Tamora Pierce is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous fantasy novels for young people, including The Will of the Empress and the acclaimed Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens quartets. Tamora was born on December 13, 1954. She and her family moved around a lot, but she spent most of her childhood in Pennsylvania. Her father introduced her to writing, and by the time she was in the seventh grade, she was writing her own fiction, poems, and plays. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a BA in liberal arts in 1976. In her junior year of college, Tamora published her first short story, which inspired her to take a writing class her senior year. She moved to Manhattan to pursue a publishing career, where her agent convinced her to turn a novel she had written her first year after college into four children's books. Tamora's fantasy novels for young readers are noted for their strong female protagonists and their imaginative, well-drawn plots. She enjoys writing for teenagers because she hopes to be helping kids in that difficult age group. She attributes her success to her writing mentors and authors she read growing up. She is actively trying to create more female role models through her works. She says that “guy heroes” still greatly outnumber “girl heroes.” It is not that she has anything against males, and boys often play strong, positive roles in her books. However, she wants to let girls know that they “too can get out there and DO things right along with guys.” A woman with wide-ranging interests, Tamora continues to focus her research in specific areas, many of which eventually become incorporated into her fantasy novels for teens. For instance, she is interested in medieval customs; she studies Japanese, Central Asian, and Arabic history and culture, the American Civil War, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. She visits schools as often as she can in order to meet her readers, and reading remains her own favorite pastime. She belongs to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Authors Guild. Tamora Pierce lives in New York state with her husband, Tim. Visit her website at www.tamora-pierce.com.