Today we’re joined on the website by Geoffrey Knight, a new Australian author who writes adventure stories that take your breath away. The books star gay men in roles that make the reader hold on for dear life as the guys make yet another death defying and impossible escape.
Geoffrey’s two books Fathom’s Five: The Cross of Sins and Riddle of the Sands are currently blowing other books out of the water, they are so hot.
Hi Geoffrey or do you prefer Geoff? Why don’t you start by telling us something about yourself both as a writer and personally?
Hi Everyone, thanks for dropping by. Call me Geoff, that’s fine. I only get called Geoffrey when I’m being naughty – so it seemed very appropriate to use Geoffrey as my author name given the naughty content of my books! I’ve been writing screenplays, novels and commercials for as long as I can remember. I’m gay and very proud of it, it’s a large part of who I am but it doesn’t solely define me. I love handsome heroes, diabolical villains, summer thunderstorms, faraway places, temples, volcanoes, funny people who aren’t too clever for their own good, and at the moment I live with my three cats who only seem to do two things – eat and sleep. They’re just like lions only smaller and shed more fur.
You reside in Sydney. What can you tell us about the part of Sydney in which you live?
I live in an inner city suburb called Paddington, in a house that’s 200 years old – it’s very small but perfect for writing. The streets around me are very quiet, like a little village, but if you walk to the end of the block you arrive at busy, bustling Oxford Street which is Sydney’s gay mecca. I love where I live, it’s the best of both worlds!
Are you pinching yourself at your incredible success in the short time since you have been published or are you kind of going “ho hum” about the whole thing?
To be honest I am incredibly excited but I also want to keep my feet on the ground and not get too carried away. Most of my success has come from North America and Europe so I guess I’m a good distance away from it to make sure I don’t get an ego! I think egos can totally destroy someone’s dreams and talent. Although I have to say I love talking to people about my books. I love listening to what they like and what they don’t and where they think the story is going.
Tell us about your recent whirlwind trip to California where I understand you burned up a few records. What was the best part and what were the challenges?
The California trip was wonderful! I met so many nice people and received so much support and encouragement. Despite being Australian I write with very much an American sensibility, which I think is a direct result of growing up on a diet of American entertainment and pop culture, which I adore.
The best part of the trip was immersing myself in the context of being a writer and going to readings and meeting my publisher and fans. (The second best part was my day off, when a friend and I hired a car and drove up to Napa Valley – gorgeous!)
In terms of challenges, it’s always that flutter of nerves you get before you start talking to a crowded room. The life of a writer is full of contradictions, the biggest being that writing is such a solitary craft, yet when it comes to publicizing your work you go from being by yourself in front of your computer to standing up in front of a room full of people! I’m always fine once I start speaking though – in fact, I quite enjoy it, especially the buzz afterwards.
I read your first book Fathom’s Five: The Cross of Sins (reviewed here) and I was totally in awe of your imagination. How did you come up with this plot? I loved the fact that you introduced each character in a separate chapter before the main plot began. This is such a complex story that I thought it was a very clever strategy.
Thanks so much! Yes, having that many protagonists I need to map everything out carefully so the reader knows who is where and who’s doing what at any given time. I have to keep everything tight and fast-paced but still make everything very clear and concise. Interestingly the first version of the book was VERY different. There was only one protagonist, Luca, and the plot was very different – he had to find a treasure in Italy using secret clues hidden in famous works of art. But halfway through writing the book a little novel called “The Da Vinci Code” was released. You can imagine how I felt! I pretty much had to start from scratch, and one of the ways I decided to reinvent my plot was to throw away the famous artworks and take the number of protagonists from one to five. It changed the whole dynamic and from there the plot and story pretty much wrote themselves.
I love that you write books with gay heroes. Your stories are showing a different dimension to the superhero, with gay men in the starring roles, and they remind me of The Man From C.A.M.P. which was written in the 1960s by Victor J. Banis about Jackie Holmes, a gay secret agent (very campy)*g* patterned after The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Of course there the similarities end and I think of your heroes more like James Bond, and the books have as much excitement as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Did you always want to write stories that reminded you of Raiders, but which had your unmistakable stamp?
I enjoy anything with action or suspense in it, anything that gives you a jolt and puts you on the edge of your seat, but Raiders in particular had a huge influence on me as a kid. It made me want to be a storyteller. I owe a lot to that movie and its influence is really apparent in my writing. But yes, by turning the genre gay I definitely put my own stamp on it.
