Frank’s journey to becoming an author is different than most author’s today. When he decided to start writing, the kindle wasn’t even around yet. He also didn’t publish traditionally, so he overcame hurdles that we may not face today.
His book – Veil of Eden – is a sci-fi, fantasy with political leanings. It was published over 10 years ago, yet he is now thinking of writing a sequel to it.
Welcome again, to another episode about the discovered wordsmith. Today, we’re going to meet Frank Knight, who started writing before the whole Kindle explosion. So his take on the industry is a bit different than those of us that have started today. He wrote a fantasy of valence, which also is a two book. The first book is in two parts, and he’s thinking of plans are finishing up with a sequel. So please sit back and enjoy the talk with Frank Knight. And please, if you enjoy these podcasts, give me a like, give me a review. It would really help a lot. So here’s frank, I can hear you fine. Okay, good. All right. So, welcome, Frank. How are you having a good day? I hope it’s great in the middle of this COVID-19 summer. Yes, yes. Quite interesting. Um, so welcome you to the podcast, I thank you for taking some time. And I’m really interested to talk to you because you have a different journey and a different story than most people do nowadays, because of when you did it, and how. So let’s just start before that, start a little bit about who you are a bit about you your background, what you’d like to do those types of things. Um, well, I, I grew up in Northeast Ohio on a farm and went full disclosure, we know each other for our whole lives. This is true, yes. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 2:21
And although I, I later didn’t live on the farm, when I was a boy, I grew up on the farm and still work there when I got older. And on a farm, you have to learn how to do a lot of things. And be willing to do just about anything. Whether it was tending the fields, tending the cattle, growing hay, making hay, fixing equipment, large and small operating equipment, doing legal contracts, anything we had to do, and from there, I ended up working as an operations management and automation design for quite some time, internationally and at home. And I got to see a broad picture of how things operate in Western Europe and North America, in Canada, as well as corresponding with other places in the world, you know, in these roles. It’s kind of interesting when you’re, you’re tasked with definitely getting something done. As opposed to clocking in and clocking out when you’re responsible for everything. And so it gives you an interesting perspective on how to get on how things work and how they affect people, especially when you supervise other people. And so, now I’m a school teacher. And so I’ve had a pretty much like most of us who grew up in Northeast Ohio, I’ve I’ve had to do a wide variety of jobs, just to keep up with the tumultuous economy. But at the same time, you know, it kind of gave me a wide background for a lot of the things that I write about.
So why did you want to start writing? what sparked that even with the background, the interest the thing you’ve done? What What made you say, Hey, I think I’m willing to restart writing and write this stuff down.
Unknown Speaker 4:24
You know, it actually had nothing to do with broad sales or anything like that are looking for a best seller. It’s I’m generally interested in talking with people of different backgrounds and learning from them. But at the same time, sometimes you feel like a lot of deeper subjects are difficult to to get to with with with people. People are reluctant or maybe they don’t have a lot of interest in some of the deeper questions that I’m surrounded humanity. And this book, I believe, deals with a lot of those deeper issues behind not only who we are, where we’ve been, but also where we’re going.
Okay, well, that’s intriguing. So tell us a little bit about the book. Now, first of all, tell us when you did this, and what you had to go through. And then tell us about the book because I know you didn’t do this recently, with the whole Kindle Revolution and the whole ebook revolution, you did this right before that. So tell us a bit about the book and what you went through to write it and get it out there and things like that.
Unknown Speaker 5:44
So I, I had some writing talent, according to my professors in college, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a good novel. Right. So I, I did some research. And I think the best source of research that I had was a book called on writing by Stephen King.
I think that’s a good source for just about all of us.
Unknown Speaker 6:09
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And what’s interesting was, after reading that book, I emailed Stephen King, and piers Anthony, the author of the XAMPP series. And they both wrote me back, they’re very nice people. Ask them for some advice. And they had some great advice. Sometimes they just directed me to websites, because they get these questions a lot from people like me, who write books who are very famous and but the the interesting thing that Stephen King said in his on writing, I think, was one sit down and write every day. And he recommended a pace of at least 3000 words per day, I was hitting nine to 13,000 words a day, when I was writing this, wow. I had no problem whatsoever writing, I had no problem getting the words out the word volume out. None whatsoever. The interesting thing that he taught me as well was what Stephen King taught me as well was use simple sentences. And when you close a quote, just he said, period, nothing fancy, like, you know, he said, sarcastically, you know, try to try to try to keep the, the adjectives to a minimum in the stuff that’s outside of dialogue, because it throws the reader out of the dialogue.
