We are here with Geoffrey Knight, author of the new book, The Billionaire’s Boyfriend. Hi Geoffrey! It’s so nice to get to talk to you and we are really glad you are here. Settle in, grab some tea (coffee?) and let’s ask some questions!
Thanks so much for having me, I’m very excited to be here. I’m settled in and my coffee is LARGE and beckoning.
So, first of all I’d like to know – do you have a billionaire boyfriend? Okay, fine, most people don’t. Let’s ask then, where did the idea for Boyfriend come from?
It’s fantastic that so many people have commented that The Billionaire’s Boyfriend is, more than anything, a fairytale, and they’ve hit the nail on the head. It doesn’t try to be anything but a feel-good romance filled with all the things we dream of if we were whisked away by a handsome billionaire – the limousine and the Learjet, the shopping in Rome, the opera at the Colosseum. I think more than anything, the idea came from those fantasies of being pampered on a budget that most of us can only dream of. I also wanted to lighten up the ‘Billionaire’ genre with a comedy. There are a lot of Billionaire romances on the market, but the vast majority feature a brooding tycoon who uses his money to win his love interest… or at least buy their love. I wanted to turn a lot of that on its head. I wanted to step beyond the seriousness of those stories and create something that was whimsical and light-hearted and as sweet and funny as it could be. I also needed to make sure that at the end of the day, while Calvin Croft is filthy rich, the most important thing about him is what’s inside his heart. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling the storyline. Needless to say, it’s a fairytale, so of course there’s an HEA.
Which character, Matt, Cal, Mrs. Mulroney, Mr Banks or Tilly, do you identify with the most?
Definitely Matt. He’s just an average guy. He’s not hiding anything or pretending to be someone he’s not. He messes things up and stumbles through life, and I think that’s not just the person I am… I think it’s the person most of us are. I really wanted him to be real and accessible and someone who everyone could relate to. When so many of the other characters are over-the-top, I needed Matt to be grounded and identifiable… yet still funny enough to engage the audience.
I have to admit – I adored Tilly. She is the epitome of how you should feel about yourself. Is she based on anyone you know?
Oh Tilly’s a little gem, isn’t she? To be honest I based her on the character that is emerging in my own 18-month-old daughter, Elliot. My partner Brett and I are so blessed to have Elliot in our lives, she’s funny and smart and headstrong and has definitely been on this earth before! I won’t be at all surprised if she grows up to be just like Tilly… I’ll be so proud of her if she does!
Have you ever been to the Spanish Steps?
Yes, they’re beautiful. When the flowers are in bloom it’s amazing, and heck, it’s Rome! Every corner you turn in Rome is breathtaking and beyond words. There are ruins and restaurants everywhere, what’s not to love?
Matt does a New York tour for Cal. What’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
Oh this is gonna make you wanna die! This where I’m like Matt… a stupid, unintentional romance killer! For several years my partner Brett had been collecting little bits and pieces from our travels and adventures together. I had no idea, but he was painstakingly keeping every little gallery pass and Broadway ticket and scrapbook souvenir for years with the intention of putting them all together in a beautiful big album for me. He kept them in a bag which one day I stumbled upon and, after one split-second glance inside, I thought it was a bunch of old receipts and… wait for it… you know it’s coming… don’t cringe too much… yep, I tossed it in the garbage and out it went for the garbage truck to collect, never to be seen again! Brett almost died when he asked where the bag was and I told him I threw it out! He did the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me, and I made the most unromantic screw-up in history! That needs to go in a book, doesn’t it.
Do you have an evil day job or do you get to write full time?
I do have an evil day job, but in all honesty it’s a great job because it involves writing. I work as the features editor for a newspaper, so I spend all day writing in a newsroom filled with busy reporters and journalists banging away at keyboards. It’s a great job, and one day soon it’ll end up in a book of mine. Unfortunately though it only leaves evenings and weekends for writing novels, but when writing is in your blood, you find time to do it whenever and wherever possible.
What’s the perfect weather for writing?
A rainy day! Unfortunately I live in the dry tropics of Australia and we haven’t had a proper wet season for the past five years, so we don’t get much rain at all. I can’t let that stop me from writing, but when the heavens do open up every now and then, there’s nothing better than sitting at my computer and belting out as much as I can while it pours down outside.
What author have you read the most?
The author I’ve read the most isn’t actually an MM author. It’s Stephen King. Putting the horror aside, he is amazing at creating real, flawed, accessible characters whom he then puts in a very unreal and perilous situation. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been devouring Stephen King novels and no matter what terror he conjures up, his characters never fail to speak to me in one way or another.
What book that you’ve authored is your favorite? Do you have any you ended up not loving?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I have a few favorites. I love my Buck Baxter books just because of the cool 1920s Gatsby-style setting. I love The Pearl because it’s set in my home country of Australia and it’s the first really romantic book I wrote. And I love my Fathom’s Five adventures simply because that was my starting point in gay fiction and they’re just SO much fun to write! I don’t really have any books I’ve written that I don’t like. If I’m not enjoying a book I stop writing immediately. If it isn’t entertaining to me, it sure as hell won’t be entertaining to anyone else.
How do you deal with poor reviews?
I think there are two types of poor reviews – those that are warranted and may contain something about your book that you didn’t realize, and those that come from people who probably shouldn’t have read your book in the first place because it’s just not their cup of tea. That’s okay, everyone’s allowed their opinion and you can’t please everyone all the time. But I find that the warranted poor reviews are extremely useful and constructive. When you write a book you’re so close to it that perhaps you haven’t explained a character’s motivation clearly enough or your sex scenes aren’t hot enough or there’s a character whose dialogue is unrealistic. Those are the reviews you learn from. They can sometimes come across as harsh but they often contain valuable lessons that might improve your skill as a writer.
Describe yourself in three words.
Oh I couldn’t answer this one so I asked Brett to do it for me. He said: Creative, enthusiastic and loving. He then followed it up with three more words: Messy, disorganized and frustrating. He’s probably still angry about the bag of knick-knacks I chucked out!
Can you tell us what you have coming up?
I’m currently working on my next rom-com (the subject and title of which are still under wraps), but it will once again have that contemporary fairytale feel to it, just skimming the edge of reality but full of the kind of romance we all dream about. I was so comfortable working in that realm when I wrote The Billionaire’s Boyfriend that I started the new book almost as soon as Billionaire was finished. I also need to finish The Temple of Time which is the fifth book in my Fathom’s Five adventure series. After that I have several more rom-coms planned so hopefully the Muse will take hold and my fingers will be busily pounding away at the keyboard for the rest of the year!
Bio please and thank you!
Thank you so much for having me Hearts on Fire! That was tons of fun!
Geoffrey Knight is the author of more than 25 gay fiction novels, novellas and short stories, ranging in genre from gay adventure, gay romance, gay suspense and gay comedies. He is the recipient of two Rainbow Awards including Best Mystery Winner and Best Overall Gay Fiction Runner-up. His work has been featured in several anthologies including Best Gay Erotica 2013, and he appeared as Guest of Honor at the inaugural Rainbow Con in Florida, 2014.
Geoffrey has worked in advertising, politics and journalism, but nothing is as fun as telling stories. He lives with his partner, their baby daughter, two dogs and two cats in a rambling old house in North Queensland, Australia, where the paint is fraying and life is good.