Exclusive – Q&A with Nicholas Knight, author of The Official Companion Season 1

In eager anticipation of Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 1 release on September 25, 2007, we asked Nicholas Knight if he’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email. Exclusive – Q&A with Nicholas Knight, author of Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 1
By: Staff

Nicholas Knight has an array of published works attached to his name which can be found in the anthologies Down These Dark Streets, Fedora, and Hardbroiled, as well as Crimestalker Casebook, Detective Mystery Magazine, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine and Rex Stout Journal, to name but a few. Some of his other work can also be found in Bullet Points, an anthology of mystery flash fiction that he co-edited. Mr. Knight is a prolific writer and as such is an apt match when it comes to the handling of Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 1. In eager anticipation of its release on September 25, 2007, we asked him if he’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email.

We want to thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us. We truly appreciate it.

Q: You won a Derringer Award for the Short-Short Mystery as well as being a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Does getting recognition like that change the way you approach writing?

Recognition like that reassures me that I’m doing something right, that I’m entertaining readers other than myself. And when I’m sitting alone in front of the computer, it’s nice to be able to remind myself that my work reaches people around the world.

Q: Which genre do you most like writing for?

I honestly can’t answer that question. It’s like asking me whether I prefer steak, pizza, or ice cream… My answer will differ at any given time on any given day. But I can tell you that I have the most fun brainstorming ideas that involve supernatural or fantastical elements.

Q: How did you come to write Supernatural: The Official Companion?

In a word, networking. I belong to several writing-related internet groups, and one day a message popped up in my email inbox mentioning that a DC Comics licensing editor was looking for someone to write the companion guide for Supernatural. Let me tell you, I couldn’t hit “reply” fast enough! I’m a big fan of the show, I’ve been a fan of Jensen and Jared since Dark Angel and Gilmore Girls, and I live near Vancouver…so it was a no brainer for me. Fortunately, my enthusiasm for the show and my writing experience (which, while mostly fiction, also includes some non-fiction articles in genre publications) sufficed to convince DC Comics and Titan Books that I wouldn’t mess up their book.

Q: What interested you the most when you approached the project?

I was very excited to go behind the scenes of the show and see the process of the
stories going from script to screen.

Q: Who did you interview for the book?

That list would be way too long. I interviewed Eric Kripke, Jensen, and Jared, obviously, but I also tried to interview as many of the writers, producers, and crew as possible. The way the timing of it worked out, I was conducting the interviews during the filming of the last few episodes of Season 2, so everybody was very busy. I’m grateful that so many people made the time to talk to me. And as you’ll see when you read the book, I also managed to nab a few minutes with recurring cast members like Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Nicki Aycox, and guest stars like the super sweet Amy Acker.

Q: While working on the book, did you find the cast and crew to be responsive to your questions?

Yes, very responsive. It’s obvious they all love working on Supernatural and love telling the world about it. A recurring comment you’ll find in the book is how much they all love working together, which makes for a wonderful atmosphere to interview in.

Q: Does the book go into the mythology which is being explored in the series?

Definitely. Not only is the mythology touched on throughout most sections of the book, there are also specific sections entitled “A Closer Look At” that take a closer look at the myths and monsters explored in the first season. I was already a fan of urban legends and folklore, but I did a lot of research into the specific monsters on the series. I don’t know how well it shows, since I had to summarize my findings down to half a page, but I tried to touch on all the popular iterations of each myth. What I really wanted to concentrate most on, though, was how the legends were used in Supernatural, what made the show’s versions unique — that’s what was the most interesting to me.

Q: Was there perhaps an avenue that you wanted to explore while writing the book but for some reason or the other couldn’t?

I wanted to include a map of the States with icons for each of the places the Winchester brothers stopped at in Season 1. But there wasn’t time (or room in the art budget) to have an artist draw a little ghost icon, a little demon icon, etc. I’m still hoping to do something like that for the Season 3 guide, but we’ll see. Nonetheless, I replaced that idea with something just as fun: “‘22 Reasons Not to Go on a Road Trip with My Brother’ by Sam Winchester.”

Q: Can you walk us through the process of writing Supernatural: The Official Companion?

Sure. First I re-watched the entire season (tough job, I know), then I watched it again so that I could take notes on such things as my favorite lines of dialogue, ideas for “box out” sections (like fake I.D.’s), the music and credits for each episode, and anything that caught my attention for interview questions (such as: “Are those real mirrors getting smashed?”). Then I compiled a list of everyone I wanted to interview, gave it to the show’s publicist, and she arranged for me to go to the Burbank offices and the Vancouver studio. I took a long list of questions and bombarded everyone foolish enough to say “hi” to me. I recorded everything, which meant I had hours and hours of conversations to transcribe (and I type much slower than people talk), then I had to sort through everything and decide what to use where in the book. And I wanted to make sure to use quotes from everyone I talked to, if at all possible. Then I researched the myths and legends and put that information into the book. Lastly, I took all the quotes and info I had and strung it all together with a few words of my own…then cut about half of it out due to space limitations. I love the finished product, and I hope the fans will too.

Q: What other information should fans expect to find in the book?

I included bits of trivia about the show’s setting and the actors whenever possible.
And one of my favorite sections is the one where everyone talks about their beliefs and experiences with “real” supernatural phenomena.

Q: Supernatural has a very dedicated fan base, which you probably are aware of. As a consequence, have you thought about the fans’ reaction to the book while writing it?

I was very conscious of the fans while I wrote the book. In fact, during the interviews, I kept saying stuff like, “This book is for the fans, tell me something you haven’t said in an interview before. Tell me stories and anecdotes from behind the scenes — anything you think the fans will find interesting.” And while I took my job very seriously, I approached it as a fan, and I think my love of the show shines through in the book.

Q: Will you be the one to write Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 2?

I’m writing it right now! The tentative release date in North America is April 8, 2008.

Q: Did you get a chance to read the comic books? If so, what did you think?

I’ve been reading the comics as they’ve been released and I can’t wait for the next one. I think they’re doing a great job of fleshing out John Winchester’s back story, but that’s not surprising seeing as how it’s written by one of Supernatural’s executive producers, Peter Johnson. That said, I’d love to read (and write) comics set in the same time period of the series, as they’ve done with the original prose novels.

Q: Do you have any current or future projects?

Along with the Season 2 guide, I’m also writing articles on an ongoing basis for the new Official Supernatural Magazine, which is debuting in November (in North America). I have about a dozen other projects on the go, which I’ll touch on by medium. For screen, I have a short animated film going into production, a feature animated film in pre-production, and I’m currently writing an action-packed supernatural revenge film script for a production company in Toronto. In comics, I’m writing six issues of Atlantis Studios’ Paula Peril series, editing a horror anthology series called Fiendish Dreams for Onyx Cross, and I have several properties under development at a book packager. And for regular prose fiction, I’m adapting several screenplays to novel format, and I’m in discussions to do some shared world novels for a publisher’s house properties. And that’s just my day job. In my “spare time” I’m working on another couple dozen original projects across mediums that I hope to find homes for some day.

Again, thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us.

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