IT'S GUEST AUTHOR SATURDAY!! Please welcome My Weekly Pocket Novelist, Dawn Knox...

Hi Dawn! It's a pleasure to welcome you to my blog today - I am very much looking forward to finding out more about you and your work. Let's get things started with my questions...

1)     What is the best and worst thing you have learned from an editor/agent?

The first book I had published was with a small Canadian publisher. Their authors were given lots of information about marketing their own books and encouraged to do so. Being rather shy, I must admit, the thought of repeatedly plugging my book on social media was rather daunting, so, I was very relieved when the editor told me that it definitely wasn’t a good idea to keep advertising books. Instead, she told me that it was better to post regularly with interesting, humorous or informative items and to occasionally throw in the odd advert for a book.
I probably get the balance all wrong now, preferring to post something that might interest or amuse people rather than push a book. But I guess some people are good at promotion and others aren’t! I’m one of the latter.

I don’t think I’ve ever had any bad advice from an agent or an editor!

2)     What is your typical day?

Since the first lockdown, I’ve started to wake up just after 5am. I don’t think there was any connection between the pandemic and my early rising – it was just a coincidence – but I’ve carried on waking up early ever since. I get up and either go for a walk outside or if it’s still dark, I walk around downstairs. It’s my thinking time if I’m planning a story or my ‘writing’ time if I’m working on something. I ‘write’ by speaking into my phone using the speech-to-text tool in the Notes app and can often ‘write’ a few thousand words before my son or husband come downstairs.

Later, when I’m at my desktop, I get those words into shape with the correct punctuation and so on. I know you can use the speech-to-text tool to insert punctuation, but I find that for some reason, final speech marks appear backwards, so I usually add the speech marks and other punctuation later.
Sometimes the speech-to-text tool misinterprets my words and either I have to struggle to remember exactly what I said or I have a laugh at what it’s written. For example, I once said, “He rested his forehead on hers…” and it translated as, “He rested his forehead on her ass…”

I fit the household chores in throughout the day, and in between, I nip back to my computer and carry on with whatever I’m working on. In the evening, I write again, rather than watching television.

So, other than my ‘Me’ time early in the morning, I don’t have a dedicated time to write but find that I’m coming and going to my computer as often as chores allow.

3)     What do you read while in the midst of a project? Or don’t you?

If I’m writing a historical story, I usually read non-fiction books about that era or novels set during those years to immerse myself in that world.
While I was writing The Lady Amelia Saga which is set in the late 18th Century in what was then the newly established penal colony in Sydney, NSW, I listened to several excellent audiobooks. One of those was The Commonwealth of Thieves by Thomas Keneally, which is a comprehensive account of the First and Second Fleets that sailed out to New South Wales laden with convicts.
I’m currently working on a story that starts in 1944 and so I’m listening to World War II novels. Since one of my characters is German, I’m also listening to The Germans and Europe (A Personal Frontline History) by Peter Millar. It focuses on nine German cities throughout the ages – not just World War II – but it gives an insight into Germany and its people.

4)      What do you do with a paperback once you’ve read it?

It really depends on which paperback it is. If it’s written by a friend, I keep it but if not, I usually take it to a charity shop. However, mostly, I don’t buy paperbacks. I prefer to read eBooks or listen to audiobooks so that I can ‘read’ while I’m doing something dull like ironing. I set my iPad to narrate eBooks to me. The narration is rather tinny and the pronunciation is often rather quaint, such as the word ‘reading’ in a phrase such as ‘reading a book’ is pronounced as ‘Reading’ i.e. the town in Berkshire. And in my current book about the Special Operations Executive, known by the acronym, SOE, it pronounces ‘SOE’ as ‘So’. But even with the strange pronunciation, I like the idea that I can ‘read’ a book while doing something else.

5)      Are you nervous about friends reading your book?

Yes, definitely. I belong to a critiquing group consisting of four other ladies whom I met on an online Romantic Novelists’ Association course. Each week, we critique one of our member’s work in progress. I always feel nervous when it’s my turn to send my work off but they are always so positive with their criticism. It’s very useful to be able to correct and amend my piece, based on their comments.
However, when other friends read my published books, I’m very nervous. I never ask anyone if they’ve read any of my books in case I see that ‘rabbit in headlights’ look where someone desperately tries to think of something nice to say – and can’t! So, unless someone tells me they’ve read a particular book and enjoyed it, I don’t usually ask anyone if they’ve read anything I’ve written!

6)      What things inspire you to write? Location, music, film or even in a book?

I think above all, I find locations inspiring. When I visited the Rocks in Sydney, NSW, where the first convicts landed in 1788, I was fascinated by the history and wanted to know more. My research led me to write a story about a girl who is wrongly convicted and transported from London to Sydney which I called The Duchess of Sydney.
Although I hadn’t planned to write more books set there, I found that as the story unfolded, there were other characters whose stories I wanted to tell. I finally wrote six books in what I call The Lady Amelia Saga, where the Lady Amelia is my fictitious convict transport ship. All the stories either involve a character being transported on the Lady Amelia or being closely related to someone who was transported.
I’m also fascinated by an area known as Dunton Plotlands in Essex. I first wrote a book in which a character moves from the East End of London to Dunton Plotlands entitled Welcome to Plotlands. Since then, I’ve written eight historical novels set in the early 20th Century and all of them are loosely connected to that character.
I think what appeals to me about that area is that it originated as farmland that was sold off as plots. Typically, people from the East End of London bought the parcels of land and built simple places where they spent their weekends. During World War II, many people moved from London to Plotlands permanently to escape the bombing, and so a new community was born. Gradually, the houses became more elaborate but to begin with, people slept in tents and simple shed-like dwellings and there were unusual homes such as a railway carriage!

But it’s not just locations that inspire me. Sometimes it can be something quite small, such as the tokens that mothers deposited with their babies when they left them in the Foundling Hospital in London during the 18th Century. I visited the museum there a few months ago and decided to write a story about two characters who started their lives there.

7)     Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us

The Pearl of Aphrodite – the fifth in the Lady Amelia Saga
In 1790, three-year-old Charlotte Jackson is transported with her convict mother from London to Sydney. Twenty-one years later, Charlotte is offered the chance of a new life in London by the mysterious and brash Ruth Bellamy. Charlotte yearns to belong. A new start might be just what she needs.

On the perilous voyage, she falls for handsome Alexander Melford, also seeking betterment in London.

Fate throws them together. But the deceit of those they trust threatens to tear them apart. Will they ever escape the lies and finally be free to love? 

8)      What’s next for you?

I’ve had thirteen My Weekly Pocket Novels published, and I’ve just started another. My earlier ones were set during the beginning of the 20th Century, and several took place during World War II. I then became interested in the 18th Century but for my next submission, I’ll be going back to World War II. Near where I used to live there was a prisoner of war camp and I’m going to include that in the story.








  1. I enjoyed this very interesting feature. Thank you, Rachel and Dawn.

  2. Alan C. Williams24 January 2023 at 06:06

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing Dawn and Rachel. Didn't realise you've had 13 MW novels published, Dawn. Prolific.