My daughter asked me to find certain photographs for her recently. As I went though hundreds of photos (not the digital kind either!) in this large tea chest, that belonged my Mother, it was quite apparent that the numerous family day trips and vacations all had one common thread – nature and wildlife. We went to zoo’s, safari parks, wildlife parks, and even family walks ended up at farms or in fields and forests. This interest has been passed down from parent to child and grandchild. It is a family interest to this day.
My narratives reflect this fascination, even if a location is ‘off world’ there are always references to the natural inhabitants of that world. In Ockleberries to the Rescue, although there are magical woodland sprites caring for forest animals, it is based on Earth. Each chapter allows a child to learn about a specific animal or bird on Earth. These sketch’s by J.E. McKnight illustrate some of the chapter headers.
In Clickety Click there is a hidden world within our own and in Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria there are fantastical plants and animals of my imagination. The initial spark for the story behind Creature Hunt was a chance encounter with this enormous mullein plant on one of my road trips. As can see it was taller than me! You will have to read the book to find out what character it plays.
In The Twesome Loop, an Italian olive grove is a fundamental part of the story. Olive trees can grow for hundreds of years and their gnarly trunks give them character. The story is set between England and Italy, two places I love very much, having lived in one and visited the other.
I used my new found knowledge of my new home, Canada, for the setting of my novel, Life in Slake Patch, which has a prairie location. And The Commodore’s Gift has my protagonists living in a forest cavern, while I take my readers back to medieval England in The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy.
As you can see the settings for my stories are as much a character as the protagonists are. It allows my dear readers to imagine the surroundings and the flora and fauna. I personally love discovering the natural world, while letting nature relax and inspire me. There is always something new to learn and see from a bug to a bison, from a flower to a tree.
1. Please tell us about your new YA novel – Virtual Age
A- Virtual Age takes place in a distant future. Our world is no longer able to support life so, in preparation for this, indoor cities were built where air and water is purified. The technology of virtual reality was adapted so people can work, play, travel, and enjoy a version of the outside world within the system. When you live your lives within a computer, you become susceptible to hacking – which could drain you of all your money as all money is accessed through computers – and your whole world could be altered and flipped upside down.
My main character is a thirteen year-old boy by the name of Aiden Murphy. He enjoyed the simple life of a teen – going to birthday parties, occasionally standing up to the school bully, and going with his family on vacations or trips to the beach. It was on one of these outings where Aiden finds himself trapped in the system, lost and all alone; unable to get home. He doesn’t know who to trust. He doesn’t know where to go. He doesn’t know what he is going to encounter within someone else’s program. He will be tested every step of the way.
2. How did you come up with the idea?
A- I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of virtual reality and wanted to come up with a story centres around that concept. Actually, I remember when I came up with the idea and some points within the plot while at work. I was working for a commercial insulating company a few years ago. One day I was sent to a job and there was no material there for me to do any work so I spent 3 hours waiting around for the material and while I did, I came up with the concept and title of my book.
Did you decide on writing a YA from the start?
A- I have had ideas for YA novels that I still want to write, however, this wasn’t one of them. I started it off as any of my other novels but then realized as I was writing that it was better suited as a YA.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
A- There are so many but one that stands out is Dimlyn – an inhabitant of the planet Seledania – she is strong, determined, stubbourn, kind, and generous. Her loyalty to her society is put to the test when she encounters a visitor from beyond the stars –a human – who is feared and hated by the whole of the society besides Dimlyn. She is willing to overlook his outer appearance despite the backlash she receives from the rest of the society. She was probably the most fun to write because she isn’t human.
When did you write the manuscript?
A- I wrote the manuscript in November of 2018. I participate in NaNoWriMo every year. November is National Novel Writing Month and authors who sign up are challenged with writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.
How many books have you written?
A- I have published 8 books so far. Book #9 is in editing and book #10 is ready to be edited.
Which genre interests you the most?
A- I mostly write in the sci-fi/supernatural genres.
Have you written more than one genre?
A- Aside from sci-fi/supernatural I have also written a psychological thriller, a superhero story and a collection of Christmas stories.
Do your books have a specific message for your readers?
A- I don’t often think in terms of messages within the story but when I thought about my stories I began to realize most of them did carry a similar message- that being of tolerance. We need to treat each other with the love and compassion we want for ourselves. And don’t be too quick to judge.
How many other writing projects do you have in progress?
A- Like I said I have two books in various stages of the editing process as well I have a prequel for my first novel – Time’s Hostage – I’m working on.
Where can readers connect with you?
A- They can connect with me on my Facebook page: J E McKnight – author
And they can check out all my books on my website: jemcknight.com
E-books available on all sites.
Joe McKnight was born in Fort Saskatchewan and raised in the small Alberta farming community of Partridge Hill. He started his schooling in Ardrossan, where he developed a love of story-telling. His love of writing continued to grow throughout his school years. In 2004, while upgrading his English 30, Joe’s passion increased. It was during that same year he stumbled upon a writer’s circle (offered by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County) that provided the support and encouragement he needed. He continues to grow in his writing and looks forward to many future literary ventures.
