Doyle, Debra 1952-

views updated

DOYLE, Debra 1952-

(Nicholas Adams, a joint pseudonym, Victor Appleton, a joint pseudonym, Martin Delrio, a joint pseudonym, Robyn Tallis, a joint pseudonym)

PERSONAL: Born 1952, in FL; married James D. Macdonald (Doyle's writing collaborator and a former navy officer), August 5, 1978; children: Katherine, Brendan, Peregrine, Alexander. Education: University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.; also educated in Florida, Texas, and Arkansas.

ADDRESSES: Home—127 Main St., Colebrook, NH 03576. Agent—Russ Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, 381 Park Avenue S., New York, NY 10016. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Science-fiction and fantasy novelist. Computer Assisted Learning Center, teacher of fiction writing.

AWARDS, HONORS: Aslan Award for young adult literature, Mythopoeic Society, 1992, and Books for the Teen Age selection, New York Public Library, 1993, both for Knight's Wyrd.



School of Wizardry, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

Tournament and Tower, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

City by the Sea, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

The Prince's Players, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

The Prisoners of Bell Castle, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

The High King's Daughter, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.


The Price of the Stars, Tor (New York, NY), 1992.

Starpilot's Grave, Tor (New York, NY), 1993.

By Honor Betray'd, Tor (New York, NY), 1994.

The Gathering Flame, Tor (New York, NY), 1995.

The Long Hunt, Tor (New York, NY), 1996.

The Stars Asunder, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.

A Working of Stars, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.


Bad Blood, Berkley (New York, NY), 1993.

Hunters' Moon, Berkley (New York, NY), 1994.

Judgment Night, Berkley (New York, NY), 1995.


Timecrime, Inc. (Robert Silverberg's "Time Tours" #3), Harper (New York, NY), 1991.

Night of the Living Rat (Daniel Pinkwater's "Melvinge of the Megaverse" #2), Ace (New York, NY), 1992.

Knight's Wyrd, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1992.

Groogleman, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1996.

Requiem for Boone (Gene Roddenberry's "Earth—Final Conflict" #3), Tor (New York, NY), 2000.


Night of Ghosts and Lightning (Planet Builders #2), Ivy (New York, NY), 1989.

Zero-Sum Games (Planet Builders #5), Ivy (New York, NY), 1989.


Pep Rally (Horror High #7), Harper (New York, NY), 1991.


Monster Machine (Tom Swift #5), Archway Paperback, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Aquatech Warriors (Tom Swift #6), Archway Paperback, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.


Mortal Kombat (movie novelizations: adult and young adult versions), Tor (New York, NY), 1995.

Spider-Man Super-Thriller: Midnight Justice, Byron Preiss Multimedia/Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Spider-Man Super-Thriller: Global War, Byron Press Multimedia/Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Prince Valiant (movie novelization), Avon (New York, NY), 1997.

Contributor, with James D. Macdonald, of short stories to anthologies, including "Bad Blood" in Werewolves, edited by Yolen & Greenberg, Harper Junior Books (New York, NY), 1988; "Nobody Has to Know" in Vampires, edited by Yolen & Greenberg, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991; "The Last Real New Yorker in the World" in Newer York, edited by Lawrence Watt-Evans, Roc (New York, NY), 1991; "Now and in the Hour of Our Death" in Alternate Kennedys, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg, editors, Tor (New York, NY), 1992; "Uncle Joshua and the Grooglemen" in Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters, edited by Bruce Coville, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993; "Why They Call It That" in Swashbuckling Editor Stories, edited by John Betancourt, Wildside Press, 1993; "The Queen's Mirror" in A Wizard's Dozen, edited by Michael Stearns, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1995; "Crossover" in A Starfarer's Dozen, edited by Michael Stearns, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1995; "Witch Garden" in Witch Fantastic, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg, DAW (New York, NY), 1995; "Holly and Ivy" in Camelot, edited by Jane Yolen, Philomel (New York, NY), 1995; "Please to See the King" in The Book of Kings, edited by Richard Gilliam and Martin Greenberg, Roc (New York, NY), 1995; "Stealing God" in Tales of the Knights Templar, edited by Katherine Kurtz, Warner (New York, NY), 1995; "Ecdysis" in Otherwere, edited by Laura Anne Gilman and Keith R. A. DeCandido, Berkley/Ace (New York, NY), 1996; "Up the Airy Mountain" in A Nightmare's Dozen, edited by Michael Stearns, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1996; "Jenny Nettles" in Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers, edited by Bruce Coville, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996; "Block G-18" in High-Tech Wars #2, edited by Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr.

