Tamora Pierce - May 2009

 Tamora Pierce

I admit to being somewhat biased about this author.  Tamora Pierce (Tammy to friends and fans) is one of my all-time favorite authors.  I eagerly, but impatiently, await each new book.  Tammy writes strong female characters without having her male characters suffer.  She Takes real issues facing girls and translates them into extraordinary stories that stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.  I cannot recommend her too highly to anyone looking for a fantastic author!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara

Which volume of the encyclopedia is your favorite?

 

Tammy

Hm.  Maybe “M”: “mammals” and “medieval life”?  I loved “D” in our encyclopedia when I was a kid, because it had pictures of dolls from all over the world.  C has “cats,” “Crusades,” “castles,” “Civil War (American),” and “China,” more of my favorites.  Maybe C.  For now, anyway.

 

Sara

What is the most unusual animal you have ever seen in the park?

 

Tammy

A guinea fowl.  For some reason one flew into Riverside Park two years in a row and hung out beside my park ranger friend’s station for about a week both times.  Neither of us could figure out where it came from!

 

Sara

Do you have a favorite character out of everyone in your books?

 

Tammy

Not really—if the character takes more than a few lines, they each have appeal for me.  I love most of my villains because they have no problems with doing just as they like, not caring what happens as a result.  I could never do that, so I enjoy doing it through the villains.  I love Kel because she’s so solid and sensible; she’s very calming to work with.  I love Daine, Sandry, and Beka for their common sense, too, even though they all display it in different ways.  I love Briar for his wit and good cheer and the fact that he is always going to think of a thief’s solution first.  I love Evvy because she says what she thinks, and because she taught me to love stones.  I love the darkings—who doesn’t?—and Zek the marmoset, but I also love the Stormwings, who are so majestic in their frightfulness (like eagles), and hyenas, who have beautiful eyes and voices.  Aly was a bit more of a struggle, because I discovered I was more like her mother than I thought, and I got impatient with Aly’s manipulativeness and her evasiveness.  Then I saw her go to work for something she believed in, and I felt better about her.  I adore Taybur Sibigat, who seems so open and cheerful, and who’s so devoted, and Kyprioth (based on my friend, the writer Bruce Coville).

 

You see what I mean?  I just can’t decide!

 

Sara

Do you have a literary guilty pleasure?

 

Tammy

Not really.  There are two kinds of books that other people are shocked that I read: military histories, and true crime books.  I get plenty of ideas from both, and I’m interested in how wars are fought, countries are occupied, crimes are committed, and criminals are caught.  Everyone expects a kids’ writer to read mostly adult fiction and kids’ fiction, I don’t know why!

 

Sara

Do you remember what you bought with your first royalty check?  Will you tell us?

 

Tammy

I’m not exactly sure, but given my usual shopping habits, I probably bought books and paid bills.  I always buy books!

 

Sara

Your books have been through several styles of cover art from the photos on the Beka Cooper books and the Trickster's series to the various drawn illustrations on the other books.  Do you have a favorite style or particular cover?

 

Tammy

With Beka, my books haven’t been through so many editions that I have much variety.  I like the photo covers, and while I miss

having a full picture of Beka for BLOODHOUND, I think the bars of color with the photo of Beka in the middle is really striking.  It works for me.  I love the Trickster covers with the Joyce Tenneson photos a great deal, and the Protector of the Small reissues with Tenneson covers for the same.  I’ve pretty much liked nearly all of my other book covers—Joyce Patti’s covers for my Random House paperbacks and Merilee Heyer’s art for the Simon & Schuster hardcover were great!

 

My absolute favorites, though, came from two artists.  The first three Alanna hardcovers, when the books were published by Atheneum, were done by David Wiesner, who is now a Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book writer and illustrator.  They caught the spirit of the book.  On the cover of IN THE HAND OF THE GODDESS, he put in a detail, a face in the stone over the inside of the doorway into the Chamber of the Ordeal, that shocked the heck out of me.  I’d never told anyone about that face, and it isn’t in the book—but David knew it was there.

 

My other favorite is another David—British artist David Wyatt.  He did the covers for the first release of the Immortals in the U.K.  I loved them so much that when Simon & Schuster asked them if I could recommend an artist for the current release of The Song of the Lioness in paperback, I recommended David Wyatt.  That very intense redhead on the covers with the black border?  That’s his work!

 

You can see the Wiesner and Wyatt covers, as well as the foreign ones, on my webpage, in the galleries, and decide for yourselves!

 

Sara

Do you think that you'll do any more comics? 

 

Tammy

Not in the near future.  It’s a lot of work with a lot of people involved, and it requires input on a daily basis.  I can’t do it while I work on a novel.  I’m still trying to catch up on my writing schedule.  Also, I don’t like working when I’m not the only creative voice.  Too many people argue with me!  I’m too accustomed to having things my own way.  That sounds selfish and conceited, but I’ve gotten to where I am by developing a unique way of seeing the world and dealing with creative problems that works really well for me.

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