|Apart from a single high school semester in Australia, author Barbara Hambly spent her youth in Montclair, California. She became interested in fantasy after reading THE WIZARD OF OZ at an early age, soon moving on to Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. The influence of both of these works is evident in her own fiction, which contains many subtle (and some not so subtle) references to them. She studied Medieval History at the University of California, Riverside and earned her masters degree in 1975. After leaving school, Hambly held a variety of jobs, everything from a high school teacher, clerk at a liquor store, and karate instructor (she is a black belt in Shotokan Karate). Her first published work was THE TIME OF THE DARK, in 1982. It became the first volume of her popular Darwath Trilogy--not one to be constrained by the term 'trilogy,' she wrote the fourth (!) volume of the series, MOTHER OF WINTER, in 1996, 13 years after the "concluding" episode, THE ARMIES OF DAYLIGHT. Since that first book, she has written a number of further novels, the majority of them as parts of various series--Sun-Wolf, Sun Cross, and the Windrose Chronicles to name a few--as well as writing for several shared world series--Star Wars. Star Trek, Beauty and the Beast. In 1997, she began a mystery series with A FREE MAN OF COLOR. Its sequel, FEVER SEASON was a New York Times Notable Book of 1998. Also in 1998, she married author George Alec Effinger.