Tamora Pierce (apparently pronounced like ‘camera’ – I’ve been saying it wrong for over a decade…whoops!!)
Who is she?
Born December 13 1954 in Pennsylvania, USA, Tamora writes fantasy books for teenagers and lives in New York with her Spouse-Creature and an array of furry and feathered friends.
For further reading see her website.
(Thanks to Tamora’s website for publishing dates)
The Song of the Lioness Quartet (Tortall Universe):
- Alanna: The First Adventure, 1983
- In the Hand of the Goddess, 1984
- The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, 1986
- Lioness Rampant, 1988
The Immortals Quartet (Tortall Universe):
- Wild Magic, 1992
- Wolf-Speaker, 1994
- The Emperor Mage, 1995
- The Realms of the Gods, 1996
The Circle of Magic Quartet (Circle Universe):
- Sandry’s Book, 1997
- Tris’s Book, 1998
- Daja’s Book, 1998
- Briar’s Book, 1999
The Protector of the Small Quartet (Tortall Universe):
- First Test, 1999
- Page, 2000
- Squire, 2001
- Lady Knight, 2002
The Circle Opens Quartet (Circle Universe):
- Magic Steps, 2000
- Street Magic, 2001
- Cold Fire, 2002
- Shatterglass, 2003
Tricksters Series (Tortall Universe) – Tamora notes that she has J.K. Rowling to thank for proving to everyone that children can and will read thicker books, hence this series isn’t also a quartet:
- Trickster’s Choice, 2003
- Trickster’s Queen, 2004
Bekka Cooper (Tortall Universe):
- Terrier, 2006
- Bloodhound, 2009
- Mastiff, October 2011
Short Story Collections:
- Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales, 2011
How did you come across them?
When I was around 12 I practically lived in my school’s library (it was a boarding school so this wasn’t exactly hard to be fair!). I would go in and pick up whatever sounded interesting and then sit there curled up in an alcove reading, take it out of the library and then read it at every available minute, walking to lessons, under my desk, under my duvet after lights out… wherever! I found some 90’s edition of Alanna: The First Test, and that was it – I was hooked! My librarian was always astonished when she would be processing the signing out list, only to realised in that time, I had already read and returned them! In the end she told me to not bother signing them out.
What is your favourite work by them and why?
Generally I like Tamora’s works because at the time I was really getting into science-fiction and fantasy, her books were some of the first which truly appealed to me, with girls as main characters doing roles that in the past (literally and literarily) would be considered ‘man’ roles or unfeminine. But what she does is show that girls can be both, they can be tough and sword-wielding, but also like a pretty dress if they so desire; they can be whatever they want to be. For me, a chubby, weird (according to others), stubborn tomboy in an all-girls environment, this was fantastic (though for the record I loved the school I attended!).
I guess my favourite book would be Alanna: The First Adventure because it was the first one I picked up, and it is about a noble girl destined to go to a convent to learn to be a lady, who desperately wants to learn to be a knight instead. Tamora covers issues like puberty and relationships whilst also delivering a fantastic story.
There are honestly too many to pick. I love the characters from the Circle Universe, but perhaps I will say George from the Tortall Universe (because who doesn’t?!) as he is kind but cheeky, fun and trouble, but mostly Alanna and Keladry (also Tortall Universe), because when I was little I felt I was a mix of Alanna’s copper hair, Kel’s plainess and both their stubborness!
With her Spouse-Creature (Tim Leibe), she created a graphic novel called White Tiger.
I hope she does a visit to the UK sometime in the near future as I would love to meet her! Over the years I have sometimes found it hard to track down some of her books as they seem to have small print runs, but it is worth noting that there are currently some new editions out, so are much easier to pin down if you are interested in giving her stories a go.