Growing up, I was the kid with her nose in a book, usually of the magical variety. And y’know what? They taught me a lot about what a girl can do when she’s stubborn, brave, and never gives in to people who tell her she can’t. From grade school to high school, here are ten fantasy authors who inspired me.
9. Diane Duane
Most famous for her “Young Wizards” series, including “So You Want To Be A Wizard.” This author convinced me I could talk to trees. Her books are another great example of how being a hero isn’t about being a guy or a gal, just a person who stands up to the dark in the world.
7. Anne McCaffrey
Anne McCaffery’s world-building is fascinating- if you haven’t heard of Pern, you haven’t been reading sic-fi/fantasy for very long. She wrote male and female characters that had both flaws and the potential for greatness inside them. They struggled through hardship and came out the stronger for it. One of my favorites was always Menolly, who in “Dragonsong” refuses to let her society’s perceptions about gender hold her back from using her talents.
3. Patricia C. Wrede
When you don’t fit in the role your world chooses for you, choose your own. Have you considered being a dragon’s captive princess? It can be surprisingly rewarding. Go forth and read Wrede’s “Enchanted Forest Chronicles.” You won’t be disappointed.
2. Mercedes Lackey
One of Mercedes Lackey’s true talents, besides a flair for world-building and crafting a tale worthy of the best of Harpers, is that she can write from a slew of different perspectives. I always felt like I was stepping into the shoes of her characters, regardless of their gender, age, abilities, station, or sexuality. Her world of Valdemar is huge, spanning centuries, and really, really good. I’m also really fond of her historical fantasy. Her “Elemental Masters” series is awesome. And “Bedlam’s Bard”!
1. Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce is probably most famous for her “Song of the Lioness,” “The Immortals,” “Protector of the Small,” and “Circle of Magic” quartets. Her character Alanna was my hero growing up, with all her bravery, flaws, and badassery. She taught me that a girl should NEVER let anyone use gender as an excuse for exclusion. Pierce is a wonderful, engaging storyteller and world-builder, and will remain a favorite author on my bookshelf.
How about you?
These are my personal favorites: which fantasy authors were you reading growing up?