Author Christiane Knight is an artist, poet, and writer. She is a lifelong enthusiast of faerie, folktales, forests and fauna, especially combined in copious amounts with all-black clothing and some Joy Division or Bauhaus playing in the headphones. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
Hello! I’m Christiane Knight. I was born in Baltimore MD and have escaped twice, but keep getting drawn back to my quirky hometown. I’ve had a dizzying array of interesting jobs over the years, but these days I am a fiber artist as well as a writer. For fun, I run an online radio station that features goth/industrial/alternative music, and I sing in a couple of musical projects.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I learned to print letters. Before I could write them down, I would gather up girls at the playground to sit in a circle and listen to the tales I would dream up – usually about fairies and talking animals.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In high school, I joined a club that put out a yearly literary publication, and that was the first time I ever saw my words in print. At that point, I knew that writing was something that I was meant to do. After that, I spent some time writing for very small press publications, including my own, but I never thought I’d manage to put out a novel – until I did!
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I released In Sleep You Know in 2021. It focuses on Merrick Moore, a guy with some great friends and a garage band, but no drive to go anywhere in life. That is, until he crashes a party and ends up with more than he bargained for: new powers, a girlfriend who can visit him in his dreams, and a seven year bond with the Eleriannan Fae court.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been carrying around this series of stories about the Eleriannan, set in Baltimore City, for years and years. When the pandemic hit, and I had nothing but time on my hands, I decided what better to do than to finally start crafting them into proper novels?
Do you have a specific writing style?
My style is very character driven, filled with traditional lore that I’ve filtered through my imagination. I’ve been told that my books read like watching a movie, with lots of intense visuals and action that puts you in the middle of the story. My goal is to write fantasy in a way that the story feels almost plausible, and the characters seem like the kind of people you wish you’d meet and convince to be your friends.
I also weave music throughout my writing in ways that add depth to the story, including using a soundtrack that hints at the action occurring in each chapter.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
“In Sleep You Know” is a reference to the gift that Merrick’s Fae girlfriend Aisling gives him, dreams that reveal the future. It also refers to something that Aisling tells Merrick – that in dreams, one cannot lie. Dreams and dreaming are very important to this story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This is a story about discovering the magic inside oneself, realizing the importance of the family you choose, and standing up for the things that matter – even when you are hopelessly outclassed.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the locations in the book are directly inspired by actual locales in Baltimore, Club Marcada in particular. Every scene written there, including the scene where Merrick’s band plays onstage, is inspired by real life events in some way or another. I was able to draw extensively from my experiences as a performer and club manager. Some of Vali’s life and experiences are also drawn from and inspired by my own, especially the experience of having the weirdos of the area regularly hang out at the cafe where she works!
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
As a voracious reader my entire life, too many to list fairly, but as a writer, I would have to mention Charles deLint for his perfect blend of magic and hope and characters you feel like you know like friends. Patricia A. McKillip inspired my writing voice to some degree, and made me pay attention to how she writes her descriptions in a way that feels opulent without being overdone. Jane Yolen, Ursula Le Guin, Tolkien, Elizabeth Hand, Connie Willis.
If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?
All of those writers have helped me on the way to becoming the writer that I am now. If there was one on the list I would have loved to be able to learn extensively from, it would have been Ursula Le Guin. Her mastery of the craft was matched by her cleverness and insightfulness.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
My cover was designed by Leesa Ellis of http://3fernsbookdesign.com/, with some photo manipulation done by Mohammed Hossain Poulash. Leesa is my book mentor as well as the person who did all the exterior and interior design for the book, and I recommend her highly.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Outlines and notes are your friends. Write every day if you can, even if it isn’t on your current project. Go to literary conventions and events, attend the panels, and meet other people in the field. It will do wonders for your confidence as a writer!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Keep that sense of whimsy and wonder. Look for the unexpected moments of magic.