Jessica Knauss’s latest book, Awash in Talent, is available for pre-order through Amazon. It sounds super interesting and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Despite being a busy author, Jessica was gracious enough to offer her time so I can get to know her better and share the inside scoop on both her books and her life on my blog.
Q: Tell us about your new book, Awash in Talent.
A: Picture a world much like ours, except that about ten percent of the world
population has one of three Talents—the abilities to move objects with their minds,
to set fires with their psychic energy, or to read people’s minds. It’s not easy to be
Talented, and the rest of the world looks on these people with varying degrees of
fear and suspicion. Beth, who has telekinesis, is praised and encouraged as a
prodigy, but firestarter Kelly has to go to a school that’s more like a prison, and
Patricia the psychic doesn’t dare tell anyone about her Talent or they might do
experiments on her. Each woman is also faced with serious challenges with family
and love interests. It’s all too much for anyone!
The first glimmer for Awash in Talent came to me many years ago, when I first had
the opportunity devote myself to writing. I dreamed about a girl who discovered she
had supernatural healing powers and telekinesis after she had an operation to
remove a pull-top tab from her stomach. I scribbled out the beginning from the point
of view of this girl’s envious older sister, Emily. Emily propelled the story forward on
the strength of her misguided loathing for her sister and unrequited love for her
college teaching assistant instructor. When Emily decided to go to Brown to escape
her California family, the whole novel became colored with my everlasting affection
for Providence, Rhode Island.
I worked on other projects and only pulled out Emily’s story when I needed a break.
In fact, I completed my first novel, an epic set in medieval Spain called Seven Noble
Knights, before I even started Part II of Awash in Talent. Awash in Talent is made up
of three novellas, and I had just completed the final lines of the third when Seven
Noble Knights was accepted for publication. I was sure it would see the light of day
long before Awash in Talent, but here we are celebrating its release to the reading
public while Seven Noble Knights is scheduled for December 15 of this year.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
A: My favorite books pull me in from the start, either with compelling characters or
complex events to figure out. Recent examples include The Map of Chaos by Félix
Palma, The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell, and The Shadow of the Wind by
Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Also anything by Aimee Bender, Karen Russell, and Lydia Millet.
Q: What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
A: My favorite book and movie of all time is The Princess Bride. I’ve read it almost
as many times as I’ve watched it. I saw The Princess Bride and read the novel (in
that order) during my formative years, and not only did it steer my reading and
writing tastes forever, but it also made me aware of the differences between the two
media. I learned not to expect the experiences to be the same. Although the book is
Q: What other things do you enjoy besides writing?
A: I enjoy traveling and wish I could do it more often. Castles, palaces, museums,
parks—bring ‘em on! Other than that, I mostly like to listen to music, do research for
my books, read (reading for pleasure is a rare treat because I’m a professional
editor), watch movies or series with my husband, or read aloud with him. We love to
share novels by Jonathan Stroud and other zany, Princess Bride–like books as well
as nonfiction this way. As a way to escape into the same fantasy world together, it
can’t be beat.
Q: Do you have any projects you’re working on now?
A: Right now I’m all about the sequels. I’ve started a novel that follows Emily and
Patricia’s unpredictable story where Awash in Talent leaves off. I think Kelly will
make an appearance, too.
An epic tentatively titled Eighth Knight picks up the adventures of Justa and Blanca
Flor after the end of Seven Noble Knights. They’ll travel, endure hardships, and
finally get caught up in court intrigue while everyone’s searching for Blanca Flor’s
love, Mudarra. Is there a place in this medieval world for someone who lives
On the side, when I need a break from the epic scale of novels, I’ve also been
adapting some of the thirteenth-century songs, The Cantigas de Santa María, into
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
A: Get all the updates and meet new authors on my blog at jessicaknauss.com. Feel
free to join my occasional mailing list for more fun updates. I Facebook and Tweet
about Spain, rhinos, and other authors, too. I look forward to seeing you there!