Australian Author, Penn Adams

Who am I as a writer?

Who knows what drives any individual to want to share the contents of their imaginings with other people? It’s a question every writer has pondered from time to time.

The answer for me is that we’re creatures of communication – a trait, for good or bad – that has helped our species to survive. We’ve evolved languages that are complex and varied; technologies, such as writing and drawing; and even art-forms like acting and dance in order to exchange ideas.

So, for me, it’s no wonder that story-telling comes naturally. Whether you’re a Neanderthal hunter warning of an attack from a vicious animal in 22,000 BCE, a Sioux mother in the 1500s teaching her children how to sew buckskin or a modern-day mum sharing a bit of gossip about a TV personality with a friend, stories bring us happiness, insight and knowledge. We are – as far as we know – the only species with imagination. We have the ability to create and understand an existence outside of ourselves and we have teamed that with empathy so that we can perceive how that other existence might feel.

Everyone has a story in them… and I’m no different. The books that kicked me off on this creative journey were ripping adventures like Blyton’s Secret Seven, fantasies such as The Tales of Narnia and, in my teens, Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then came science-fiction with an addiction to HG Wells, Frank Herbert and John Wyndham (I’m still dubious about meteor showers), whilst at school I was being drilled in Shakespeare, Solzhenitsyn and almost every Dickens under the sun. In my early twenties, I discovered Mervyn Peake and James A Michener, fought off every trashy urge to pick up a Harold Robbins but slaked my thirst for intrigue with a Ludlum or a John le Carre or two.

As you can see, the influences have been many and so varied. Nowadays, I’ve calmed down a bit and when I look at my bookshelf now, I see Anthony Doerr, Philip Pullman, Arundhati Roy and Tim Winton. Does that mean I’ve become a more sophisticated reader/writer? Hardly. I’m a ‘sponge’ soaking up their glorious techniques and I bow down before them. But I would never claim parity with those gifted authors.

For me, it’s just about the enjoyment of writing. I want the readers of my books to go on an adventure with me, to get to know and love/loathe the characters and to see strange new worlds through my eyes. I love writing. I’d do it all the time if my fingers would let me. But, more importantly, I love sharing the contents of my mind with you – I hope my readers get as much of a kick out of them as I do.