there's this scene in the city where two characters Carder and Hailey are being playful with each other and I just had no idea what I was doing. Still, I pushed through, thinking about similar scenes from other stories, or even what I would say or do if I were there. I just hope it's natural enough.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I'd definitely read more. I'm such a slow reader, and it wasn't something I was passionate about until my mid 20's when I started craving better stories. As a writer, it's important to read to keep your mind sharp, and if I had started reading earlier I would have consumed more of those classics people always talk about like the Wheel of Time, Conan, Dune, and Foundation.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My first book took a very long time, about 10 years, much longer than it should have because I made mistakes with getting it edited. I'm aiming to get the second book out in four years but we'll see.
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