Tamora Pierce was born in 1954 in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania, deep in the heart of coal country. Pierce's mother pursued her college degree while Tamora and her two sisters, Kimberly and Melanie, were still very young. Pierce's father worked for the phone company, a job that resulted in the family's relocation to San Mateo, California, in 1963.
Pierce developed a love of reading at an early age. Her poor but supportive family supplied her with books of all types, which she readily devoured. Recognizing her love of good stories, Pierce's father suggested she try writing her own. She began writing short stories when she was in the sixth grade. She credits her seventh grade English teacher for introducing her to J. R. R. Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Through these books she discovered the power of fantasy fiction to transport readers into imaginary realms. However, even as she sought solace in worlds of fantasy during the emotionally trying times of adolescence, she recognized the lack of strong female protagonists in the books she read. This realization planted the seeds for the heroes of her novels.
Pierce and her sisters moved back to Pennsylvania with their mother when her parents divorced in 1969. Her affinity for fantasy and science fiction grew as she looked for...
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