Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Tamora Pierce

Author Spotlight: Tamora Pierce

Books: Song of the Lioness quartet: Alanna: the First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant; The Immortals quartet: Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods; Protector of the Small quartet: First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight; Daughter of the Lioness duo: Trickster’s Choice, and Tricksters Queen; The Legend of Beka Cooper trilogy: Terrier, Bloodhound, and Mastiff (2011); Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales; Circle of Magic quartet: Sandry’s Book, Tris’s Book, Daja’s Book, and Briar’s Book; The Circle Opens quartet: Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, and Shatterglass; The Will of The Empress; Melting Stones; and other books written in collaboration with other authors.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster and Random House

Age group: 14-18

Where to find her books: Amazon.com

Website: www.tamora-pierce.com

Eon set me thinking about one of my favorite authors as a teenager, Tamora Pierce. I first read her Immortals series when I was about 13. I was hooked and made a point of reading every book she had written, and wrote thereafter.

I loved her strong female characters, living in times when women were supposed to sit in the castle and embroider. They broke the rules of their society and carved a path for others to follow. I loved how she mixed elements of timeless teenage problems with magic and medieval culture.

As The Ordinary Princess was my introduction the independent woman, Wild Magic was my introduction to the fighting woman with more than a back bone but a fierce spirit as well. There was no sitting in a tower waiting for rescue, these women took life into their hands and pursued their dreams. For some their dreams were to become knights, for other they just wanted to learn how to control their magic.

Add to the mix some meddling gods; much like those of Greek and Roman times, and you had a compelling story sure to catch the attention of a teenage girl. It definitely caught mine.

Pierce has been writing for a living since the early 80’s, beginning with the Song of the Lioness books; whose main character was the fierce and daring Alanna. Alanna was originally one rather large adult book but she was convinced to separate it into four books and tone it down for a young adult audience. It was still a little racy for my taste, but I don’t like reading about those things personally. I haven’t read them in a few years so my opinion may have changed, depending on how she used those themes. There is a time and place for them and if used inappropriately, they might as well be left out.

Her recent writing has not gripped me as Wild Magic did. Her Beka Cooper books are set in the same land of Tortall, but hundreds of years before the Song of the Lioness and Immortals series are said to take place. Beka Cooper shows some of the spunk of Daine and Alanna but the writing feels forced and much too descriptive. The pace of the plot is like trudging through mud. You have to read a billion descriptions to get to something that moves the plot along.

I rarely put a book down without finishing it but by the second Beka Cooper book I couldn’t take it anymore. The books were too long, too wordy and too slow moving. I didn’t have time to take weeks to finish a book that I didn’t really enjoy. I do know people that loved them though; so it may be more personal preference than anything else.

I still love the Immortals series and would even read Song of the Lioness again but I don’t think I will finish Beka Cooper. I like many aspects of Pierce’s writing, the interwoven stories, the balanced descriptions and exciting plots. She has had and will have a demanding schedule; maybe she needs some rest to get her balance back.

Either way, I suggest you take the time to get to know her earlier writings and maybe even some of her new. Individual taste varies of course. I would recommend her for older teens though; there are some mature parts in her books that would be better suited to a more mature audience.

She is one author worth checking out.

Author Spotlight: Shannon Hale

Author stats: Shannon Hale

Books: Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, Forest Born, Princess Academy, Book of a Thousand days, Austenland, The Actor and the Housewife, Calamity Jack, Rapunzel’s Revenge

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

Age group: YA- 13-17 Graphic novels- 8-14 Adult- 24-45

Where to find her books: Amazon.com

An author popular among young adult readers is Shannon Hale. Her first book was The Goose Girl, based on the classic fairy tale. She took characters from this book to write three sequels, not based on any fairy tales that I know of. She created a complex world with characters that were a joy to get to know.

She has also written two adult books, two stand-alone young adult books and co-written two graphic novels with her husband.

While Shannon has been writing since she was ten, she tried to pursue other careers, including acting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Utah and her MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan.

She had been writing for nineteen years by the time The Goose Girl was published. She began writing The Goose Girl while still attending the University of Michigan as a challenge between her and a fellow student. They were both trying to write a book before the next semester began. Three years later The Goose Girl was ready to be published.

Princess Academy was actually the first book of hers that I picked up. I fell in love with the characters and the setting. She was able to weave a tale with elements of tradition and whimsy in a masterful way. I have since read every book she has written but the graphic novels.

My one recommendation to her would be, stick to young adult fantasy. I did not enjoy her adult books half as much as I enjoyed Goose Girl and the rest of her young adult books. They felt too forced and did not fit her writing style. I think her imagination is better suited to creating its own worlds instead of trying to fit a story to the real one.

So if you find yourself in the young adult section of your library or bookstore, pick up a Shannon Hale book and enjoy her unique voice and vivid descriptions. I don’t think you will regret it.

Author Spotlight: Jessica Day George

There are some authors that I consistently enjoy, authors that I find myself anticipating each new book from. I could never pick one favorite author, just like I could never pick one favorite book. So these are authors that belong in my unordered list of favorites.

With that in mind I’d like to introduce a new section on my blog: Author Spotlight.

Author Spotlight Stats: Jessica Day George

Books Written: Dragon Slippers; Dragon Flight; Dragon Spear; Princess of the Midnight Ball; Princess of Glass; Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

Age Group: 13-17

Where to find her books: Amazon.com

The first of my favorite authors is Jessica Day George. She has written 6 books in the young adult fantasy genre. In case you can’t tell young adult fantasy is my favorite  sub-genre of young adult books.

So far, Jessica shows an affinity for taking a new look at classic fairy tales. The Picturecharacters are rich, multidimensional and easy to relate to, and the settings have a life of their own.

Jessica started out knowing that she wanted to be a writer, but in college she majored in something a bit different than most aspiring writers. She attended Brigham Young University and majored in humanities, of all things.

She took classes she hoped would provide good background for book ideas. She also has a deep love for Norwegian culture and has studied both the Norwegian and German languages.

This has allowed her to create very realistic settings with their own culture and depth. She brings many unknown aspects of Norwegian and German culture to her books, which helps to give them an exotic feel.

She tried for years to get published, thinking of her previous jobs as obstacles to tackle before her big break. After trying to get published for 9 years Jessica came up with the idea for Dragon Slippers, the book that finally got her published.

She lives with her husband and children in Salt Lake City, Utah where she continues to write. The only thing she will say about her next book is that it is set in Romania.

I look forward to her next book. I know she will take the time to make sure she has likeable characters, realistic settings, in-depth descriptions and a well developed plot. She has the knowledge and dedication to make her books great.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Jessica Day George’s books I would recommend that you go out and find one today. They are worth your time.