RK: How did you start your writing career? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
KIM: I started writing when I was thirteen―I still have the most dire stories locked in a box somewhere―and never stopped. I’m dyslexic, so writing every day fixed the spellings in my head and fingers, improved my handwriting and got me through a lot of exams!
I never thought of trying for publication…not until I admitted to myself that I wanted to write romance. I’d always hedged around it, not believing that it was ‘allowed’. I joined the Harlequin boards and found that it was absolutely allowed and I should write more of it. A lot more. And that people wanted to read and contract my stories.
I started out being published as a contemporary romance writer…but quickly shifted back to my first love of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve stuck with those genres ever since.
RK: Your next release, AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE HOUSE OF DEATH is SF and Steampunk. What captured your interest about Steampunk? Did you feel SF and Steampunk was a good fit?
KIM: The AGAMEMNON FROST serial started life from the fact that I had a wealth of history just outside my door. I knew I couldn’t write a straight historical—not enough mayhem and death in the way I would want–and really, I hadn’t seen any steampunk books set in Liverpool.
The technology in AGAMEMNON FROST is engineered from alien artifacts, under the guise of lost, ancient books—so I sort of side-stepped steam. Even though the technology used is supposedly from the father of steam himself, Heron of Alexandria.
I drew inspiration from SF historical books, the main one being War of the Worlds and I would say AGAMEMNON FROST leans more towards that genre.
RK: Some of your books are M/M romances, which are popular among a female readership. Since there is a lot of talk about the hero/ heroine in romances, do you feel as a writer that you approach an M/M romance differently than writing a M/F one?
KIM: The two have a distinct…feeling separating them. In my head, anyway. I don’t think I approach M/M any differently though. Characters and relationships are often fixed in my mind from the start, but they will act/react to a set of expected social rules. There’s often different gender baggage that comes into play.
Some actions you can get away with when both your leads are male, whereas it would ruin the hero’s relationship with his heroine and the reader if he followed the same path. For instance, for me, a heroine can punch her hero in the face, but he could never return that punch. Two heroes? They can slug it out…and make up after, without losing their hero statuses.
I also couldn’t have written the AGAMEMNON FROST books as M/F. The dictates of gender, what positions men and women hold, how they must act—especially if I wanted to remain close to Victorian values—made it impossible.
Saying that…I’m toying with m/f steampunk right now. But I’m aware of how Victorian society would view my heroine and how she has to hide who and what she is because of its constraints.
RK: The book is set in Victorian England (albeit is an alternate history). Can you tell us about the research that you did before writing the book? What were some of the most interesting things you discovered about that period of history?
KIM: I knew I’d have to dive into a lot of research to write a steampunk and because of that, I didn’t want to set it London. It would take up too much time shuttling back and forth on the train!
Handily, I live in what once was the second city of the Empire, Liverpool, so the research was just outside. It was strange—as an SFR writer—to be able to walk around the rooms in stately homes, or streets, or the remains of dock buildings and move with my characters and experience what they would see or hear. I liked it.
I also admit to being a reference book junkie and went slightly mad in the buying of Victorian era books. I think I’m up to 40, possibly more. I stacked about three quarters of them and took a photo.
I also had one wall of my office covered in ordinance survey maps of late Victorian Liverpool.
Really useful for planning routes for flying vehicles!
One of the facts that stuck with me was that Victorian sailors often tattooed their own name and town onto their bodies. So that if they died, and were taken to the deadhouse under St Nick’s church, they could be identified.
Also, there’s an old police station here—a bridewell—that’s become a pub, tucked away down a side street. All the cells are still there, with their heavy doors, cell numbers and the feeling is quite oppressive. The beer is good though. Its claim to fame is that it’s the station in which Charles Dickens was made a special constable.
I think mostly what I got from the research was a deeper appreciation for the history of my own city.
RK: You have a lot of books in the SFR genre. What attracted you to SFR? What do you think could be done to help promote the SFR genre in general?
KIM: I’m blaming Anne McCaffery for my initial attraction to SFR. She showed the early teenage me that characters can go into space, have adventures and still have their HEA. I think I clung to this…as Blake’s 7 broke my heart! 😉
SFR straddles two very distinct worlds. Though I admit to leaning more towards romance, as I need my HEAs. And I write SFR because I love the chance to play with infinite possibilities, whilst still focused on characters and their growing relationships.
Perhaps more contemporary set SFR would help the SFR genre? Mixing the world of the known with a slight alien twist could draw more readers? Gateway books before we hit ‘em with the hard stuff 😀
RK: If you had a chance to time-travel which would you choose: past or future? Where and why?
KIM: Once I’d got all my shots–because there’s no way I’m going into the past without them!—I’d love to go to the great cities of antiquity at their height. Athens, Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Tenochtitlan. I love to be able to feel the places, become immersed in them, the sights, the sounds, especially the smells so I could write about them with confidence. I do have a one track mind…
RK: If you were a superhero, what would be your super hero name? And your
I’d be…Splurge Girl (my super power wouldn’t be delicate or pretty!) I’d have the ability to brain-splurge. To empty the thoughts of my brain onto a page or computer screen. It would make writing so-o much easier…
Kim Knox writes Science Fiction Romance, Paranormal Romance and even Steampunk with a definite erotic focus. Her book, AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE HOUSE OF DEATH was featured at the SFR Brigade and will be out (the first of three) by Carina Press on August 16th. She is the author of the PLANETARY BODIES Erotic SFR series from Ellora’s Cave as well as many other SFR titles. Kim Knox also contributes to the blogs Contact Infinite Futures, Paranormal Romantics, and Here Be Magic. She also writes contemporary romances as Kim Rees.
Author Site: http://www.kim-knox.co.uk/
Other Sites: http://contactinfinitefutures.wordpress.com/