Meet multi-genre author and Room’s managing editor, Chelene Knight
Meet Chelene Knight, Room’s managing editor, and author of Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2015), Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug, Spring 2018), and a novel-in-progress, Junie.
Have you been reading anything specific while you’ve been working on Dear Current Occupant?
Renée Saklikar recommended that I read some poetry by Fred Wah and I’ve been trying to read books—and things online, such as flash essays on Brevity— which are mixed genre and do not easily fit into one category. I’m trying to get ideas for how to tighten my writing up, as I’m now in the final editing stages.
Do family secrets often come out in your writing?
I’m a very private person, so as I sit down to write, it’s both a surprise and a relief. A lot of my writing pertains to things that my family didn’t want me to know. And sometimes, because I don’t have all the details, I make things up, and then I go back and ask my family questions to fill in the gaps.
Do you have a “positive” family secret you could share?
Having my child probably saved my life. I was a wild teen, and when I became pregnant at twenty, something clicked, and it set me straight. I think for a lot of young mothers, it can go a totally different way, but for me, it pulled me into this world where I was responsible for a human being, and I had to get my act together.
Is there one book you find yourself frequently recommending to people?
One is Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn. Her depiction of Vancouver rings true, and the characters really spoke to me. The other book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I just love the style of Morrison’s writing: it’s poetic, fiction, but also historical.