Unknown Speaker 7:42
Also, piers Anthony taught me pay close attention to your editors. I pass this book around to a large group of people that you and I both know. And I was very thankful for everyone’s input. One thing that a lot of editors, professional editors will note is that new authors like to argue, rather than Listen, I can definitely see that because you get a lot of contradictory feedback from all of your editors. But it’s all extremely, extremely valuable. And it’s wonderful when people are willing to work through a manuscript or rough text with you. It’s absolutely wonderful. It’s, it’s really an act of love that when editors read a book for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s me, or if it’s my favorite author guy, Gavriel Kay. You know, he’ll he’ll tell you the same thing that anybody that is willing to edit your unpublished manuscript is doing so out of out of interest and kindness and friendship. Right. So in what they have to say is, gives a great point of view. But also you start to realize that you’ve may have affected some reader in a way that you didn’t realize. And that’s, that’s important to pay attention to, I think.
Okay, so when you did this book, it was What about 2008? You were working on this? If I remember,
Unknown Speaker 9:23
I think 2007 might be the Let me see. Yeah, I think it might have been, it’s in that general area
in that ballpark. It was before the Kindle came out before the ebook revolution and all of that. So you didn’t have the podcast, you didn’t have the training courses and didn’t even have as many of the books. So what did you what was the day like for you? What was writing like for you and what did you do to get that book out there and published
Unknown Speaker 10:00
I’m so aside from just writing every single day. And, or writing as often as I could. I located a graphic designer. Fortunately, I have one sitting in my office with me who’s my wife?
Yeah, very convenient,
Unknown Speaker 10:21
very convenient. So she, she typeset, the book for me, she has experienced with us with other books as well. And also, I went out and I searched for an illustrator who was willing to work with me. And I paid the illustrator to create just some concept doodles, which I placed throughout the book, which is great because they’re black and white. And they help reinforce concepts in the book about different concepts and characters and futuristic devices and technology. As well as some of the more fantastical elements of the the chair beam and the sarofim, and things like that. But also the cover I gave him, I gave him some excerpts from the novel, and said, I would like this scene depicted on the cover, there was a funeral in the book, and I wanted the funeral scene depicted. The more details I gave the illustrator. The better the results, I found that I got. The other thing I did was, I went out and I hired a professional editor, somebody who’s been an editor on a lot of famous books. And I paid that editor, I think $750 to edit my book and give me feedback. And I actually had a couple of famous editors edit my book, one charge me, a couple others did not. And I found that the free advice that I got from not only editors, but people that I knew that were willing to edit the book was way, way, way better than than any of the professional editors that I paid
Unknown Speaker 12:19
I highly do not recommend a professional editor. Not not just for the money, but the feedback was lackluster to say the least. I mean, it really was sparse, not useful. And if you tried to ask follow up questions, they seem to be annoyed about that. Yeah.
Okay, so we’ve talked a little bit about, tell us the name of the book and what the book is actually about.
Unknown Speaker 12:51
So the book is called the veil of Eden. And it, it actually is in two parts the first. The first part was the veil of Eden between the gates of paradise. And the second part is the warp of minds. And the book is really about, you know, it, it starts with a perspective of, you know, humanity’s here on this planet. And possibly, there’s people, or probably there’s, there’s beans on other planets as well. But what does that really mean? A lot of our context and our paradigm, and our thought, comes from our parents, our communities and our history books. But that isn’t necessarily the truth. We get a lot of Abrahamic religions that have the concept of a garden of Eden. But we really don’t know if that’s the truth. And this book talks about not only the mind, but how it’s affected by our history and things like that. And it brings to life, a lot of these characters and archetypes from different religions. It not just the Abrahamic religions, but Eastern religions as well. And it brings to life these characters. And it, I think it forces the reader to actually look at different parts of their own beliefs, if they ascribe to these beliefs, different different belief systems, and what did they really mean? I think a lot of people the if I think a lot of people I’ve met in my life, that who are religious, they haven’t actually read their own religious texts. They haven’t read the Bible or the CRAN, or the Torah or the Talmud. I have I’ve read all of these several times in different translations, and it just is amazing. A lot. of the violence that I read in there. And a lot of the things that I think if people just sat down and read it like a novel it, it might change their own perceptions of their belief system. And so this book brings out a lot of those.
