Richard A. Knaak was born in Chicago on May 28, but now splits his time between Chicago and Arkansas. Originally a chemistry major at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, he switched to Rhetoric, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree. He has been published since 1987 and his works have been translated into German, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, and Russian.

He first became interested in reading fantasy and science fiction when he discovered a copy of Andre Norton's Storm over Warlock. Devouring that, he located Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness and the Amber Series, then Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars stories. Along with Edgar Allan Poe, Knaak considers these his greatest influences. Other favorite authors include Glen Cook, L. Sprague de Camp, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Harry Turtledove, Jennifer Roberson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Harry Harrison, and Robert Sawyer.

On the side, he enjoys reading, travel, food, and old movies.