Friday, August 22, 2008

Author Spotlight: Megan Whalen Turner

Megan Whalen Turner writes fantasy fiction for young adults. Her titles include a collection of short stories, as well as The Thief trilogy - the first of which (The Thief) won a Newbery Honor in 1997. However, her journey through the world of children's writing has not been a straight path.

At ten years old, Mrs. Turner says she read many wonderful books, until she "couldn't easily find more." So, she decided to be a writer herself, despite the fact that reading seemed far more interesting to her than writing. Story ideas never materialized, though, and she dropped the idea.

She hadn't given writing another thought until her third year of college, when it came time to choose a field and begin a senior project. She chose to study children's literature, and wrote some of her own, but it didn't go well, in her opinion. Upon receiving a BA with honors in English language and literature from the University of Chicago in 1987, she again abandoned writing, choosing instead to become a children's book buyer - a job she kept for seven years.

When her husband's research grant necessitated a move to California, Mrs. Turner left children's book buying behind and went back to writing. This time she met with success. She wrote several short stories, which she submitted to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow. Turner saw them as writing samples, "hoping to interest Greenwillow in a novel if I ever wrote one." Hirschman saw them differently, and the result was the 1995 publication of Instead of Three Wishes, a collection of seven short stories. 

Thereafter came the trilogy: The Thief (1996), The Queen of Attolia (2000), and The King of Attolia (2006). A fourth Thief book is presently in the works.

Megan Whalen Turner and her English professor husband have three children. They often relocate when her husband needs to do research.

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