Wow, that’s a very heavy goal to try and accomplish within a fiction book. Agreed? And a delicate, delicate one. So, yes, yeah. And I can see the controversy from people wanting to read it. Um, so, when you were writing it before the Kindle revolution, what did you do afterwards? How did you did you look for a traditional publisher? Did you do this yourself? How did you get the book out there, get it known.
Unknown Speaker 15:47
What’s interesting was right, then I sbn numbers are switching from 10 to 13, or had just switched in the years before Previous to that. And because we had a graphic design business, that time my wife and I, we actually created the product complete in a PDF format. Then we also I went, but barcodes, anybody can do this, you have to register a publishing company. So I have an IRA in publishing. And I bought, I think 10 barcodes, because that was about how many books I, you know, felt like writing, whether or not they become famous or not. And the what happened was was, I sent this to my favorite authors, publisher, which was one of the professional editors who edited my book for free who did a great job by the way. And, but they’re very specific about things that they publish, turns out a lot of people are. And one day after I published this book on my own, as a micro publisher, Ingram, Baker and Taylor called me up and wanted to send this out to bookstores. Which was wonderful, that was great. The problem was, was life events kept me from being able to follow through with them. And so now that life events are no longer keeping me from from doing that, as I go back and finish the third part of this book, as well as a nonfiction novel that is that I have complete just need to put a barcode and make a cover for it. I will go back to Ingram Baker and Taylor and see if they’re still interested in the series.
Okay, so you’re still out there with it, still pushing it and trying to get the book known?
Unknown Speaker 17:58
Yes, I would say that I’m just starting to do that again, just because like I said, life events really affected me from the time that I published this book till just just about a year or two ago.
So with all the changes that have gone on in self publishing over the last decade, what are you going to do different or what do you wish you had done different back then that you might change now
Unknown Speaker 18:22
I wish I had the time to finish with Ingram Baker and Taylor back then that would have really put the book to the acid test to see if published, you know, if broad publishing would would actually give it some sort of appeal. I did actually put this up on Kindle and Google Books back then as time rolled on. So but again, as you said, I actually wrote this before the Kindle revolution. And so I was one of the first Kindle books I sold I don’t remember you know, it was in the in the range of dozens or maybe 100 books on Kindle or something like that. So it wasn’t wasn’t a lot and again, I wasn’t out there pushing the book, I think a podcast or different ways to increase your search engine optimization rankings would be the best way to push anything. Even back then if if you get on different book editing websites, Goodreads and stuff like that.com good reads calm you also get like minded authors and editors who will are willing to edit your books and you edit theirs. But the more websites the broader the base you get, I think the the better that your search engine rankings are and especially doing video and podcast, I think would definitely increase the the rankings. One last thing that I I would probably do is, when you write a book like this, especially with contentious content, you have to be very careful about not being on a soapbox. And so I now that I’m 10 years older, I would like to go back and look at that, just to make sure that there’s everything, you know, that I put in there as presented in the most mature way possible. You know, as you get older, you can look at things in more mature fashion. Right? You hope Yeah. So.
So it sounds like you’re thinking about getting back into it, maybe writing some more books in this series, or another series, what are your plans for this book and for the future with your publishing. Um,
Unknown Speaker 20:47
so this book, there’s three books in the series. And I actually had written quite a bit of the the third and final book, before I stopped writing in this series. I decided to write a nonfiction novel about my mother, who’s schizophrenic, and had to spend time in mental institutions when I was growing up. And that book, I think, is going to have a more profound impact on some of the things that are occurring right now in the world. And that book is actually done. I just have a last round of editing and the cover to do on that completely different genre, it’s nonfiction. I think, once I finished that, I’ll go back and finish the third book in this series, and then bring it out. I know, personally, myself when I go to read, you know, like a trilogy, and I’m waiting years between books. It drives me insane. And I have to keep going back and rereading the first couple books, you have to keep in train with the third one. So I think it may help that there’s one when I do finish this and go back to more serious marketing of it. I think that the fact that it’s a trilogy will help
you and hope. So you did some nonfiction, what do you find the good or bad and differences between writing fiction and nonfiction?
