Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Derrick Knight author of Truly A Miracle (Innkeepers #2)
Hi Derrick, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a middle-aged gay male and I turned 50 years old at the end of August 2016. I’m originally from Janesville, WI. Even though I’ve lived in Peoria, Illinois for the past 19 years, I still consider myself a Cheesehead or a Badger. My patronus charm, from the Pottormore site, is a Badger. Ironic right?
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. I’ve been a Registered Dietitian for almost 24 years and for the past nineteen years I’ve worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at the largest children’s hospital outside of Chicago. Over nearly two decades I helped nourish babies born less than two pounds or complex infants with heart, kidney, or gastrointestinal defects.
Give us an insight into your book and your main characters.
Truly a Miracle is the second book in my Innkeeper Series. The main characters are Dustin Hurst and Nathaniel Schmitt. Both men are in their middle thirties and have been in a relationship since meeting in college. They reside in Nathaniel’s small quaint hometown of Glasburg, Illinois.
Dustin is a biology professor at the local College. Dustin is the classic introvert with a dry sense of humor. Nathaniel owns and operates The Local Harvest Grocery Store and Aunt Millie’s Bakery. Nathaniel suffers from an extreme case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which tends to mask his kind heart.
Truly is a story about Dustin and Nathaniel’s journey towards parenthood after Nathaniel’s twin sister Natalie agreed to be their surrogate. Everything seems to be going great until Natalie delivers the twins two months premature. Dustin and Nathaniel begin on a turbulent journey they never expected to go on. Their emotions and faith in themselves, each other, and their children will be tested to extreme limits. Several times, throughout the story, Dustin and Nathaniel think they may not get the happy ending they’re hoping for.
What draws you to the M/M genre?
As I gay man I enjoy reading and creating stories about my community. Reading M/M themed books reaffirms to me that there is an audience, both gay and straight, wanting to enjoy and be entertained by LBGT characters and storylines.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
After publishing my third novel, I can honestly say I’ve learned so much about the creative process. In my book Truly, I’ve gotten much better at the concept of showing emotions and events instead of telling the situation. Also, mastering the art of not having too many POV or head swapping greatly improves the quality of your story.
For self-publishing authors it’s imperative for you to research and hire a talented editor(s). A good content editor and a proficient line editor will transform your manuscript into a well-received bestseller.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Personally, I like writing series. Its fun authoring characters who grow as they mature and learn from their life experiences. Also, a series allows for more characters to enter that world and share their tales with readers.
When readers are engaged with a series it’s i because they feel they are part of that fictional family and are invested in making sure the main characters in each book get their happily ever after ending.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I think with the results of the recent USA Presidential election and its capability to hinder and overturn LBGT laws, we as M/M writers need to publish novels, plays, and screenplays focusing on the affirmative qualities of gay people. By creating positive role models and stories in the m/m genre will help us educate the American public as a whole of the wonderful attributes LBGT individuals can contribute to this nation.
TITLE: Truly A Miracle
SERIES: The Innkeeper Series
AUTHOR: Derrick Knight
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
LENGTH: 251 Pages
RELEASE DATE: October 25, 2016
BLURB: Dustin Hurst and Nathaniel Schmitt were happy when Nathaniel’s sister Natalie agreed to be their surrogate. Both men were elated finding out that she was pregnant with twins. Their dreams of becoming parents finally coming true, until one day, Natalie goes into preterm labor.
Diana and Niles Hurst-Schmitt enter the world over two months premature. Immediately they’re transported to a nearby children’s hospital where doctors soon discover both twins have life threatening complications requiring surgical intervention.
During their children’s hospitalization, Dustin and Nathaniel grow fond of the many talented healthcare professionals working to heal their newborns, including the attractive dietitian Matt Bachmeier. They think it’s only a matter of time before their babies are well enough to come home. Unfortunately, fate has other plans for the tiny infants resulting in Dustin and Nathaniel unexpectedly embarking on a terrifying journey witnessing their children fighting for their lives.
As their medical crisis continues to unfold, Dustin and Nathaniel pray for a miracle their family so desperately needs.
“I don’t have a baker for tomorrow morning.” Nathaniel reached inside his coat pocket for his cellphone. “I’m going to ask Mama if she could help.”
Dustin glanced at Nathaniel.
“It’s 1:30 in the morning. I’m sure Marie is asleep.”
Nathaniel shook his head, his trembling hands making it difficult for him to punch the speed dial button.
“Who else can I ask?” Nathaniel put the receiver to his ear. “My other staff is just part-time assistants, not trained professionals. They couldn’t decipher the recipes or handle the volume of pastries needed for the morning rush. Mama is the only person who could step into Natalie’s shoes without any problems.” After several rings, his mother answered. “Mama, it’s Nathaniel.” Nathaniel fidgeted. “I’m sorry for calling so late, but I have a dilemma. Natalie was admitted to the hospital earlier and gave birth to the twins. Don’t worry, she’s fine, but they were transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Oakhill. Dustin and I are heading there now.” Nathaniel felt a sharp pain in his stomach. His hands were shaking. “Mama, I’m sorry I woke you up, but I’m in such a predicament. You’re the first person I—”
“Breathe, Nathaniel. Everything is going to be fine.” Marie sounded so clear and coherent, not at all sleepy. Nathaniel wondered if his mama had been up waiting for his call. She continued. “Ray called Papa and me after he got her to the Emergency Room. I thought you might be calling me asking for my help. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the bakery. Remember, I taught Natalie Marie everything she knows. I come from a long line of accomplished bakers. When I go in tomorrow, customers and staff will think it’s just another routine morning at Aunt Millie’s Bakery, I promise.”
Nathaniel sighed, collapsing back in his seat. “Thank you, Mama. You’ve really helped me out of a horrible predicament.”
“This is what mothers do for their children.” She paused. “I’d do anything for you. Just like I would for any of your brothers and sisters. You kids are my greatest contributions to this world.” Then her tone changed to one containing a hint of humor. “I’m going to let you go. After all, I’ve got to get up in a couple hours to get to my new job. And don’t worry, Mama Schmitt is coming out of retirement.”
Nathaniel laughed, surprising himself.
“Thank you, Mama. You’re the best!”
“No problem. Tell Dustin to drive carefully. I don’t want to visit your whole family in the hospital.”
“Papa and my prayers are with all of you. I love you, son. Take care.” Then Marie ended their call.
Nathaniel turned to Dustin.
“Please hurry. Our babies need us.”
“I’m already driving ten miles over the speed limit.” Dustin placed one hand on Nathaniel’s thigh. “We want to get to the hospital in one piece.
Derrick Knight was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. Growing up, he always dreamed of becoming a writer. His grandmother got him hooked on reading mystery novels. It was in December 2011 that he purchased his first M/M romance novel. Instantly, he became hooked on the genre. After reading his first gay romance novel, he knew what type of books he wanted to write.
Derrick earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from University of Wisconsin- Stout, and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. He has worked in the healthcare field as a dietitian for over twenty-three years. For the past nineteen years, he has functioned as a neonatal nutritionist for a large Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Central Illinois. Currently, he lives in Peoria, Illinois.