Saturday, April 11, 2015

FALL OF KNIGHT by Author Steven Cross

Title: Fall of Knight

Author: Steven Cross
Genre: YA psychological thriller
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release Date: April 7th, 2015

A normal teenager Dean Knight is not.

With a mental illness that threatens to take over his sanity; a sister who’s deep in her own problems; and a wasted mother who couldn’t care less about it all, Dean is left to battle real life on his own. School, bullies and medications are his realities.

Then there are also the ghosts, the hallucinations and of course – the monster.

In the middle of it all, when everything seems to lose purpose, hope comes shining down on Dean’s miserable life. Her name is Ella and for one reason or another, she actually wants to be close to Dean. With Ella’s help, the lost teenage boy decides that he could finally win a battle or two – both in real life and in his writing.

But hope is a tricky thing. And the monster seems to know that.

When secrets buried down for almost a decade come out in the open, what do you do?

Author bio: Steve Cross has been an educator for over 30 years now. He and his wife Jean have lived in Southeast Missouri their entire lives.  They have a daughter, Megan, who is married to Sean Lebron, two cats, and two dogs. Cross has published fiction, nonfiction, and plays. He also likes to dabble in screenwriting.    
Steve Cross’s first successful writing project was a play about a werewolf that his eighth grade English class performed. Though the play was never published, the warm fuzzy feeling from its public performance has never quite left Cross, who continues to sink his teeth into a variety of writing projects. His first publication was a haiku, followed by two middle grade novels published by POD publishers and a young adult novel published by Buck’s County Publishing.
A fanatical St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan; a lover of all kinds of YA fiction, as well as the writings of Dean Koontz and Stephen King; a fan of all kinds of music – from Abba to the Zac Brown band, Cross dreams of the day he will write a best-selling novel or sell a screenplay for seven figures, so he can retire and write more best-selling fiction.  Until that day, he and his wife Jean, Missourians born and bred, will continue to toil in the field of education and live in peace with their two dogs and two cats and wait around until their daughter Megan and son-in-law Sean give them grandchildren to spoil.

Current book or project you’re working on: 
Home for the Knight. (plus several screenplays)
What moment or event sparked the inspiration for your novel?
I have always wanted to do a book exploring the issues of bullying and mental illness since I have been victimized by both, but I have always been a little too close to the issue.  I also wanted to tell a good story that didn’t just preach on an issue. Fall of Knight satisfies those needs.

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
1) Dee and Dean Knight are fraternal twins.
2) Dean Knight suffers from Schizoaffective disorder.
3) Both Dean and his girlfriend Ella have lost their father.

What is the most complex issue you dealt with, as a writer, in your current novel?
Mental illness, suicide, and bullying.

Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Dean Knight in some ways is me.

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Elllen Hopkins or John Green


What genre and age group does your book fall into?
Most definitely older young adults 14-18.

What is the first book you remember reading, that affected or how you thought or felt about something?
I have always read. When I was younger my favorites were The Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. I don’t think I read a book that really affected me until I went to high school and that would have been Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlen.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) John Green
2) Libba Bray
3) J.K. Rowling
These writers inspire me because they have raised YA books to such a high level.  I think YA authors do more experimenting and take more chances than well-known writers.

Do you have any special or previous training that helps your write your books?  I am an English major, and I have some experience in journalism.  I’ve also taken some creative writing classes.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book? I am an English teacher which makes my time a little more limited than I’d like, but I do often read while writing.  I think reading inspires my own writing.  It does me good to see how others do it.

The process:

How many books have you written?
Written or published? Lol. Written about a dozen. I have published – depending on how you define publishing – six.

Which book is your favorite and why?
My favorite is definitely Fall of Knight because I think it speaks to people, and I think it comes straight from my heart and some of the darker places of my mind.

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
Music and reading primarily.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Distancing myself from the story enough to write it well.
2) Focusing the plot a little more than it was originally. At first it was a mess, and I basically started from scratch.
3) Making sure that the mental illness material was realistic.

What is one of your favorite sources for research and why?
One of the best places to start is

What keeps you going? Writing is an addiction. I can’t stop. When a world or a character starts coming to life, there is no way to stop it.

Was there a time when you felt possessed by a character when you were writing? If so from which book and which character?
Dean and Dee Knight possessed me utterly and completely.

Do you take part in creating your book cover and if so what do you find the most difficult part of the process?  I made a suggestion. I gave the designer a general idea of a face or a skull surrounded by fog and he did the rest. Thanks Greg Simsian.

What part of being an author becomes the most critical for you? I think having an audience who are touched by what you write in some way is what every author wants. The feedback I have gotten from Fall of Knight has been incredible. I feel very blessed.

How long does it usually take for you to complete a book? One to two years.

Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? 
Actors, directors, music.
It’s funny you should ask. I have ideas. I mentioned that I dabble in screenwriting.  I have actually written a screenplay that is based on Fall of Knight.  I have even picked out a cast to play the major parts. I am such a fan of John Green and The Fault Is in our Stars that I would want Josh Boone to direct. Dee and Dean Knight would be played by Saoirse Ronan and Logan Lerman respectively. Roger and Ella would be played by Taylor Lautner and AnnaSophia Robb. Louie by Noah Ringer. Mrs. Knight would be played by Catherine Zeta Jones. The music would have to include some heavy stuff as well as some Indie.

Which book to movie conversion is your favorite? I think the Harry Potter series is definitely my favorite.

Is there anything you hope the reader will walk away with or “get” from your story?
I hope people will walk away with a kinder and more compassionate opinion of the mentally ill and that they will stand up to bullies and try to make the unwanted feel wanted.

Do you study science, criminology, medical, psychology, or anything special to help you with your writing?
I did do some research in psychology for the novel. I researched mental illnesses and the medications that are often prescribed for them.

What, who, and when, first inspired you to write?
The first thing I ever wrote that anyone ever paid attention to was a play in the 8th grade. My other motives were far from pure.  When I was in college and was a “broke” college student, I thought I could very easily win the short story contest that the campus literary magazine was having. I did not win, of course.  One of the problems with being bipolar is that we tend to have delusions. I also wanted to prove myself to one of my college instructors who did not think I had any talent.

Personal favorite info:
Drink – Diet Pepsi, Arnold Palmer tea
Food – Cheeseburgers and chili
Vacation – Michigan around the Great Lakes
TV show – Grimm
Movie – Dead Poets’s Society or Field of Dreams
Animal Dog or cat
Sport – Baseball
Book – Too many to pick out!
Comedy – Big Bang Theory
Struggle – To break through as a writer
Addiction – Dark chocolate

How can people connect with you?

Brief synopsis of your book: Dean Knight, his twin sister, and his mother move to a small cottage by a river in an attempt to get their lives back together.  Dean’s mental illness and the incessant bullying he undergoes make it impossible for them to have their happy ending.  On his way to being drowned in the watery clutches of the beast, Dean loses his sister, his girlfriend, and the only friend he ever had.

Where can readers find your book?

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