After graduating from WSU in 1971 she took a job with an ombudsmen column, Contact 10, at the Detroit News. The next spring she moved to Chicago and freelanced. In 1978 she moved with her husband to Raleigh, North Carolina.
During more than 40 years of freelancing Knowles has written hundreds of articles, been a book reviewer for the American Library Association, a restaurant reviewer for the News & Observer, and published dozens of short stories and essays as well as a non-fiction book about Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s (Three Rivers Press, 2000).
Throughout her years of freelancing, her favorite work, by far, has been writing radio spots. Audio books seemed like a natural progression. Knowles says, “Besides, all my characters ever do is talk and occasionally shoot a gun.”
In addition to writing, Knowles teaches an ongoing critique class at her studio--The Free Range Studio and Gallery. She is also an artist and the director of the international music festival: Cross Currents Chamber Music Arts Festival.
Carrie Knowles lives in Raleigh with her husband, Jeff, and their three children.
Is there a back story to the writing of Shoot Me, an actual incident or event perhaps?
We were invited out one night to have dinner with a friend and her husband. The friend’s mother was visiting from Ohio. She was a lovely eighty-something woman who had recently lost her husband. As the evening went on, our friend prompted her mother to tell the story about a robbery. About six months after her husband died, a gang of burglars, who had a rather successful business of stealing antiques from out of state then selling them in New York, broke into her house. She was home at the time.
They were surprised to find her. They had never encountered anyone at home before and didn’t quite know what to do with her. In the end, she fought with them and they hit her and knocked her out…but not before she memorized the license plate of the van they were driving. She showed us the seven stitches she had to have in the back of her head where they hit her with the butt of a gun.She was very proud of being the one who helped break up this successful ring…the police had been trying to catch them for almost four years. It was a great story but what impressed me most was how, in her telling, it was clear that at some point in the incident she let go of her fear of dying. And, in that moment, became more alive than she had been in her grieving over the loss of her husband.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?
I really didn’t decide to be a writer as much as I gradually realized that I didn’t know what else to be. I didn’t know how NOT to write. Not writing just didn’t ever seem to be a viable option.
What is your preferred type of writing?
I write both fiction and non-fiction and have for many years. They are the same to me. Whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, you are working to reveal the emotional truth of a story.
What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Having the courage day after day to sit down and dig at the emotional truth of a story.
What do you think audio production brings to your story?
I love the sound of words as well as the tradition of story telling. I also like how when you listen to a story being told you have to really listen. My father was blind and spent hours listening to audio books. Sometimes we’d listen to them as well. I loved how you had to concentrate to pull the story together…how you couldn’t cheat and read ahead to the ending and how, if you closed your eyes, you could see the story unfold. It was fun to listen with Dad, to know that we were both “seeing” the same story.
Are you planning to write any novels in the future?
I’m just finishing work on a novel set during the early 1960s about a husband who was a soldier during WWII and silently suffers from PTSD and a wife who cannot find a place for herself within their marriage. It’s a story about failing at marriage and at parenting and how through failure we often find out what is important in life.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a play about an unforgiving relationship between a Jewish mother-in-law and a Christian daughter-in-law.
Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood, Research Triangle Publishing, Fuquay Varina, NC, 1997. ISBN 1 884570 67 4. Describes the real life battles family members fight with Alzheimer's.
The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s (expanded, revised version of Alzheimer’s: The Last Childhood) Three Rivers Press (trade paperback imprint of Random House), New York, New York, 2000.
Cardinal: An Anthology of North Carolina Writers, Edited by Richard Krawiec. Jacar Press, Wendell, NC, 1986. A short story: "The Jungfrau.”
At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, Edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz. Papier Mache, Watsonville, CA, 1998. A poem: "The Power."
Through a Child’s Eyes: Poems and Stories about War, edited by Victor Klimoski and Samuel Torvend. Plain View Press, Austin, Texas 2001. Memoir: “A War Journal.”
