Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: The Fanboy Comics Staff and I are very excited about your recently released book, Dragon Mound, which is the first of the Knight in Shadow trilogy. What inspired you to write this new series?
Richard A. Knaak: I wanted to delve into the depths of what someone is willing to do as opposed to what he must do. I also wanted to tell a tale of redemption --- and the possible pitfalls surrounding it. Most of all, I wanted to tell a story of characters facing great odds who might not themselves know just how far they are willing to go.
BD: Without giving anything away, what are your plans for the next two books in the trilogy? Are you already at work on the stories?
RK: Wake of the Wyrm is in process and will take us to the island realm of Wallmyre. We shall see that the sorcerer-king’s plans are still alive and how both Evan and Steppenwald are involved. We’ll also see more about Mardi’s connection to Evan.
The Twilight Throne will reveal the full truth about Evan, Mardi, Steppenwald, and what happened to Novaris. Don’t want to say more.
BD: In addition to your recent release, you have written many books within the World of Warcraft universe. With such a rich and plentiful amount of source material available within the WoW world, how did you approach the writing process for these books?
RK: I work with Blizzard on every aspect. They ask if I will write about a certain subject and present me with the necessary material for that story. In addition, I draw from my playing time and the wealth of info from previous projects with them. I come up with a synopsis based on their suggestion, then we hammer out the details until we’re all satisfied. I then go on and write the manuscript, with chapters looked over along the way. Throughout all of this, the creative development team at Blizzard studies everything and corrects any errors along the way.
It’s been a very satisfying method.
BD: As a NY Times and USA Today bestseller, you have become a driving force in the fantasy and science fiction genres. What first drew you to these mediums of storytelling?
RK: I was always fascinated by stories of magic, dragons, and knights as a child. I also enjoyed the novels of Jules Verne and others. My favorite shows were Star Trek, Lost in Space, and such. I enjoy the traditional sense of heroism often found in fantasy and the boundless imagination of both genres.
BD: Your writing has been published for over 25 years. How do you feel that the science fiction and fantasy genres have evolved throughout these years?
RK: I started out with Dragonlance and so am familiar with working in shared worlds, but more than ever the genres have now turned that direction. I enjoy playing in other people’s worlds, but also love delving into original worlds. I hope that there remains some balance between both, but with other media becoming more dominant, shared worlds continue to take over. Even many original novels are written with a sense of their writers hoping that the works will translate well to movies, games, etc.
BD: In past years, you have toured the country to promote your books. Will fans have the opportunity to meet you in the coming months?
RK: I hope to get around to various areas depending on my deadlines. I also have a novel in my Dragonrealm series coming out in September, and that will also be an opportune time to promote both Dragon Mound and the forthcoming Wake of the Wyrm.
BD: Your books will no doubt influence young writers throughout the world who share your love of storytelling. Which writers have inspired you the most?
RK: Edgar Rice Burroughs for his John Carter series. Roger Zelazny for Creatures of Light and Darkness and the Amber Chronicles. Andre Norton for Storm Over Warlock. Poe for his emotional moods in all his stories. Each brought different elements of storytelling I absorbed. Burroughs with his edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger endings, Zelazny with his wild mix of characters and situations, and Norton for her characterizations.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Dragon Mound and your body of work?