|Mercedes Lackey's father was an avid science fiction reader, and it was through him that she was introduced to the genre. One of first sf books she read was Andre Norton's BEAST MASTER. Lackey began to write her own stories set in Norton's Witch World. Setting aside writing to attend Purdue University, she graduated in 1972 with a B.Sc. in biology. After graduation, she held a variety of odd jobs, including security guard and artist's model, before ending up, almost by accident, as a computer programmer. In 1982, she moved to Tulsa and went to work for American Airlines. She also began to write again, eventually striking up a correspondence with writer Marion Zimmer Bradley. In 1985, Lackey's first story was published in an anthology edited by Bradley. Lackey had long been involved in the somewhat nefarious world of science fiction conventions and gatherings, and began to write song lyrics to be performed at these events. Originally, she began to compose songs about scenes she was writing in order to strip down the writing to the barest minimum and get a handle on what she really wanted to say--a technique she continues to use. Her songs proved very popular (over 50 of them have been set to music and recorded!), and one attracted the attention of writer C. J. Cherryh, who encouraged Lackey to write her first novel, 1987s ARROWS OF THE QUEEN. That book turned out to be the first in what was to be the lengthy, and on-going, Valdemar series. A prolific and popular writer, Lackey has written, or co-written, more than 50 books since 1982, and she shows no signs of slowing down.
|Soon after his birth, Stephen R. Donaldson moved with his parents--a medical missionary and a prosthetist--from Cleveland, Ohio to India, where his father worked extensively with lepers. Returning to the U.S. in 1963, Donaldson attended the College of Wooster, where he received a B.A. in 1968, followed by an M.A. from Kent State University in 1971. Shortly thereafter, he began work on THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT. Clearly inspired by his time in India, it tells the story of a leper drawn into an alternate reality, where, much to his annoyance, he is expected to be a hero. The manuscript completed, Donaldson began sending the book to publishers alphabetically. It was rejected by every one. As a last-ditch effort, he re-sent it to Ballantine Books, the publisher of Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS, a series to which Donaldson felt his work bore some similarities as far as structure and style. As luck would have it, Ballantine had hired a new editor since the previous mailing, and together they came up with some extensive changes, which Donaldson then used to revise the book. It appeared in 1977, split into three volumes, to great acclaim. Eventually becoming a six-book series, the Covenant books comprise Donaldson's major work to date. His five-volume Gap series was also met with considerable fanfare. In addition to these titles and a handful of other books, Donaldson has written short stories and, under a pseudonym, several detective novels.