08-10-2016 by 
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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

invariably better.


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

between cultures?

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

short stories.


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!