Intimate Conversation with Kaitlyn McKnight
Mississippi Teen Author Kaitlyn McKnight is a writer of fictional, fantasy, and science fiction stories. She wrote Zodiac Saga at age twelve. It all started as a class assignment that grew into a book. She is an idiosyncratic writer with a vivid imagination to create stories that are unique with magic, mystery, and even some malevolence. Giving life to anomalous characters is a special trait in Zodiac Saga. In her free time, she plays the piano, guitar, and violin. Sunshine and green grass draws her outside for long hours and she still enjoys playing in the rain. Kaitlyn is a homeschool graduate and a freshman at The University of Southern Mississippi.
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
Zodiac Saga 1 is my first book written at 12-years-old. There are two sequels to follow. It is only available in print.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The main character, Cyrus O’Hara, is a 12-year-old little boy who believes in magic and Zodiac gods. Because of this belief, he is called the zodiac kid and bullied daily at school. Other characters include: his brother Peter the great, the fearless Sofia, Witch Greta and her crystal ball, the frightening metal beast Azznic, Snake-y Von Tomb the keeper of evil doers, Gertrude and Garner workers for the Afterlife, the alluring daughter of Virgo, Mercy and her magical cat, and the bully himself, the ghoulish Judas. And of course, the Zodian gods who are also known as the Elders of Zodia, and the Sacred Twelve. They are the keepers of the universe.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
Well, I didn’t set out to write a book originally. I was given a class assignment to write a short two-page creative story. I liked the idea of Zodiac signs. The ideas just kept coming, and I continued to write them down into the story. And voila, it turned into my first book.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Just being able to write anything from my imagination was great. I didn’t have to do real research. I just used my imagination. I was limitless in what the Zodiac gods could do and be like. When it’s from my imagination, anything is possible.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
I am not really driven by a specific plot. I like magic and mystery. So, it’s just whatever pops into my mind.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
I guess I could say maybe Cyrus, because there is a serious bullying problem in many schools. And the book redefines how we decide who our friends are and who our family really is.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
Well, I like to travel and I believe in a higher power. So I have that in common with the book.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Oh, yes, the most important lesson was edit, edit, edit, edit, and edit some more. I also learned that the original material may not always be in the end result.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I didn’t do research per se for Zodiac Saga. As for people, I guess Cyrus is based from myself rather than someone I knew or met. We were both twelve and like magic.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My original goal was just to complete my class assignment. Needless to say, I went above and beyond the required two pages. So I was pretty happy.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am getting Zodiac Saga 2 ready for print. I have gotten a lot of questions for what happens next at the end of Zodiac Saga 1. So I am working hard in my spare time, but my focus is mostly on my classes at USM.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Just go to my websites, and you can find new stuff and contact me directly from the websites. www.kaitlynmcknight.com and www.zodiacsaga.com