Tamora Pierce began writing in sixth grade to escape from her parents’ disintegrating marriage. A fan of heroic fantasy, she began writing stories that featured fearless, bold, female protagonists because those characters were lacking in the books she loved to read.
Fast forward to 1983, when her first book, “Alanna: The First Adventure,” was published in hardcover by Atheneum. Since then, she has written 28 fantasy novels for teens, the most recent of which is “Mastiff.”
The New York Times bestselling author will speak at the West Virginia Book Festival at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Charleston Civic Center. She joins a slate of speakers featuring Charlaine Harris, author of the “Sookie Stackhouse” series; Christopher Wilkinson, author of “Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia”; and Marilyn Sue Shank, author of “Child of the Mountains.”
Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pa., into a long, proud line of hillbillies. While her family didn’t have much money, they did have plenty of books, and books continue to be the main yardstick by which she measures true wealth.
Crediting her fans with her success, Tammy loves the chance to go on tour and thank them in person. “Struggling along as a kid and even through my 20s, it’s the kind of life I dreamed of but never believed I would get. And I never take it for granted.” She hopes her books inspire her readers with the feeling that they too can do anything if they want it badly enough. She now lives in Syracuse, N.Y., with her husband Tim Liebe.
The 12th annual West Virginia Book Festival will be held Oct. 13 and 14. The two-day event celebrates books and reading and offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and panel discussions. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free.
The event is presented by The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., Kanawha County Public Library, the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail and is sponsored by The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, Pam Tarr and Gary Hart and Books-A-Million. For more information, visit www.wvbookfestival.org.