Biography

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 379

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was born on September 15, 1942, in Berkeley, California, to a cartographer and an artist. After attending San Francisco State College for three years, she became a cartographer in the family business in 1963, where she worked until the business failed in 1970. She then dedicated herself to writing, to occult interests (such as providing professional tarot and Ouija board readings), and to composing musical works. Her pursuit of matters occult and metaphysical has led to the production of several nonfiction works—Messages from Michael on the Nature of the Evolution of the Human Soul (1979), More Messages from Michael (1986), and Michael's People (1988) as well as such musical compositions as "Stabat Mater," "Alpha and Omega," and "Mythologies."

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Yarbro is chiefly known for her adult fiction, especially the best-selling "Saint-Germain" series, which recounts the adventures of the immortal yet humanly sympathetic vampire, Count Ragoczy de Saint-Germain. Each of the five novels in this series—Hotel Transylvania (1978), The Palace (1979), Blood Games (1980), Path of the Eclipse (1981), and Tempting Fate (1982)—relates the count's romances and suffering during a particular historical period; these periods range all the way from the time of ancient Rome to the middle of the twentieth century. Fantasy, gothic horror, and meticulously researched history combine in these and other works by Yarbro to produce unique examples of intelligent and well-crafted contemporary popular fiction. Horror and science fiction are the two genres Yarbro seems to favor in her works for adult audiences, just as she prefers historical fiction in her writing for young adults. Indeed, she has contributed to such diverse collections as Carl Mason's Anthropology Through Science Fiction (1974) and Bernard Hollister's textbook, You and Science Fiction (1976), series (Shadows, Horrors, and Ghouls! for example) edited by Charles L. Grant. In 1973 her novelette, "The Ghosts at Iron River," was placed on the Mystery Writers of America scroll, as was Floating Illusions in 1986. In addition, several of her pieces—two novels, The Palace (1979) and Ariosto (1980), and two short stories, "Cabin 33" (1980) and "Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?" (1987)—received the honor of being nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Locadio's Apprentice was her first venture into the field of fiction for younger readers; this effort was soon followed by two other works—Four Horses for Tishtry and Floating Illusions—aimed specifically at this same audience.

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