where i am and where i've been

Carol Berg I am a writer of epic fantasy novels: fourteen published, one in progress, and others bubbling up from wherever the ideas come from. So, where did I come from? Though my home is at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, my roots are in Texas in a family of teachers, musicians, and railroad men. What can I say - I loved school. A real grade grubber. But mostly I loved reading. Hot Texas summers were perfect for reading science fiction authors Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, as well as classics, mysteries, spy thrillers, and historicals by the likes of Jane Austen, Len Deighton, Charles Dickens, Dorothy Sayers, Mary Renault, and Mary Stewart. I always had a soft spot for mythology and "otherworld" stories like Alice in Wonderland and adventure stories. I even read westerns when I didn't have anything else. Mysteries and historicals remain among my favorite reading. (See my favorites for some books that I can't stop reading no matter how many times I turn the pages.)

Inspired by the US space program, I charged off to Rice University, determined to have a career in science and engineering. But I also chose to take every English course offered that listed novels on the syllabus - just so I would have time to keep reading. I graduated with a degree in Mathematics and a pot full of hours in English and History of Art. And it was my college roommate that loaned me the copy of Lord of the Rings that changed my life...eventually. (It is so cool that she reads my books now!)

After teaching high school math for several years, I stayed home to raise three sons, finding time to teach childbirth classes, camp, hike, bike, read a lot of books - including a lot of fantasy - and get another degree, this time in computer science from the University of Colorado. For seventeen years I worked as a software engineer for Hewlett-Packard Company - a great company that gave me the elbow room to pursue this writing thing as it began to take more and more of my time. A few years into the engineering career, a good friend of mine teased me into writing fiction. The hobby got out of control and in 1999, I sold three novels to New American Library/Roc Books, who remains my US publisher. I parted ways with HP in 2002 - most amicably - to become a full time writer, leaving behind many, many friends scattered throughout the company.

Since Transformation was published in 2000, my novels have won the Prism Award for best romantic fantasy, the Geffen Award for translated fantasy, and multiple Colorado Book Awards. They have been short-listed for the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award and for the Barnes and Noble Maiden Voyage Award, both given for the best first science fiction/fantasy/horror novel and for the Romantic Times Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award for epic fantasy. A high point was summer of 2009 when the Lighthouse Duet - Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone - won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, joining the works of Patricia McKillip, Ursula Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, Poul Anderson, Ellen Kushner, and J.R.R.Tolkien himself, the very books that sit on my bookshelves. It was a humbling moment. The most amazing piece of all this is the fact that this confirmed introvert has found herself speaking at science fiction conventions, writers' conferences, and other writing events all over the world. Amazing what you can do when you find the right place. I love talking about writing, teaching, and hearing from readers all over the world that my stories have touched their lives in some way, even if it's just taking them somewhere else for a while.

My husband Pete is a mechanical engineer with his own consulting business and enough hardware hobbies to supply a small town. Our three sons are out of the nest - and have turned into pretty cool, multi-talented human beings wrapped up in music and teaching, software and carpentry, and rocket science and ice hockey.

Favorites
The requisite list of favorite reads (in no particular order).

  • The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters, creator of Brother Cadfael)
  • Price and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
  • Mary Renault's The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, Fire from Heaven, and The Persian Boy
  • The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart
  • Mysteries by Dorothy Sayers, P.D. James, Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The first Amber series by Roger Zelazny (Nine Princes...et al)
  • The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The True Game series by Sheri Tepper
  • Thrillers by Len Deighton and John LeCarre
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

The book I would most like to have written? One candidate is certainly Edith Pargeter's The Heaven Tree Trilogy--a magnificent historical adventure with some of the most marvelous characters I've ever met, and an emotional artistry that leaves me in awe.


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Copyright © Carol Berg, 2014


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