I enjoyed reading Knight Blindness immensely. I asked International Best-Selling Author Chris Karlsen to tell me about the Story Behind the Story of (Knight Blindness).
Time travel is a fascination of mine and has been since I was a young girl. The concept and the possibilities have captivated the imagination of many of us for generations. Chatting with friends, the idea of going back in time is favored over travelling forward but not by much. The folks I know who have a strong interest in history lean toward returning to a time and place where they can meet history’s most famous men and women. Those friends have a select group of people they wish to see in action or even talk with provided they weren’t put in danger by doing so. My friends who love all things sci-fi wouldn’t hesitate to go into the future.
As for me, I have mixed feelings. I love history and would like to touchdown in different time periods, see how the people of the time who interest me interact and how they lived. Having the ability to convince them to talk to me and not burn me at the stake as a witch or throw me into a dungeon gives me pause. Deep down, I suspect discovery of my presence wouldn’t work out well for me. My sci-fi friends envision a brilliant Star Trek type future. Me—not so much, I watched too many Twilight Zone shows and Planet of the Apes movies to trust that the future offers greater safety. That said, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the time travel experience. The solution: live through my characters.
I have the freedom of going wherever I want and enjoy putting my spin on the timeframe the protagonists are moving through. In Journey in Time, book two of my Knights in Time series, I sent the hero and heroine back to medieval England. To the heroine’s surprise, this is a period the hero is very familiar with on a personal level. The heroine knows only what she learned in school and what she’s observed in museums and from historical sites. With each support character she encountered, with each situation she found herself, I made it a point to have her share my fears and my amazement.
Knight Blindness wasn’t planned as part of the series. Stephen, the hero in Knight Blindness was a knight and friend of Guy’s the hero in Journey in Time. I really liked Stephen. He was loyal, chivalrous, funny, and attractive. I gave a decent amount of page time (which he shared with other characters) to him in the book.
As much as I liked him, I eventually killed him in battle (off page). The ladies in my critique group were up in arms. They all turned to me and asked how could you? We adore Stephen. You must bring him back.
I did and didn’t. I wrote the last scene between him and the hero in a way that left the question whether he survived or not. When the time came to write the next story in the series, it occurred to me to use Stephen. He was a popular character so why not give him a story of his own. I knew I’d make him a time traveler but I wanted to switch it up. I didn’t want to take him and the heroine back in time. Instead, I brought him forward to our time. I also knew I wanted to work in the final words between him and Guy. I wanted that exchange to have more meaning than most. Playing off that, I decided to make the modern world as difficult as possible for Stephen. I wanted to go beyond the lack of understanding for this world. To accomplish that, I made him blind.
I can truly say, we were both challenged by this twist. It took me a long time to write. It wasn’t just a case of Stephen having no context for much of what he encountered but I had to visualize how he’d interpret an environment he cannot see.
Unknown to Stephen, the enemy knight who wounded him has also come forward in time. He has his sight but has his own “demons” to overcome if he wants to function in this new world.
This was a lot an unusual experience as I had to spend so much time in the head of two main characters, where the second character was not the heroine. Roger, the French enemy knight, has a strong POV. I think that made a great dynamic in the relationship between the two men.
That’s the thumbnail of the story behind the story. I hope you found reading about my path from start to finish interesting or at least humorous.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR CHRIS KARLSEN
I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books. My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write two different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is, Dangerous Waters.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, five rescue dogs.