In Awash in Talent, Emily’s sister is massively Talented. After a sickly childhood, Beth is revealed to have the power to move objects with her mind and to heal all kinds of wounds and illness with only her touch. Only one hundred people in the world have the healing Talent, and Beth’s life changes overnight. Emily, on the other hand, has no discernible Talent or ambition beyond her obsession with Carlos, the married teaching assistant from her archaeology classes. Emily will do anything to show the world that she’s more amazing than her sister and that she and Carlos are meant to be together. An introduction to Emily’s world can be found at this link.
Emily ran away with the story that became Awash in Talent. I had previously used the name Emily for a similarly strong, overly motivated character in “Unpredictable Factors in Human Obedience,” which is the first short story in Unpredictable Worlds. I’m not at all sure why the name Emily seems suitable for these out-of-control characters. My friend who has that same name asked if I hated her! Far from it. The Emilies I’ve written about made sitting at the computer to write a surprising, fun process. Even though I ended up giving Emily a full character arc over the course of an entire novel when I’d originally envisioned Awash in Talent as a short story, she’s still demanding more page time and a sequel is in the works.
Jessica Knauss: Hello, Emily. What would you like to talk about today?
Emily: You sound like my therapist.
JK: That’s not a coincidence. I based Dr. Blundt on some of my own experiences in Providence.
Emily: A typically self-centered author.
JK: All right, let’s talk about you. What is your favorite book?
Emily: It’s an epic story of family and revenge set in medieval Spain called Seven Noble Knights.
JK: How can you have read that? It’s not coming out until December.
Emily: Seven Noble Knights came out of your head, and so did I. It’s sort of an advance reader’s edition via little grey cells.
JK: You’re too clever for me. Let’s switch to geography. We know you love Providence, Rhode Island. What is your hometown like?
Emily: Oh my God, it’s so boring. Nothing worth talking about at all.
JK: But it’s in California. Everyone loves California…?
Emily: California is not all beaches and Hollywood and San Francisco. I only ever lived there because that’s where my family was.
JK: Don’t you have anything good to say about your family? What is it about your sister, Beth, that makes you so angry?
Emily: Everything! Everyone thinks she’s so special, and she’s not. Just because she can heal people and levitate Nerf balls through the air? She’s just a stupid little girl like all other teenagers. Right here in this room, there’s more genius than she’ll ever have.
JK: How so?
Emily: I’m here, and so are you, who created me.
JK: Thank you for the acknowledgement, but I don’t feel I had much choice in how you came about. I’ll say this: you are much more strong-willed than Beth.
Emily: That’s right. My will is the strongest of all and that’s why I’m going to get what I want eventually.
JK: And what do you want?
Emily: Really? You don’t know? Oh, I get it. You’re playing dumb for the interview. I want two things: to never see or hear about Beth again and to live out my days with Carlos in wedded bliss at some fascinating archaeological site.
JK: Everyone’s puzzled and curious: what is so great about Carlos?
Emily: What are you talking about? To start with, his superior achievements in academic archaeology. He’s sure to write a book that everyone will quote and cite and rely on. More importantly, Carlos is my soulmate, the person I can’t live without, the one who must be with me or the world is all wrong.
JK: I hate to bring this up, but other people might mention the fact that he already has a wife and a few children. Doesn’t that…
Emily: (Stands silently, turns precisely, and slams the door on her way out.)
JK: Wait! You need an escort to get back home. Emily? Emily?
Jessica Knauss’s Awash in Talent was released by Kindle Press on June 7 to praise from readers who love something different.
This is the last stop in a week-long Awash in Talent blog tour. Don’t miss the crazy character interviews and writing advice at the blogs of A.J. Culey, Carrie S. Miller, Andi Adams, and J.L. Gribble!
Born and raised in Northern California, Jessica Knauss has wandered all over the United States, Spain, and England. She has worked as a librarian and a Spanish teacher and earned a PhD in Medieval Spanish Literature before entering the publishing world as an editor. Her acclaimed novella, Tree/House, and short story collection, Unpredictable Worlds, are currently available. Her epic of medieval Spain, Seven Noble Knights, will be published by Bagwyn Books in December 2016. Find her on social media and updates on the sequels to Awash in Talent and Seven Noble Knights and her other writing at her website: jessicaknauss.com. Feel free to sign up for her mailing list for castles, stories, and magic.
Awash in Talent: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DAWRMKU
Unpredictable Worlds: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VU4IC5U
Seven Noble Knights http://www.jessicaknauss.com/seven-noble-knights/
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Knauss/e/B004TBHHYI/