Long Story Short:Flash Fiction by Sixty-five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers, edited by Marianne Gingher. University of North Carolina Press 2009. A short story: “My Family.”
"Reflections On My Fight For The ERA." Southern Exposure, January/February, 1983
"Naturally My Way." Mothers Today, July/August, 1985
"Never A Dark Year, Never A Dull Moment. The Raleigh Little Theater." The Arts Journal, November, 1985.
"Spaces and Places: A Design for the Arts." N.C. Arts, August 1986.
“To Market, To Market," Taste Full Summer 1992.
"The French Kitchen," Taste Full Fall 1992.
"Pot au Feu, French Stew," Taste Full Winter 1992.
"Malted Love," The Independent, March 3, 1993.
"The Only Child," an article about living with Alzheimer’s, The Sun, August, 1993.
"Unplugged: Writers' Rights on the Net," The Independent, March 13, 1996.
"Antiquing in Raleigh," Interludes, inflight magazine for Midway Airlines, September 1996.
"The Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge," Interludes, inflight magazine for Midway Airlines, October 1996.
"Gifts From The Heart," Better Homes and Gardens, December 1997.
“Vessel of Hope,” Duke Medical Perspectives, Spring 2000.
“A Bow to Midlife,” The News and Observer, April 9, 2001.
Reviews in poetry, and the social sciences for Booklist, from 6/78 until 2/79.
"Parts." Beyond Baroque, 1973.
"Hunter Falconer." Northern Pleasures, 1982.
"Witness To An Execution." Village Advocate, 1984.
"The Widow Maker." A Carolina Literary Companion, 1985.
"The Black Siamese Twins Meet Queen Victoria." The Sun, March, 1990.
"Swimming Through The Catacombs." NCWN Fiction Syndication 1990 91.
"Selling Fish." First Place, Very Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, November 1998.
“Are You With me?” The News & Observer, September 27, 1998.
“The Hound.” The News & Observer, February 4, 2001.
“My Family.” Long Story Short, 2009.
"Bones." Bitterroot International Poetry Quarterly, 1973.
"In Spring Dying Is Absurd." Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 6/17/1973.
"Without Rhyme." Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 5/28/1974.
"Small Songs #1.” Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, 12/29/1974.
"The Dream Machine." Wee Wisdom, 1974.
"Dance Movements." (4 poems) Mati, 1976.
"My Name Is Dance." Salome, 1976.
"City.” New Earth Review, 1979.
"Winter Dialogue." The Poet, Autumn 1980.
"Putting My Hands Into The Fire." Windhover, 1981.
"White Anglo Saxon Protestant Work Ethnic Mother/Country Guilt." Windhover, 1981.
"They Were Rubies." Hyperion, 1980.
"Family Album." Hyperion, 1980.
"Things Grow Here That I Do Not Know." Hyperion, 1980.
"Southern Gardens." Hyperion,1980.
"Motherhood Innocence." Jump River Review, 1981.
"We Live To Sleep, Sleep To Wake." Jump River Review, 1981.
"Caught In Your Arms, Your Laugh." Jump River Review, 1981.
"Unmade For Days." Jump River Review, 1981.
"Seasons Pass." Jump River Review, 1981.
"Playing The Past In Present Tense." Voices International,1981.
"Ovulation Overtures." Women, A Journal Of Liberation, 7:3.
"On Naming," and, "The Pelican." Durham: A Living Anthology, 1987.
"Take Us To Heaven Jo nathan." The Carolina Quarterly, 1998.
"The Power." At Our Core: Women Writing About Power, Papier¬Mache Press,1998.
5/85 to 11/86: Monthly special food feature for the News and Observer writing cooking and travel related food articles.
5/87 to 12/89: Food Editor of The Leader, writing monthly restaurant reviews and a weekly dining column as well as special feature work.
8/89 to 3/90: Regional Correspondent, Southpoint Magazine, restaurant and entertainment reviews.
1/93 to 8/95: Dining critic for News and Observer.
Published: 4-2011, Mind Wings Audio