Posted on 10/11/2018 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Humphry Knipe isn’t just a writer — he’s truly a member of the entertainment industry.

He has written several novels, including the award-winning The Nero Prediction, a re-evaluation of the infamous Roman emperor; Napoleon’s Rosebud, an imagining of his ancestress's actual relationship with the French emperor; and Electric Blue, a thriller about a ... porn star?

That’s where other aspects of Knipe’s career come into play.

He wrote and directed several adult films that were produced by his wife, photographer Suze Randall, famous for her work for Playboy.

In fact, Knipe even wrote a book about his and Suze’s experiences at the Playboy Mansion.

That book is now out of print, but fortunately, those interested in a behind-the-scenes look can at least check out Electric Blue, which was inspired by real people and events.

Here’s what Knipe had to say about his career and journey.

SADYE: What led you to try writing fiction, after your varied early career?

HUMPHRY: I caught the writing bug in high school and was never able to shake it off. 

When I was nineteen and a sophomore at Rhodes University, I won first prize in a national short story competition. 

The fact that the judges complained the entries that year were of a disappointingly low quality did very little to curb my enthusiasm! 

SADYE: You co-authored a book about the pecking order in human society (and the animal world) and then wrote novels about emperors — is there a particular interest you have in power structures?

HUMPHRY: I'm fascinated by greatness. Isn't everyone?

SADYE: In your blurb for Napoleon’s Rosebud, you say that your grandfather often spoke about your family’s acquaintance with the emperor. What did he have to say? 

HUMPHRY: Grandfather was the eldest of thirteen from a dirt-poor Saint Helena family. His anecdote about sardines bears this out. 

As a boy in Saint Helena, he was in love with sardines, but his father was too poor to afford them. 

So the first paycheck he got in South Africa, he bought six cans of sardines, determined to eat them all at one sitting. 

He loved the first can, relished the second, but when he'd finished the third and fourth, his enthusiasm began to wane. 

He forced down the last one, got violently ill, and never ate another sardine in his life. 

I was twelve when he died and hardly knew anything about Napoleon. 

All I remember is that Grandfather said he hated being gawked at and stayed indoors most of the time, peeking through the blinds every now and then. 

He did, however, entertain members of the Knipe family from time to time. 

SADYE: Also in the blurb, you say that your grandfather’s last words were, “Remember that we have been touched by greatness.” How did you realize that he was referring to an affair between your great-great-grandaunt and Napoleon?

HUMPHRY: It's all in Glennis Snell's monumental The Knipe Family of Saint Helena Island.

SADYE: The adult film industry is obviously not without some controversy. What do you wish its critics knew or would understand about it?

HUMPHRY: They should read my latest novel, Electric Blue, which describes it with all the rainbows and all the bruises.

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Learn more about Humphry Knipe on his website, where his books can also be purchased. 

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Categories: Author Interview

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