Unknown Speaker 22:15
So the editors have a completely different attack when they are reading your work. What’s interesting is I think a lot of people take the title nonfiction, way too seriously, in that my nonfiction novel is completely nonfiction. Except, of course, there is no way I can possibly recall dialogue from when I was four years old word for word. So as I’m writing this, people want a dialogue, and a story behind the book, even a nonfiction novel. And so the nonfiction novel has a dialogue in let you know, not characters, but actual people. And, and so as I’m passing this around to people who are present as this, as you know, my, my mother’s mental breakdowns occurred. She’s one of the few people, especially back then who was there’s only like two dozen cases, nights diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. My mother was one of them. And so as I go through this, everybody seems to agree that the facts of the book are correct. But I have to remind my editors that, of course, I have no idea what the actual words were, you know, in the quote, you know, when people were speaking, he can’t even remember from this morning, what word for word, but somebody said to you, you know,
right. That’s why we record
Unknown Speaker 23:48
There you go. Yeah. So. But the nonfiction for me is the heart The hardest part with nonfiction was you trying to weave a narrative with a plot, in reality of something that happened? That’s, that’s difficult, because, as everybody knows, life doesn’t always have a plot. There’s not always a moral to the story. The hero doesn’t always win, you know. But yet, at the same time, I feel compelled to weave a solid story that’s got a beginning and an ending to it in a nonfiction novel. And I think I did that quite well. If I do say so myself, because it was really difficult to, to come up with that, as opposed to a novel as opposed to a fiction novel, science fiction and fantasy. I have complete control over the plot. If something doesn’t work out, I can make it go in a new direction. You know, I’m creating reality. I’m creating the reality of the fiction novel, whereas in the nonfiction novel, The reality was created and you’re trying to portray it in the most realistic, non offensive manner possible because one of the reasons why I’m writing this novel is because the nonfiction novel about my mother, is because I want people to realize that schizophrenics are actually more likely to come to harm than to harm people. It’s the exact opposite of what what people expect. She has a very hard time getting medical treatment because of the stigma of mental illness, especially schizophrenia. And I’m trying to give people as real of a look as possible as to what actually what it’s like to live with somebody who’s full blown schizophrenic, full time. And I want to be as honest as possible, because I think if people see the honesty behind it, they’ll realize that schizophrenics are not people that you need to be scared of, but you need that we need to help.
Well, that’s, well, that’s a good goal. Definitely. Let me ask, though, do you think that some of that nonfiction are growing up in this environment, some of that affected or in the fiction book that you’ll
Unknown Speaker 26:18
absolutely, yeah. Yeah, um, as you can imagine? That’s an excellent question. So there’s a scene in the veil of Eden, where this boy Robbie, in the book, and he was, there’s a, there’s a story in there, where he’s being ridiculed for not being religious in the book. And it was actually a life event that occurred to me, not just once, when I was younger, but frequently. Growing up in a largely or predominantly, you know, Christian, Northeast Ohio, a lot of people are really, really good people, obviously. But when you’re not like other people, when you’re a little bit different, it’s the loud mouse that stand out, and you’re afraid that they’re actually speaking the subconscious of all the other people around you. Right. And, and so, this is true, if you are the victim of a racial attack, which, you know, they’ll be in Western European, I worked in an urban school district for a couple years. So I do know what that’s like. And being non religious in a predominantly religious community, even one in my opinion, is open minded as Northeast Ohio. I think Northeast Ohio is a wonderful place to live, especially for tolerance and matters of just treating people with basic common courtesy. Now that I live in Central Pennsylvania, I feel like the clocks rewound almost a century in that regard. But as you as you asked, you know, is that reality bleeding through to the novel? Absolutely. In fact, that’s probably one of the main reasons why I wrote that is because I think a lot of people the afterlife, if it exists, is a black box that people don’t really want to look into. And this book forces people to look at their paradigms, their beliefs, and some possibilities that truly exists scientifically. For what’s beyond our current existence. So
that’s definitely something deep to be ending the podcast God. So Frank, tell us again, what’s the name of the book? And where can we find it? Where can we find you online? If you’re
Unknown Speaker 29:04
the it’s the veil of Eden, between the gates of Paradise series, and you can find it on amazon.com. And I believe it’s still on Kindle. Actually. I’m going to check when we get off here. But if not, it will be soon. And what else did you ask? I’m sorry?
Where else can we find you? Do you have a website? Are you on any media
Unknown Speaker 29:28
can actually email me at author Frank firstname.lastname@example.org. And I will respond.
Great. Well, Frank, I appreciate you taking some time. I can’t wait to hear what happens with the rest of the series. Maybe we could talk again in six months or a year and see how fantastic Thanks, Steve. Great, thank you. I’ll talk to you later, sir. Okay. Bye.