A native New Yorker, Jill Knapp is an author with HarperImpulse, HarperCollins UK. She has written two instalments of her “What Happens To Men..?” series, and is currently writing the third, and then the fourth.
A graduate from The School For Social Research in Manhattan, Knapp holds an M.A in Psychology. After graduate school, she taught psychology classes at her undergraduate alma mater, Kean University, for 3 years until moving to the south.
In addition to writing and teaching, she engaged in competitive figure skating for ten years of her life, and then went on to coaching.
She currently resides in North Carolina.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I had always written, but when I was younger it was always just for me. I had a diary when I was young and would write every thought and feeling I had in it. As I got older, I was able to take the types of English classes in school that allowed for more creative writing. Having said that, I never thought about writing as a profession. It always seemed like something I would never succeed at. I lumped becoming a publisher author with getting a role on a television show, or having a major label sign your band. With that in mind, I entered college with a declared major in psychology. Any elective I could take was an English or writing class, but I still never thought of it as anything more than a hobby. It wasn’t until I finished graduate school that I decided to write a book. It was an idea I always toyed with “Oh one of these days I’m going to write a book.” Well, I felt like I could keep saying that forever, or actually sit myself down and begin. When I first started my first book, I wrote feverishly fast. I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head fast enough. That’s when I knew that this was more than just a hobby for me.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I wake up at the same time every day and beginning writing at 9:00 am. I don’t work on weekends unless I am running behind on a deadline and need to catch up. Since I work from home, I have to structure my time very diligently. I always do my best work in the morning with a cup of coffee (or two) in my hand.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I have been battling with writers block recently actually. I can’t say I know how to overcome it unfortunately. I wish I had advice! Essentially I just wait it out, and inspiration always manages to find its way back. Sometimes listening to very emotionally charged music will help speed the process along.
4. Are you a plotter/panster when it comes to writing a story? Hmm I am not sure what you mean by this!
5. What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? The publishing process for me was a bit unusual. My first novel was originally self-published and called Chase. It was acquired by HarperCollins months later. They issued me a contract, had me do edits, changed the title of the book and the cover design. It’s a whole process and before going through it, I had no idea how long all of it took! It really takes a village to turn a story from a word document into a paperback book.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Being able to talk to other published authors, such as Emily Giffin, Sophie Jordan, A.G Howard, Therese Anne Fowler, and the list goes on. And it’s great to meet up and coming authors such as Phoebe Fox, Hilary Grossman, and Mary Frame. Not to mention all of the fabulous authors who I work with at HarperImpulse!
The best thing that happened to me since getting published by Harper was when actress Shiri Appleby read my book and wrote a praise blurb for it. She is one of my favourite actresses and conversing with her was a dream come true for me.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. My most recently book that came out not too long ago is called “We’ve Always Got New York”. It’s the second instalment in my New Adult series about New York City. It takes place a few months after the first book ends, and whats different about this book is that the POV switches from Amalia to Olivia every other chapter.
8. Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Right now I have Chanukah and Christmas on the brain, so I a pretty much planning for the holidays! I also have two dogs who are just the greatest things ever.
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) The very first thing I would say to do if to make a Twitter page. This is the quickest and easiest way to get in contact with other authors, editors, or even agents. It’s also a less invasive option to cold e-mailing someone who doesn’t know you.
The second thing I would say is get over any idea you have about being annoying or over-bearing because when it comes to your work, you have to be diligent about getting it read. It may take contacting the same person twelve times before you finally get a response, but until and unless someone says to you “I am not interested”, keep following up with them about once a week.
Contact as many book bloggers as you can find, even ones who may not have a huge following, and ask them to review your book. You’ll need to offer them either a hard copy or a digital copy of the book. We call these Review Copies or ARC’s. After they have finished your book, find out if they will put their reviews on Amazon also.
Don’t pitch an agent unless you know they represent your genre. For example, don’t pitch an agent who usually works with Women’s Fiction or Young Adult with your Science Fiction novel.
10.What is the hardest thing about writing? Writing the middle of the book!