Name: Jennifer Michael
Social Media Handle/Username: @KnightlyRk
Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: I am a 43 year old NJ-born California transplant that moved to the Bay Area in 2007. I work as a civil servant for the city of San Francisco and write romance as an indie author in most of my spare time.
In college, I studied voice/opera at Peabody Conservatory and Johns Hopkins University under renowned 20th century singer, Phyllis Bryn-Julson.
On Amazon and Lulu, I have eleven books in paperback and/or e-book format.
Writing under the pen name, R.K. Knightly, you can find books of both erotic romance and supernatural erotic romance.
What Inspires You Every day? : People around me have always inspired me. Whether I’m by myself and think up a new idea in the shower or from a loaded-down pickup truck I see on the Bay Bridge, I am always left with the thought, who are these people and what is their story. Even the most mundane events and people can captivate an audience, so long the writer is able to tell the story well.
What is some words of wisdom you live by?: It’s cliche, but I always turn to an old tried-and-true favorite: Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. A modicum of trust and respect is due unless one does something to lose either of those.
I also have a personal saying of my own making that I thought up and used in a book written a few years ago: ‘I live to create, and create to live.’ In essence, I don’t just write because I find it’s something I’m decent at. I do it because it’s like breathing. The ideas flow easily and I have never have come across a bout of writer’s block since my mind is always working. ‘Create to live’ is something similar, and I find that writing is the outlet that keeps me moving forward in my life, whether it’s just getting better at it or finding my own niche in the romance/supernatural world.
What is your ultimate goal in life? : My ultimate goal would be to be able to live comfortably off my writing. I am not there yet, which is why I still work at my day job for the city. I enjoy both avenues of employment, but writing is my true passion, something I’ve done since I was in the second grade and wrote my first mystery novel (with horribly drawn illustrations).
How have you been during the pandemic, and how has it affected you? : I am a house hermit, I like to say, and the pandemic has not effected me much mentally, though it is harder to gain a readership now that many are struggling. Many of my readers on Patreon state that reading my books helps them escape from the turmoil that the pandemic has thrust upon them, but many have had to stop subscribing due to financial situations. I am understanding of that–and of course, sympathetic. I still continue to write, even if my fan base is somewhat smaller now. It feeds me as well as the people who enjoy reading my works, and that motivates me more than anything.
What is a message you would like to give others? : Always to continue dreaming. I wish I’d started writing 20 years ago instead of just 3 when I turned 40. Both of my dream jobs (opera singer and writer) are hard to make a living with, but the arts has always where I’ve been most at home. In just over a few years, I made a pipedream of publishing my books into a reality. In the past 14 months, I have edited and published 11 books and continue to keep doing that, all by myself.
What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: I initially started to write after reading a book called Chaos. I was inspired and had never read a romance novel before. I was always a big fan of Gore Vidal, Dean Koontz, Agatha Christie and many of the English Lit greats such as the Brontes and Dickens.
I started to suffer from panic disorder and anxiety starting in 2010 and continued to go on medicated until I started to take up writing. Once I started that, I found that the medication was redundant. Very rarely do I suffer a panic attack or depression now, though why it was writing that ‘cured it’ I have not even the foggiest clue.
During my career as a singer, I sang with the Baltimore Lyric Opera (now defunct) and was directed by such illustrious directors such as Werner Herzog. I was also accepted into the Washington Opera under the direction of Placido Domingo, though I had to turn down that opportunity because of other personal conflicts.
Oddly enough, I like all types of music, from heavy metal to jazz and opera. I find that limiting yourself in any facet of your life restricts the possibility of expanding your mind. There are virtues in all forms of art, and to box yourself into one category (or even a few) can be just as stifling as suffering a debilitating panic attack.
The mind has no end. Imagination may be the key to opening your world farther than you ever imagined you could go. In times such as this current pandemic, it is all some of us can have. Embrace it!