Adam Knowles

Torrent of Guinea PigsWhat do you write?
A little bit of everything, but usually sci-fi or fantasy, and it tends to be either funny or creepy. I like to make people laugh, or to send a shiver down their spine. When writing a story I always put the plot first, even if it’s just flash fiction—perhaps especially if it’s just flash fiction. I want the tales I tell to have a twist, a point. I usually have a lot of ideas on the go: they pop out of my head and onto the page like a torrent of guinea pigs.

Pen and paper or computer and printer?
Computer all the way. When I was pretty young, I got a Lion King typing game in a box of cereal and taught myself to touch-type. I haven’t looked back since. Using a keyboard is just so much faster than using a pen, and the ability to edit whatever I like whenever I like has really informed the way I write, shifting sentences around to get just the right flow. I’ve also started using Twine to produce digital interactive fiction: multidimensional stories that are generated by the choices of the reader. You don’t need to be a whiz with technology or have a cutting-edge computer to do this kind of stuff, but unfortunately it does rule out good old fashioned pen and paper.

Which do you enjoy more—researching, writing or editing?
Definitely writing. The other two are also crucial, but for me they blur into the whole writing process. I don’t want to spend hours on the internet or in the library before I even start, so I do my research as I write, looking up key details as I go. I’m familiar enough with my favourite settings that I know to avoid having archers “firing” bows or astronauts referring to “summer on Earth.” Editing as I write saves me from having to be too brutal with the red pen after I finish a draft, though I will often make pretty big changes to the storyline at this point. I quite enjoy being able to look at a complete story and tweak some key elements, knowing that the bulk of the work is already behind me.

First book or poem you fell in love with?
It’s hard to remember the very first—though that might be Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy—but Brian Jaques’ Redwall series definitely left an impression. All the books have a strong storyline and interesting characters, and though each stood as a story in its own right, I enjoyed finding links between them. There was a sense that all these different people and plots really belonged to their own invented world. These were the first books that made me think “I could do that,” and really encouraged me to dedicate serious time and effort to writing stories of my own.

Cat, dog, budgie, bunny or goldfish?
Guinea pigs. Who couldn’t love an animal that’s essentially a giant, fluffy jelly bean?


Find out more about Adam on his author site:


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