You have 5 protagonists in the first book but no Australian character even though you are from Oz. Does Riddle of the Sands (which I haven’t read as yet but plan to shortly) change that dynamic? (Update – Riddle of the Sands has just been reviewed here)
God, if there’s one thing I regret it’s that I didn’t put an Aussie in my mix of heroes. And no, there’s no Australian featured in The Riddle of the Sands nor in the third book The Curse of the Dragon and dare I say there’s no Aussie in the fourth book either, The End of Time. But there’s one on the way, I promise – his name is Travis Dundas… but that’s all I’ll say for now!
For those readers who don’t know anything about your books, how would you describe the stories?
My favourite description came from a reader who described the first book as “Gay Raiders of the Lost Da Vinci Code”! I love that! My description isn’t as witty and clever. Imagine James Bond meets Indiana Jones meets Charlie’s Angels meets Tomb Raider, with five hot hunky gay heroes risking life and limb in search of treasure, truth and justice!
The Curse of the Dragon is I believe the next book in the series. What can you tell us about the story?
The Curse of the Dragon takes the boys on a rollercoaster ride through China in pursuit of a stolen diamond with a mystical history of danger and death. China is such a fascinating place, it’s a massive canvas to work on, and I really wanted to portray an ancient, forbidden, mythical side of China boxed inside this contemporary image of a corporate, industrial giant. It was a lot of fun to write!
I read somewhere that you need to be totally isolated in order to write. Doesn’t that limit you in terms of relationships? Where did you write your latest book?
I don’t have to be totally isolated but I definitely have to be in my own zone. I tend to work in chunks and have dedicated time for my books and then time to socialize so that the hermit writer in me doesn’t take over completely. It’s true though, it does mean I have to work harder on relationships. Writing can be very demanding and all-consuming, but it’s an addiction I’ll never give up.
One thing I do enjoy doing is taking my computer or a notebook to the local pub where I sit by myself and listen to my ipod and start writing. It gets me out and about and puts me in a relatively social environment but I’m still in my own zone. I often get friends to join me for a drink after I’ve knocked over a few hours’ work. I wrote a lot of The Cross of Sins, The Riddle of the Sands and The Curse of the Dragon this way. I’ve also been known to take off and hide away in the bush with no human contact at all to finish a book. That’s very achieving, but by the end of a week I’m desperate for a conversation with someone!
With all of this new fame (and fortune, I hope*g*) do you have time for fun? If so what do you do when you’re playing, other than having sex? 😀
Time with friends, movies, cooking, pub lunches, dinners out, quiet nights in with some Rufus Wainwright or Nina Simone. And I try to travel as much as possible although in the last few years I’ve found it hard to take time out for trips – apart from my San Francisco trip of course. I need to travel more at the moment, I miss it!!
How does your day job fit into the life of an author? Which takes precedence and how do you manage to juggle priorities such as your recent trip to the US?
This is such a great question! You don’t often think of authors as people who have real jobs, but when you’re starting out you still need to pay the rent. I work in advertising, writing and producing commercials, so it keeps my creative skills on the go, but I’m also very lucky to have a boss who respects my writing and gives me as much flexibility as the job allows. It hasn’t always been this way – I used to work all day and write all night. But my current routine is giving me a lot more freedom – and I get to sleep at night.
This website has many Aussie “regulars” and followers and one of the guest reviewers, Kris, lives in Perth where Sean Kennedy, another of my favourite authors, lives. What would you like to say to those Australians especially Gaycrow (Gaye) – who first asked me if I was going to interview you – who are all proud of their “native son”?
Hi Kris, Gaye, and everyone else!! And Gaye, thanks for discovering me and suggesting the interview! Firstly, I want to say to everyone thanks for being proud of me, and secondly thanks for reading my books. Being Australian is great, it’s fun down here and I hope that sense of fun comes through in my writing. And I can’t wait to bring the Fathom’s Five boys down under. There’s so much history and mystery and danger in our big sunkissed land – there’s almost too much adventure!
I’m sure you have heard this before, but The Cross of Sins is the kind of story that would make a great movie. Did you have that in mind when you created the series? Does your sometime job of screenwriter help in your writing for this series?
My screenwriting has definitely shaped my novel-writing style. You have to keep your scenes short and the action moving. I tend to block scenes like a director too so that the reader can see what’s happening in their head. I often stand up and move about in strange ways to figure out a fight sequence – I must look very odd! And yes, I would SO love for my books to be turned into movies, but sadly I’m not sure if Hollywood is ready to make a big gay action blockbuster. Trust me though, if someone does want to make a movie, I want to sit in on the casting sessions!!! (Maybe a gay casting couch?)
Do you have a story arc for Fathom’s Five? How many books do you plan for this series or do you intend to write them until the readers (or you) get tired of them?
Yes, there’s definitely a story arc. The canvas of the series (so far) has been charted and I have the plots for the first 8 books mapped out. Having said that, I’ll keep writing these for as long as readers want to read them, they’re so much fun! My Aussie hero will make his debut and join the team in either book 5 or 6, I’m still toying with that. But I’m not giving anything away just yet – there are quite a few ripple effects that I’ve already set in motion. Various smaller subplots that you’ve already read turn into major storylines down the track.
In the next few books you’re in for some major shocks! Someone will betray everyone, someone’s Fathom’s Five journey will end forever, (Oh noes!!!) and Luca will finally uncover the secret of his past which turns out to be the mother of all surprises! It’s like a great big thrilling gay adventure soap opera, with one heart-stopping cliffhanger after another!
I also have two spin-off series planned which I can’t wait to start writing, but they have to slot into the arc of the Fathom’s Five books at the appropriate time.
Do you have a favourite author whose work you have long admired and who is a great influence on your writing?
There are so many great authors out there, but someone I do truly admire is Stephen King. His genre is completely different to mine, but I love the way he draws his characters. They’re such real people in completely unreal situations. Characters are SO important to me. If the reader doesn’t care about your characters then he or she will simply stop reading.
I know you’re a relatively new author but what would you say is your greatest professional achievement so far?
My San Francisco tour was a huge thrill and definitely one of the highlights of my writing career so far! Getting on a plane and journeying to the other side of the world to see your book filling the window displays of the most iconic gay bookstores in the world is truly awesome!
What’s next for Geoffrey Knight, personally and professionally?
Well my goal in life is to become a full-time author. I’ve got so many stories to tell, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. So professionally I’m hoping that writing full-time will be my next step. Personally, I’d like to have the time to do more for my community. I’m hoping that becoming a full-time author will give me that opportunity.
I ask some of the authors I interview for their advice to up and coming or aspiring authors. What would be your advice?
I guess every writer will give you a different answer, but mine is: take notice of your characters’ senses and put them down on paper. What is your character seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting? These are the things a reader can relate to, these are the things that paint a picture and draw the reader into the world you’ve created. It’s a small piece of advice but it’s one thing I try to do as often as possible.
I know the characters since I have read The Cross of Sins but for those readers who know nothing about the books can you give us a brief sentence to describe each character in your series?
My five heroes are kind of like porn stars crossed with action heroes. Each is built on a stereotype but then given their own intricate and interesting shadings, each of them possessing a different background, different skill sets and different personalities. There’s New York adventurer and tough guy Jake Stone, the brilliant Brazilian biologist Dr Eden Santiago, the tough but gentlemanly Texas cowboy Shane Houston, the beautiful Italian model and art expert Luca da Roma, and the Californian college quarterback majoring in ancient history Will Hunter. (Another reviewer recently described them all as different types of food – it was fantastic, I loved it!)
GEOFFREY KNIGHT UNPLUGGED
In this section we like the author to take off his or her clothes (you may keep your tighty whiteys on or go commando if you wish):) and relax in the hot tub with the very buff guys who take care of “things” around here. Are you comfortable? The guys tend to get a bit rambunctious sometimes and don’t realize that they should keep their hands above the waist at all times when they are giving massages. You’re OK? Now on to the second part of the interview
If you had the opportunity, which of your 5 guys would you like to have hot sex with? You can choose more than one if you wish.*g*
I love this question!!! And I’m going to milk it (excuse the naughty pun) by saying I’d love to have hot sex with each of them!! Will would be fit and agile and full of energy, Luca would be the hot and passionate Italian lover, Eden would be sensitive and attentive, and Jake would be a real man, masculine, macho, maybe a little rough and forceful but still loving and caring. But I think the one I’d most like to get into bed would be Shane. He’s that rugged cowboy type but still has a tender gentlemanly side to him. And I’d insist he keep his cowboy hat on!! (Oh damn!! I can’t get that picture out of my mind – Shane boinking you with his 10 gallon hat on! Would he be wearing his boots as well??)
I notice that only Eden has somewhat of an ongoing relationship. Do you have plans for any of the other guys to do more than have fun under the sheets? Would you join them in a threesome if they asked?
When I finished the first draft of The Riddle of the Sands, Eden and Jacques, his lover from the first book, had a huge storyline in which Jacques accompanied Eden to Brazil. The Amazon section of the book was about 100 pages longer than it is now. There were riverboat chases, piranhas, anacondas – you name it! But the book was way too long and in the editing process I decided to take Jacques out altogether and just leave him as the “Bond boy” for The Cross of Sins (each book has its own “Bond boy”, just as each James Bond movie has a “Bond girl”. It keeps things fresh and interesting). Besides, I have much bigger plans for Eden’s love life! And yes, I’d join any of my boys in a threesome. Or foursome. Or moresome!
How about toys? I can’t remember any in The Cross of Sins. Is this because you don’t like them personally or you don’t think the guys will? Maybe they don’t have the time after all the running around? *g*
Actually, I love toys! But you’re right, it’s hard to justifiably work them into the plot. I have a rule that all my sex scenes have to be there for a reason, to either advance the plot or define character. Having said that, Shane gets whipped and stripped down to a leather studded codpiece in The Curse of the Dragon. Nice!
Which of your protags do you think looks best naked? One of the bloggers wanted to have a picture of your fave. *g*
Mmmm, let me think! Well, that depends what you like in a man. Jake’s very masculine and muscular, with some sparse chest and belly hair and a large cut cock. Luca’s a good size, not too built but not too lean, and has that Mediterranean skin, a little hair on his chest, and a thick uncut cock. Shane’s got that muscular cowboy body with strapping rider’s legs, light scattered blond hair on his chest and a cut cowboy cock. Eden is brown and beautiful, his body hairless, masculine and lean, with a lovely long cut cock and the perfect hands of a surgeon. While Will is young and smooth, strong yet supple, the Abercrombie & Fitch all-American blond type, a little scruffy, a lot sexy, with a gorgeous young cut cock. So to answer your question – they ALL look best naked!
What’s the raunchiest thing that you have ever done?
Believe it or not, the raunchiest thing I’ve ever done is write this book series! I get so many guys emailing and facebooking me to tell me how much my books turn them on. I’ve had more than a few readers describe my books as one-handed reads! Knowing that I’ve made so many people hot and horny is a massive turn-on! It’s like having sex with a thousand guys at once!!!
Do you like to be watched? Or do you prefer to be the voyeur.
Both! I’m very visual so I definitely like to watch. I observe every little detail. But I’m also a sucker for attention so I love being watched and be the focus of someone’s attention! I like having my cake and eating it too!
Before I let you go, what is one fun thing that you can tell us which you have never revealed before?
In all my interviews as a writer I’ve never revealed that when I get writer’s block I trade words for pictures. I like to draw and do comic-style art, it’s a good creative distraction when the words refuse to flow. Here’s a few of my pics –
The model on the cover of Riddle of the Sands is quite hot and I would like to steal him for my Friday Guys post. Where can I get his picture? What made you choose him for the cover art of this book, other than the fact that he’s smokin’.*g*
Yes he’s VERY hot! My publisher found him and I wasn’t going to protest to having HIM on my cover! His name is Lance Lamar.
The best sites to track down some gorgeous images of Lance are
http://www.davidvanceprints.com and a great site called http://megamuscle.wordpress.com
Thank you Geoff. It was a pleasure to have you on the site and I look forward to reading The Curse of the Dragon when it’s released. By then I will have recovered from Riddle of the Sands.
Thank you Wave! I’m going to enjoy the rest of my bath now 🙂
And that’s a wrap folks!! I hope that Geoff will be back sometime soon as a guest blogger:-D
A copy of Riddle of the Sands will be given away on Thursday to a lucky reader who either comments on Geoff’s interview, or on the post for the free book.
GEOFFREY KNIGHT’S CONTACT INFORMATION