Interview with Author Robert McKnight

Updated: Mar 20

Tell me a bit about yourself….

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and my books. My name is Robert McKnight, known to friends and family as Bob.

I am a newly self-published author. While I have been writing for my whole life, I got a late start to creating the finished products and only recently started actually publishing my written works. I have quite a library stored up that still needs to find its way into the printed world.

My imagination is wild and mysterious, and I love sharing it with others. The world that I write from is nothing ordinary. Everything you know about your own world will do you no good in MY WORLD.

I would like to invite you into this world of the unexpected to experience the wonders of my dark imagination.

What genre/s do you write in?

Dark fantasy is my genre and the world that I will take you to. Characters in my stories die in unexpected ways and often gruesome ways full of spewing blood and misplaced body parts! “Happily Ever After” is not the way the story goes. No romance, no love story, only wildly unusual plot lines!

Supernatural beings from folklore and my imagination introduce themselves to you. You will become acquainted with some interesting and usual ‘characters’ that will not always do the right thing. Will you sit in your reading chair yelling at them or smile devilishly at their evil actions?

These main oddities and creatures twist the plot and shake it around until you don’t know where it’s going. If you DO figure it out, it will probably turn you around again for an alternate ending!

How long have you been writing?

Let’s just say that I have been around for many, many decades.

I started writing in college and have written dozens of short stories. The play I wrote in college, “Hexenbesen” won a playwriting award and was presented to the campus.

Recently, a group of my short stories has been published in a synopsis book called McKnightmares Anthology of Twisted Tales.

I have also written a 2-act comedic mystery play that has been performed at Garfield Heights Little Theatre and our local high school.

Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.

Shadowland is my first self-published book.

Shadowland is an adult fantasy about stretching your imagination into another universe that has come here onto our own planet. There are creatures that live among the world's population without detection. Readers will learn what happens when ordinary people come face to face with them.

It takes place in the 1990s when a dark discovery was made deep in the shadows below Raymond and Sandy Watson’s quaint little home in Cleveland, Ohio. Ray and his band of cohorts; he was not sure if they all qualify as friends; delve deep into the Shadowland to discover its secrets. In the process of pursuing the mysteries below Ray’s rec room, they battle with issues of greed, friendship, loyalty, and love while trying to outsmart and outrun death. Some are winners. Some are losers.

The group’s journey into the world of science fiction reveals a secret world that they try hard to understand. They must work together to preserve not only their own lives but perhaps the fate of the world. In the present day, does Shadowland still exist in the depths of the earth?

McKnightmares Anthology of Twisted Tales was published recently. It is a journey into the unexpected in my compilation of short stories. I gathered a group of the short stories that I have collected over the years. They are all sudden twists stories with a dark edge to them.

If you pay close attention to the clues, you might be able to figure out the twisted ending. Each story in the McKnightmares Anthology of Twisted Tales foreshadows the dark fate of its characters and will lead you down a path to a logical conclusion. But who’s logic?

The words spill out in front of you, leading toward the end, but take a violent turn before concluding and leaving you disturbed and shaken. Do you have a vivid enough imagination to foresee the spiraling alternative coming ahead?

Did you use an editor? If so who?

No, but I have been looking for one that would fit my budget.

Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?

All of my cover art was done by an up-and-coming art student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Amanda Rose. I like to support those that are just starting out, just like myself.

Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?

I took the self-publishing route. I formatted my books and used KDP to publish them. I call it McKnightmares Publishing!

It was a very steep learning curve, and I made some mistakes in formatting the pages, but after a couple of editions, the mistakes have gone down. Now, if I can only figure out why the page numbers disappear on the current edition!

How do you market your work and promote your brand?

Shadowland is set in Ohio and has recently been added to a list of great reads for books set in Ohio. It has been a help to be added to this list. There are some top sellers on the list, so I am happy to be in such good company.

Do you use paid advertising? If so what?

My promotional budget is really low. I am only able to use KDP marketing and Facebook author and book groups for advertising. I use all of my free book's sales for KDP as a promotion every quarter.

Do you have a blog or website?

I have a McKnightmares website that I used to announce my book signing events and appearances. I love the in-person events where I meet my readers and chat about their thoughts about my books. I am always happy taking photos and producing autographed copies!

What inspires you most to write?

I love to tell stories. In elementary school, all the neighborhood kids in my Cleveland Heights community would gather on our front porch to listen to my wild stories. I am not sure how many nightmares I caused from those front porch tales!

I took creative writing at my undergraduate college, the College of Wooster, to work on actually transcribing all the stories in my head onto paper. The instructor, Freddy Moore, believed in my abilities, inspired me, and fuelled my love for writing stories.

What do you do to help with writers block?

Never had it. No advice there! My head is always full of stories!

How do you plan your writing and start?

I sit down and write. When I am in the mood, the stories just flow.

Is writing your full time job? If not what else do you do?

Writing is not my full-time job. I am enjoying retirement now.

For writing careers, I have written articles for magazines, written humorous greeting cards for American Greetings, designed a brochure and catalog for an industrial sales company, sold advertising, and written for The Cleveland Press newspaper. Most recently I have written, produced, and directed commercials for an ad agency, including one that was Emmy-nominated.

To round out the various types of employment, I have also spent some time bottling produce in a factory, driving a tour bus, and selling appliances.

What are you working on at the moment?

There might be a Shadowland 2 sequel on the horizon!

What is your target audience?

My target audience is working-class middle-aged adults. I can relate well to these folks since I have been there!

My readers are those that are not interested in rainbows and sunshine, but rather scary stories that give you goosebumps and make you jump at the sudden loud noise in your empty house. Is your house REALLY empty? Makes you wonder!

What does your family think about you writing?

My family supports my writing endeavors and everyone has a signed copy of all of my books.

What do you think makes a good story?

When the climax of the story pleases the reader. I like to read everything in fiction. I don’t enjoy reading non-fiction.

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