Joe has published several books: Time’s Hostage, Fly on the Wall, The Arrival, Powerless, The Other Secret, Stocking Stuffers, Unnatural Selection, and Virtual Age. He is currently working on a new manuscript.
Joe is also an accomplished artist and his artwork also appears on the cover of From a Solitary Drop – he was commissioned to design the illustration featured on the cover.
Today I am highlighting some of the incredible authors published by Dream Write Publishing of Sherwood Park, who are launching new books at this event. It will be the 12th annual Words in the Park and with over 100 titles, this publishing company has continued to maintain their mission to assist authors in realizing their publishing dream. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/
Mike Deregowski: Duffy the Duffle Bag.
Duffy is a large duffle bag. He has a hard time fitting into tight spots and often wishes he could be smaller so he could go more places. Join Duffy and his friends to learn more about acceptance. The trick is to learn to be happy with yourself no matter what size you are.
Leslie Hodgins: The Tale of the Siren Song
“Gather ’round, ye who dare! Gather ’round to hear the story of Captain Dara Finn, the Cursed Pirate! Legend has it that he terrorized these shores for as long as memory serves, living without feeling, serving no one, and going where he wanted!”As always, this story begins with once upon a time…Sirens were considered mythical creatures although more stories were being told about them – some about sailors meeting them, some about where they came from, others about what powers they have over you with just their voice. Dara listened intently to the stories, hoping there was a chance they’d hold a clue to breaking the curse. But no one seemed to know…
Mandy Eve-Barnett: Rython Legacy (the sequel to The Rython Kingdom)
Juliana held her granddaughter in her arms; it was a bittersweet moment. The child was a delight but also her replacement; she was the new sorceress who would protect the kingdom if called upon. At that precise moment, Maralynn opened her golden eyes – there was such intensity in them that her observers were taken aback at the obvious power the new little being held. A thin thread of cyan mist floated and twisted above the happy group… unobserved., a portent of things to come. Maralynn’s reign as Eldenma would be fraught with challenges, but could her exceptional power ultimately overcome.
J.E. McKnight: Unnatural Selection
In a world where the male population outnumbers the female eight to one, the survival of the human race depends on the advent of a breeding program, outlawing marriage and monogamous relationships. This is all anybody knows as there isn’t a generation that hadn’t had to participate in some breeding program or another. Martin 11 od Coddlebury and Eric 23 of Coddlebury grew up together in the same nursery and dreamed of the day they would be old enough to enter the breeding program. Everything changed, for Martin, the day he met Desiree 9 of Peppercoll. Now he is torn between his duty to the program – not to mention the law – and his feeling for a woman he knows he can never have…
Come and meet these authors and over 30 more at Words in the Park, 28th September. Venue: Agora, 401, Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, AB. Time 10.00 am – 4:00 pm
Free admission for books, games, interactive tables, kids Find IT game, prizes, treats, story telling, music, writing prompt workshop, artisan crafts and much more.
Superhero fiction originated in American comic books, although its popularity quickly expanded into other media through adaptations and original works.
It examines the adventures, personality and ethics of a costumed crime fighter, commonly known as a superhero, possessing superhuman powers, who has the desire or need to help the citizens of their chosen country or world by using their powers to defeat natural or super powered threats. They battle similarly powered criminals, referred to as super villains. The super heroes involve themselves (either intentionally or accidentally) with science fiction and fact, including advanced technologies, alien worlds, time travel, and inter-dimensional travel; but the standards of scientific plausibility are lower than with actual science fiction.
Superheroes sometimes combat other threats such as aliens, magical/fantasy entities, natural disasters, political ideologies such as Nazism or communism and godlike or demonic creatures. Super villains may not have actual physical, mystical, superhuman or super alien powers, but often possesses a genius intellect that allows them to draft complex schemes or create fantastic devices.
Both opposing characters have secret identities or alter egos, but for different reasons. The superhero hides their true identity from enemies and the public to protect those close to them from harm and to some extent problems that are not serious enough for them to become involved in. In contrast a super villain keeps their identity secret to conceal their crimes enabling them to act freely and illegally without risk of arrest.
Who is your favorite superhero?
Have you written a superhero story/novel? Care to share?
A good friend of mine wrote this superhero novel, which has a fantastic twist. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Powerless-J-McKnight/dp/1927510848
Last week I also attended a grant presentation for my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This grant will assist us in publishing our Canada 150 book, which tells stories of Canada, whether it is memories, wildlife, landscape, seasons or any other ‘Canadian’ theme. County Clothesline are always so generous with their grants to local non-profits and organizations. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/wfsc-canada-150-book-project
This week is less eventful (pardon the pun) so writing is my goal.
Other upcoming events:
30 June at 19:00 to 2 July at 17:00
The Bennett Center, 9703-94 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3W1
The children’s festival WordPlay takes place in conjunction with the grand opening of Sheree Fitch’s dreamy new venture, Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, on July 3 in River John, NS, with Alan Syliboy, Marie-Louise Gay, and plenty of celebration.