I'm pleased to welcome Author Kristina Knight to my blog. Kristina looks back on her childhood and shares with us the most important influences in her writing career. Comments are welcome! You can check out the blurb for her novel, What a Texas Girl Needs and read an excerpt below.
My mom likes to tell everyone she meets that I was born reading a book. I think I actually learned to read when I was four, that is the earliest memory I have of sitting down with a book to actually read the words - not just look at the pictures and imagine. I like to credit that early reading compulsion with turning me into not only a lifetime reader but an author, too.
I've had a ton of influences in my life. My mom and elementary-school-teacher grandmother (who got me hooked on non-Seuss books) pushed me not just to read for work but for fun. I had this teacher in high school (didn't we all?) who always pushed me to do more...and nearly every creative writing assignment I turned in, she wrote, "I can see this as a novel". Then she would give me a B (sometimes a B+) because she wanted more. But those comments, oh, they were inspiring. Listening to my talented husband on the radio inspires me to really work hard and pay attention. Watching my daughter grow and expand her knowledge every day is inspiring, especially since her first days were such a struggle. The list goes on.
One of my biggest influences? The Choose Your Own Adventure books. I remember vividly staying up late, reading by flashlight under the covers to see where those Adventure books would take me next...and thinking about where I might take them. When I discovered those books, I realized that I could control the book. I could 'write' the book, at least a version of it, by deciding what should happen next. I discovered my first Adventure book just after I turned 7 - yeah, way too young for them and I had to look up a LOT of words. But I couldn't stop reading them. I made different decisions and read and re-read the books until pages started falling out. It was soon after that that I started seriously writing stories - some of them still live in a basement somewhere. Most have been destroyed over the years.
When I think about my writing career, I give a lot of the credit to Mom, Big Mommy (my grandmother) and the Adventure books...because they all had a hand in making me a reader. And that turned me into a writer.
Were you (and are you) an avid reader? Who was your influence?
Matias Barnes knows all about society women - it’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn’t like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation, or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she’s so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?
"I'll take the bill, Vern," she said, holding out her hand. It was about time she started paying her own way. One tank of gas wouldn't exactly repay the family, but it was a start. Added bonus, paying her own bills might help overhaul the character she'd found so seriously lacking in the last few months.
"It's easier for ol' Mitch to keep his records if I just add it to the ranch total."
"I'm not a ranch employee. This isn't a ranch vehicle. I'll take the bill." Vanessa couldn't remember ever paying for a tank of gas here. Come to think of it, unless she was trying to impress someone, she had rarely paid for anything to this point in her life.
Vern handed her the receipt. Fifty bucks? Holy crap, how much did gas cost? Stupid question, Van, obviously it costs fifty dollars. She reached into her bag for her credit card and then remembered that was part and parcel of the Witte upbringing. Paying with Grandfather's credit card? Not character building. She pawed through the baby blue Coach bag but only came up with two twenties and some loose change.
"Just charge it to the ranch, Vern." Mat Barnes's voice echoed under the station's overhang, chilling Vanessa. "The Double Diamond will cover it." We always cover her bills, his tone implied.
Vanessa squeezed her eyes closed and swallowed. Her fingers closed over another bill. Please let it be a twenty. Or a ten. She opened her eyes.
Three twenties. Triumph!
"I've got it Mr. Barnes, thank you," she said, chilling her voice as she handed the cash to Vern. He looked from Mat to Vanessa, obviously confused over what was going on between them. Vanessa held his gaze for a moment. Vern took the cash and hurried inside.
"I think we're past the 'Mr. Barnes' stage, don't you?" Mat watched her from beneath the tipped-low brim on his cowboy hat, his coal-black eyes boring straight to her soul. Yes, they were past the Mr. or Miss stage, technically, but not calling him Mat helped her keep her distance.
The way her heart raced at the mere sight of him she desperately needed that space.
She looked away, crossing her arms over her chest. Her gaze caught on the frayed edge of his jeans—which were worn in all the right places, she noted—and today's tee, tight across his shoulders, read, 'Chicks Dig Scars' over his well-muscled chest.
Who was she kidding? Calling him Mr. Barnes didn't keep her from noticing just how delectable Mat was. Nothing could do that. Not in broad daylight. Certainly not the twinkling fairy lights during Kathleen's wedding reception.
"I don't think a night spent in my grandfather's hayloft makes us best buddies," she said, hoping against hope he would just leave her alone.
"Ahh, but what we did in that hayloft is another matter." He lounged against the side of her Porsche as if he might stay there forever.
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she's never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.
Find Kristina online: