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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interview Series: The Blackberry Patch Author Gina McKnight

Today Famous Writer welcomes freelancer and children’s author Gina McKnight.

JK: When did the writing bug bite you?

Gina McKnight: I began writing at an early age. Elementary school provided the catalyst, opportunity and inspiration for writing. I had phenomenal teachers/professors that encouraged writing. Having the support of family is of the utmost importance, but teachers provide the tools needed to become a successful writer. Elementary school through college, I always migrated towards the creative writing courses. Characters can be tricky; my children’s books are non-fiction, first person and continue in a series of four releases with the same character. 

JK: Is your latest book a part of that series? What is it about?

GM: My current book release, The Blackberry Patch, is about overcoming the elements to search for fresh blackberries! It has been a great success and taken me to a lot of different places, with the opportunity to meet fabulous people from all walks of life. The story is intended for children ages 4-8; however, the book has done very well for mature readers. It is nostalgic and brings back childhood memories of blackberry picking.

JK: What kind of feedback have you had, meeting all these new people?

GM: The best feedback comes from elementary children, when I visit their school and read my stories to them. The feedback is instantaneous and very rewarding. When I released The Blackberry Patch, the feedback was extremely positive.

JK: How much real life finds its way into your fiction?

GM: To date, my books and articles have been non-fiction. I have a novel up my sleeve –positive that real life scenarios will be a prominent part of my fiction writing. Real life experience is easy to write about and some of my experiences will definitely provide quality fictional plots and characters!

JK: So true. Do you find your writing influenced by fiction at all?

GM: My favorite children’s book is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell; favorite novel is Dracula by Bram Stoker. Books do influence my writing; however, I find that growing up and living on a farm is great inspiration for writing, as well as life events, siblings, neighbors and friends. 

JK: Did they inspire what you’re working on now?

GM: Specific inspiration for my most recent project, which is a new children’s book to be released in late Fall of 2011, comes from my experience with horses and trail riding. Trail Ride to Snake Hollow is about an actual place where I live. It takes readers through Wayne National Forest, USA, on an American Quarter Horse to see the splendor of nature and our environment. The idea of the story is to guide those who have not had the opportunity to trail ride to experience the event first hand. The book invokes all your senses, leaving you with the feeling that you smell like a horse, have listened to the forest, feel the canopy of nature and that you have touched new elements.

JK: That sounds like something we could all really enjoy in this day and age. Tell us a little bit more about your inspiring real life.

GM: I grew up on a farm in Southern Ohio, USA. I still live on the farm with my family.  I am a fulltime author, writer, speaker and poet. I sponsor creative writing contests for my local School District, local County and I had the grand opportunity to recently co-sponsor/judge the Marwar Cup Creative Writing Contest held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Rookee, India. Besides writing, I like to horseback ride, needlepoint (a State and County Fair winner!), crochet and read. I have a son that I love spending time with; he is my joy and priority.

JK: You must have a lot of discipline in order to get any writing done.

GM: I devote a minimum of four hours for writing daily when I am not traveling, the rest of the day I use to collect research and organize information. I have an office in our barn, near the stables, which adds great inspiration (and a late afternoon nap in the hay), as well as an office in my home. The best part of being a writer is that you can write anywhere and new technology makes it even easier to send manuscripts with deadlines from remote locations. The best method I have for collecting thoughts is keeping a handheld recorder with me at all times. Sometimes ideas come at the most inconvenient moments…those are usually the best ideas!

JK: I couldn’t have said it better myself! Do you find that you use language differently when you write for children as opposed to your non-fiction?

GM: Language is important for differentiating characters, of course, and it plays an integral role in story development and conclusion. Writing children’s books, one is limited to language barriers due to the genre; however, writing freelance allows the opportunity to explore new writing styles, themes, characters and ideas. My favorite word is “serendipity.” It means that I can think outside-of-the-box and be creative without much prejudice from my audience, while fulfilling my own need to express myself!

JK: I worshipped the word “serendipity” when I was growing up. That just proves to me that you’re a wonderful children’s author. Thank you so much for stopping by.

GM: Thanks! I sincerely appreciate being part of your blog. 

Gina says, “I don’t blog, would rather spend that time actually writing.” More power to her! You can still find links to Gina’s freelance articles, reviews and all the latest on her work at her website:

Gina also frequently writes articles for the Going Gaited website.