(E.J. Braswell, Elizabeth J. Braswell, Liz Braswell, Tracy Lynn, J.B. Stephens, Celia Thomson, a house pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Born in Birmingham, England; married. Education: Brown University, degree (with honors). Hobbies and other interests: Skiing.
CAREER: Microsoft Corp., technical support engineer; Harcourt Brace (publishers), assistant editor; producer of video games in New York, NY; writer.
(Under pseudonym Tracy Lynn) Snow (novel), Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2003.
"NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING" SERIES; UNDER HOUSE PSEUDONYM CELIA THOMSON
The Fallen, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
The Stolen, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2004.
The Chosen, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2005.
Author, under name J.B. Stephens, of books in "The Big Empty" series; and under name E.J. Braswell, of a book on car care. Contributor, under name Liz Braswell, to Amazing Stories.
SIDELIGHTS: Elizabeth Braswell established herself as a successful producer of video games before branching out into a second career as an author. As a game producer, Braswell had the responsibility of hiring all the talent to create the art, dialog, and voices that would make up the finished project, and she was responsible for pulling all the parts together into a cohesive whole. Some of her best-known projects includes those based on the Star Trek television and movie series, including a Star Trek Encyclopedia and a game that allowed players to design their own starship and then see how well it performed on missions. Discussing her work with an interviewer for Game Girlz, Braswell commented that it is much harder for women to advance in the gaming field than it is for men. Asked for advice on breaking into the field, she replied: "You have to be organized and be able to think ahead, but also understand the latest trends in computing, the basics of game design, and have an eye for what works on a screen and what won't. You have to know or learn how to negotiate, when to scream, plead, bribe or destroy. You have to be able to talk with programmers as well as agents and studio heads. You have to know how to write well." She stated that while it may be unfair, it is true that women must work harder to be taken seriously and to make the same gains as men: "Gaming guys can get away with being a little kooky; they're expected to," while a woman must "be prepared to act like a mundane, a norm, a straight, a what-have-you…. It's not fair, but that's the way it is. My second piece of advice applies to women in all fields: Speak up. Men often get what they want just because they ask. It's that simple. Don't take their first offer. Don't back down off the phone. Don't back away when someone gets into your space."
Braswell's first book, Snow, is an imaginative retelling of the classic fairy tale Snow White. Snow, published under the pseudonym Tracy Lynn, takes a new look at the character of the evil stepmother, posing questions about her motivation for persecuting her stepdaughter. Braswell's Snow White character is named Jessica, and the story is set in Wales and London, where the seven dwarfs are replaced by five London pickpockets, who also happen to be human-animal hybrids. The stepmother is a brilliant and vain woman who finds she is not taken seriously, despite her scientific expertise, simply because of her gender. Connie C. Rockman, a reviewer for School Library Journal, noted that "Lynn delves deeply into the psychological underpinnings of the folktale while maintaining a fast-paced plot with ingenious twists and turns."
Writing under the pseudonym Celia Thomson, Braswell created a supernatural fantasy involving the Mai, a group of people with catlike powers. The Fallen, The Stolen, and The Chosen are all titles in the "Nine Lives of Chloe King" series. The Fallen chronicles Chloe's discovery of her feline heritage, which becomes obvious around the time of her sixteenth birthday. While her agility, strength, and other cat-powers increase her confidence, Chloe is caught up in a conflict between two boyfriends, one representing the human world and the other a member of the Mai. In The Stolen, Chloe continues to try to understand her special gifts, while striving to keep a ruthless group known as the Tenth Blade from harming her and others like her. Erin Darr, a contributor to Kliatt, noted that Braswell's "creative ideas and use of Egyptian mythology are a winning combination."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of The Fallen, p. 542.
Kliatt, July, 2003, Deborah Kaplan, review of Snow, p. 33; September, 2004, Erin Darr, review of The Fallen and The Stolen, p. 33; January, 2005, Erin Darr, review of The Chosen, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly, March 10, 2003, review of Snow, p. 73.
School Library Journal, August, 2003, Connie C. Rockman, review of Snow, p. 162; April, 2004, review of Snow, p. S64; September, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Fallen, p. 218; November, 2004, Ginny Collier, review of The Stolen, p. 155.
Elizabeth Braswell Home Page, http://www.tracy-lynn.com (May 5, 2005).
Game Girlz Web site, http://www.gamegirlz.com/ (May 5, 2005), interview with Braswell.