Please welcome Gill McKnight.
Before we begin, thanks so much for stopping by today for a chat.
I’m very happy to be invited along to IHeartLesfic, so thank you.
Where in Ireland are you from and has it had an influence on your writing?
I’m from the North, near Belfast, and I’ve always been a story teller and a creative person. The Irish connection will play a big part in my next release Queen of the Glens. I enjoy writing about places where I’ve lived. All I am doing is condensing them into workable backdrops for my stories.
For instance, working in the south of England resulted in the Wallops series. I also have an early romcom set in Greece, called Erosistible, and I intend to write about Lesbos again next year. I’ve also lived in Chicago for a while.
How and when did you decide to move to Greece?
Slowly. It took over eight years as I was always busy with my IT contracting job. I’d work for several months then take the rest of the year off and go to Lesbos where I had a holiday home. It wasn’t until I was offered a job where I could work from home that I decided ‘home’ would be Greece permanently.
Do you have a preference: Ireland or Greece? Why?
Ireland holds my kith and kin, so it will always be special. But Greece is where I decided to put down my roots. I see myself here for the long term.
Tell us about your dog. Does he travel with you?
Wally goes everywhere with me. He’s scuttled across Europe in a camper van on many an occasion and loved it. (He has a Greek passport). My parents adore him. They’re more excited about him coming to visit than me!
I found him as a pup shivering with fright and hunger in a car park when he was about 6-7 weeks old. It took ages to lure him out from under the car he was hiding beneath. As the local dog sanctuary was full I was asked if I could foster him for a wee while until space freed up. (I was suckered). Turns out he was a keeper. I love him to bits.
It became clear very quickly that I couldn’t maintain my old working lifestyle and keep Wally, so I made some very major decisions that involved a life change. But, in truth the time as right and I was ready for it. The Universe has bizarre ways of looking out for you – Wally was my wakeup call to living a happier life.
How many different careers have you had before settling into writing and Dirt Road Books?
I studied Art and Deign at Uni, but as the job situation was so depressed during The Troubles I was unemployed for long stretches, so I moved into IT as it was the only sector showing any growth.
In 2005 I was working away from home for months at a time and living out of hotels. It was around then I discovered the Xenaverse and began writing fanfic as I was so bored in the evenings.
I was lucky, and Bold Stokes Books signed me up in 2006. Back then I always looked on writing as a paying hobby. Now I’ve got the chance to write and publish full time and I’m excited by what I see up ahead.
Tell us about Dirt Road Books. How it came into being and how it’s different from other publishers?
DRB is a collective. It’s run by myself and five other authors who all have separate skillsets. Between us we can do everything necessary to produce and market our own books. We started out because we wanted to manage our own careers, look after our own marketing, contracts, schedules, the lot. We’re coming to the end of our first year, and so far, it’s been very successful.
Recently you released Little Dip, book five in the Garoul series. What is the series about and what was the inspiration behind it?
The Garoul series is a lesbian paranormal romance series about a werewolf family. I like the scope it gives me. I can write anything from scary to farcical and it all fits in. It’s a good wring tool for me in that way.
You have another series called The Wallops. Where is the story set and what are the characters like?
The Wallops is a make-believe valley in Sussex, England where we get to see village life as a humorous microcosm. I look at the love lives of a small group of women who live there and are, in their own ways, the backbone of the community.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’m a weird one. I usually work on several manuscripts at a time, so if I dry up on one I can simply drop into another mss and no writing time is lost. It also allows my head to free up from whatever was blocking it before. Creativity is like water, don’t dam it up into one project, let it flow freely and it will make its own way around any obstacle.
On the planning side, I have my main protagonists and a few key scenes mapped out and simply fill in the rest as I go along. I keep a notebook with me at all times as I’m always jotting down new ideas.
At the moment I’m working on Borage (an urban fantasy about witches set in the UK), Queen of the Glens, (a contemporary romcom set in Ireland), and South Paw (the 6th Garoul book). And I’m planning out my Greek story for the following year, along with a few other ideas that need rounding out.
If you were planning your ideal day, what would it involve?
Most days are ideal. (Sorry, I’m not bragging it’s a fact, when you live exactly where and how you want your days are all more or less good). I start around 6.30 -7.00a.m. as I’m an early riser. Read my emails and catchup on world news over fresh coffee. Then I work through to lunch when I wander off to meet friends at a taverna for a beer and a bite to eat.
The afternoon is usually social. I hang out with friends, walk Wally, or maybe do some gardening or work around my house. The evening is whatever I fancy it to be, dinner with more friends, stay at home with a glass of wine and a book, or maybe do more writing if I’m in the mood. In the summer its busier as I live near a lesbian resort and have lots of mates holidaying over the course of the summer. The winter time is slower and cozier with wood burners and woolly hats.
Thanks so much for chatting today.
It was a pleasure. Thank you again for the invitation, it’s been fun talking incessantly about myself. You’ve given Wally’s ears a rest.
Garoul Series Book 5
Release date: December 2, 2017
It’s 1977, and Connie Fortune has an easy, freewheeling life as a wildlife photographer and illustrator. A new contract brings her to the Little Dip valley in Oregon to track down a rare bird, but a clash with Sylvie Garoul, the valley’s owner and matriarch of the mysterious Garoul family, and her daughter, the haughty, frustrating, but somehow bewitching Marie Garoul, ruins the deal.
The following year Connie tries again, but this time, things have changed. The residents of nearby Lost Creek are up in arms about strange goings-on in the valley, with blame swirling around the Garouls. Connie is unsure whose side she is on, even as she’s drawn deeper into Little Dip.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Gill McKnight is Irish but spends as much time as possible in Lesbos, Greece, which she considers home. She can often be found traveling back and forth between Greece and Ireland in a rusty old camper van with her rusty wee dog. Gill enjoys writing, gardening, and, by necessity, some easy DIY.
CONNECT WITH GILL MCKNIGHT
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Thanks so much Gill for stopping by today.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.