Bohnhoff, Maya Kaathryn 1954-

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BOHNHOFF, Maya Kaathryn 1954-

PERSONAL: Born February 9, 1954, in Davis, CA; daughter of Henry Theodore (in the Air Force) and Mae Jean (a vocalist; maiden name, Wessa) Harber; married Jeffrey Bohnhoff (a musician), June 20, 1981; children: Alex Sumner, Kristine Avery, Amanda. Education: Attended Sierra College. Politics: "Staunchly Independent." Religion: Baha'i. Hobbies and other interests: History, religion, computers, music, archaeology, psychology, pencil drawing.

ADDRESSES: Office—Mystic Fig Records, 14708 Echo Ridge Dr., Nevada City, CA 95959. Agent—Ashley Grayson Literary Agency, 1342 18th St., San Pablo, CA 90732. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and instructional software designer. Kelly Services, Nevada City, CA, manager of instructional design, 1994–95; formerly director of development, ComTrain, Inc. (developers of training software). Singer/songwriter with husband, Jeff Bohnhoff. Member, Local Spiritual Assembly of Nevada County, S.W.

MEMBER: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Sierra Writers of Nevada County, Suburban Writers of Sacramento.

AWARDS, HONORS: The Meri was included in Locus's Top 10 First Novels and "Recommended Reading" lists, 1992.

WRITINGS:

The Meri, Baen (New York, NY), 1992.

Taminy, Baen (New York, NY), 1993.

The Crystal Rose, Baen (New York, NY), 1995.

The Spirit Gate, Baen (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Marc Scott Zicree) Magic Time: Angelfire, EOS (New York, NY), 2002.

Author, with Jeff Bohnhoff, of lyrics to three CDs, Manhattan Sleeps, Retro Rocket Science, and Aliens Ate My Homework, Mystic Fig Records. Contributor of short fiction to anthologies and periodicals, including Amazing Stories, Analog, Century, and Writer's Digest.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Cave of Souls, a fantasy sequel to The Spirit Gate; Taco Del and the Fabled Tree of Destiny, a novel of future fantasy; research on history of the Catholic Church, Mongol-settled lands, virtual reality, computer security programming, and law enforcement methodology.

SIDELIGHTS: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has written several fantasy novels for young readers as well as numerous science-fiction short stories. Her first attempt at creating a fantasy world was the novel The Meri. This story features a bright, tenacious female protagonist named Meredydd, and the pilgrimage she undertakes in order to win the right to visit the Meri. The Meri is a goddess who guards the path to the divine spirit of the land of Caraid. Caraid is again the setting for Bohnhoff's novels Taminy and The Crystal Rose, in which other spiritually gifted young women strive to help their fellow Caraidans, battling against patriarchy, self-doubt, and religious persecution.

Bohnhoff collaborated with Marc Scott Zicree on the novel Magic Time: Angelfire, the second in a series of "Magic Time" books. Her "graceful storytelling" is an asset to the "fast-paced fantasy," according to Library Journal contributor Jackie Cassada. The tale brings epic adventure to an urban setting, in a time when civilization has collapsed, technology is in ruins, and magic has once again come to the fore. Humans have altered into creatures that embody their highest virtues and deepest vices. A small group of people led by Cal Griffin, who once practiced as a lawyer, are traveling across a transformed United States, following visions as they search for his lost sister. The climax comes when they reach Chicago and face a creature of "darkness and evil," explained Cassada. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly recommended the book, finding it an "engrossing" and "intelligent" quest tale.

"I prefer the soft sciences to the 'hard' ones," Bohnhoff once explained. "Sociology, psychology, archaeology, anthropology—these are the areas I like to explore in my stories. I'm more interested in what goes on inside a character than outside and I'm less intrigued by technology than in our reaction to it and use of it. I find religion particularly interesting and I like to explore how a character's—or a culture's—spiritual nature affects thought and behavior.

"My fiction often explores the human psyche and how it responds to different situations: the advent of world peace, homelessness, genetic disorders, being constantly uprooted for the sake of a parent's career, the advent of a prophet or Avatar, encroaching insanity, the commission of an act of great evil or great good. The series of fantasies completed by my third novel—The Meri, Taminy, and The Crystal Rose—explore a number of spiritual issues—the appearance of a divine messenger, the nature of spirituality and the female struggle for equality among them."

In working on her novels, Bohnhoff maps a flow chart of events that the plot will include, which is then developed into a fuller outline of the story. "The most important thing about the product of my writing process is getting the emotional content of the scenes taking place on the page," she stated. "That's hard for me, because my natural inclination is to edit myself as I write, struggling for just the right word or turn of phrase. To keep myself from falling into that trap, I keep the words of Ray Bradbury in mind at all times. To wit, DON'T THINK. Writing is one thing, editing is another. Get down the emotions, the atmosphere, the essence of what you are going to say. Get down the ideas and sift through for the right words later."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact, December 15, 1990, Jay Kay Klein, "Biolog," p. 57.

Kliatt, September, 1993, p. 15.

Library Journal, December, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Angelfire, p. 185.

Locus, March, 1992, p. 34; August, 1993, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 2002, review of Angelfire, p. 67.

Starlog, December, 1995, p. 60.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1992, p. 172.