Tamora Pierce (2009)

Tamora Pierce was drawn to books from a young age. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, the child of a “long, proud line of hillbillies,” her family never had much. “We were poor, but I didn’t know it then. We had a garden where my folks grew fruit and vegetables and our water came from a well,” she explains. But one thing they did have was plenty of books. So Tamora read.

A self-proclaimed “geek,” she devoured fantasy and science fiction novels, and by the age of 12 was mimicking her literary idols and writing her own action-packed stories. It was thanks to her father that Tamora began writing. “He overheard me telling myself stories as I did dishes, and he suggested that I try to write some of them down,” Pierce says.

But Tamora’s novels had one major difference: unlike the books she was reading, her stories featured teenaged girl warriors. “I couldn’t understand why the writers I loved had no girl adventurers, so until I could talk them into correcting this small problem, I wrote about those girls, the fearless, bold, athletic creatures that I was not, but wanted so badly to be.”

Seventeen years later, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, a brief career in teen social work, some time spent writing for radio, and a job as assistant in a literary agency, Tamora Pierce held true to her childhood crusade, and published Alanna: The First Adventure, the first in a quartet about a valiant, young, *female* warrior. Pierce’s heroine struck a chord with readers across the country and quickly earned her a loyal following.

Pierce is now a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has written more than two-dozen books, including her newest, TORTALL AND OTHER LANDS: A COLLECTION OF TALES. She is also co-author with her husband Timothy Liebe of White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion from Marvel Comics. Her books are translated into over fifteen languages and available in English worldwide, which brings her wonderful fan mail. “It’s a pretty good life. Struggling as a kid and through my twenties and thirties, it’s the life I dreamed of but never believed I would get. Yet here I am, after a lot of work, a lot of worry, a lot of care for details, and with a massive chunk of luck, the kind that brought me such strong friends and readers. Pretty good for a hillbilly, yes? And I never take it for granted,” she says.

Pierce lives in Syracuse, New York with her husband Tim, eleven tame and two semi-feral cats, two parakeets, a rotating cast of stray and feral outdoor cats, and various other freeloading wildlife. Visit her online at www.tamorapierce.com.

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