Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is BJ Knapp, I’ve written 2 books. One is in a drawer, the other is up on Amazon.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is called Beside the Music. I love 80s metal bands. Not all of them have had staying power, however. I wondered about the ones that didn’t make it. I imagined they were all called into a conference room in some office somewhere, still in their eyeliner and leather, and told that they are broke. I imagined the emotional scene that played out, and how they all freaked out about having to get office jobs fixing copiers and the like. But then I thought, what if one of those bands tried to come back from that–in an age where social media dictates your worth, which is something that bands in the 80s didn’t have to deal with. How would aging rock stars, ignorant of all that, get themselves back to the top?
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Loads of them. My most unusual is that I’ve taught my beagle how to type. He hauls a laptop on top of his dog house and I lounge in a chaise nearby and he types in whatever I tell him. It works well until he decides he’s a World War I fighter pilot chasing the Red Baron. Then the laptop gets thrust back into my lap and he’s off in his Sopwith Camel careening over Europe. Beagles have short attention spans sometimes.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The biggest influence for me is Janet Evanovich’s How I Write. I check it out from the library on audiobook. It’s narrated by her, and it is her reaching through my earbuds and grabbing me by the hair and shoving me into my chair and saying “shut up and write already.”
What are you working on now?
My next one is about a couple that wins the lottery, like hundreds of millions of dollars. I outlined it as they’re trying to figure out how to deal with this major life change. But as I was trucking along on my outlined path, I got another idea and went off-road. So, now the story is going to be completely different with this couple and their millions.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Connecting with people is how you sell books. You can’t just stand there and say “buy my book.” Nobody will buy it. But if you interact with people, they’ll be interested in what you have to say. Right now Facebook is working well for me. I am dabbling on Twitter as well, but I get the most interaction on Facebook. And people post pictures of my book in their hands. Pretty awesome.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I am chock full of unsolicited advice. Mine for new authors is do not stop believing in yourself and your story. There are dark moments where you’re like “This is crap.” And then there are the brighter moments where you’re like “OK, I am really good.” The dark moments are a lot longer than the bright ones. You need to find a way to buoy yourself in those dark moments and get through them. Remember that every rejection is one closer to an acceptance. It takes only one “yes” but you’re gonna hear a lot of “no.” Move on from the no. Ask yourself what you can do better next time, and do it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
My mom, Jane Kruzel, said this to me: “If you want something, go get it. Nobody is going to hand it to you.”
She’s right. On so many levels. They aren’t handing out publishing deals down at the truck stop. You have to work for it.
What are you reading now?
This answer changes by the day. I burn through books, because in 7th grade my Language Arts teacher used a method to encourage faster reading. My library card is melted on one side from overuse. You can see that here: http://bjknapp.com/past-reads
What’s next for you as a writer?
Right now I am focused on my first book making its journey out into the world. I need to guide it and tell it how to get into the hands of my readers. I am learning a lot about that whole process. But I am also working on my next novel, tentatively called The Winners.
What is your favorite book of all time?
The one with the pages, and the words.
I guess I’d have to say “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. I am a dog lover, and this guy really gets what it’s like to be a dog. Highly recommend.