Contributor of "The Last God of Dura Europus," parts I and II, to the comic book Timewalker #10, Valiant Comics, April, 1995, and of "We Who Are about to Die" to the comic book Timewalker #15, Valiant Comics, June, 1995.

WORK IN PROGRESS: The novel City of Dreadful Night, Tor (New York, NY); untitled "Mageworlds" novel number 8.

SIDELIGHTS: Debra Doyle, along with her husband and coauthor James D. Macdonald, issued six fantasy novels in one series in one year's time. In 1990 their "Circle of Magic" series, about a young boy wizard, predated J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books by nearly a decade. (The series was reissued in 2000, likely to capitalize on the "Potter" craze.) "Circle of Magic" were the first novels the duo published under their own names; previously, they had published a pair under the pseudonym Robyn Tallis for Ivy's "Planet Builders" series.

Doyle grew up in Florida, then studied in other locales, eventually receiving a doctorate in Old English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. While living and studying in Philadelphia, she met Macdonald, who was then serving with the Navy. (Over fifteen years MacDonald was promoted from enlisted man to officer.) In the intervening years, the pair traveled to Virginia, California, and Panama, acquiring "various children, cats and computers" along the way, Doyle once commented. The couple and their four children eventually settled in a rambling nineteenth-century Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, where the authors also collaborate equally in the chopping of firewood.

According to an interview with, Macdonald writes the first drafts, then gives them to Doyle for revising and stylistic improving. "I have final say on the plot and characters, she has final say on the words and descriptions," Macdonald elaborated. This working arrangement has produced dozens of stories and novels for adults, young adults, and children, under their authors' own and pen names. Some works have been entries in fantasy or science-fiction series; others have been novelizations of the computer game-based movie Mortal Kombat and the comic-book-based movie Prince Valiant, as well as "Spiderman" comic book stories; there have even been a couple of "Tom Swift" adventure novels. The pair have also written novels within series created by other writers, namely Robert Silverberg and Daniel Pinkwater.

The duo's "Mageworlds" series, begun in 1992, combines "magic, space opera and time travel," according to a Publishers Weekly critic who reviewed the 1999 entry, The Stars Asunder. The worlds of the Mage are star systems linked by magic. Those Mage who have trained in the Way are allowed access to the colonization of new worlds; along the way, brutal Magewars ensue. In The Stars Asunder, the authors go back in Mage history to explain "the origins of the Magewars and the apprenticeship and growth" of series hero 'Rehke, noted the Publishers Weekly contributor. A Working of Stars covers "a rousing attempt to reunite an entire galaxy" that's been held hostage by sinister forces. Leading the charge is Arekhon, "exiled from his native Eraasian system to the far side of the Gap Between," as Booklist's Roland Green described it. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that for readers uninitiated in the ways of the Mage, "arriving in the middle of this complicated series can be daunting." However, added the reviewer, Doyle and Macdonald offer "plenty of action in this rapid-fire blend of sorcery and [science fiction]."

In 2000 Doyle and Macdonald contributed a book to the Star Trek-inspired "Earth—The Final Conflict" series. A Requiem for Boone centers on Major Will Boone, who finds himself caught up in the imminent arrival on Earth of the alien Taelons. Boone and his wife, computer wizard Kate, use strategy and technology to deal with the greater threat, an alien-resistance organization hoping to capitalize on alien-induced panic to take over the globe. "There are wheels within wheels and conspiracies within conspiracies" in this novel, remarked a Publishers Weekly writer. Green, in another Booklist piece, praised A Requiem for Boone as a "sound technothriller that rises above being just that, thanks to skillful characterization."

The duo wrote two notable novels unconnected to any series. Knight's Wyrd, published in 1992, is a knights-in-armor fantasy involving magic. In it, young Will Odosson must find his wyrd—his destiny. When he finds out that his destiny is doom, he travels bravely to meet it, with complex and adventurous results. The New York Public Library put this novel on its 1993 Books for the Teen Age list, and the novel won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for children's literature in 1992; the book also received enthusiastic praise from Horn Book and School Library Journal reviewers.

The team's other important solo novel was the 1996 production Groogleman, which takes place in a quasi-medieval culture that has developed after an unspecified technological collapse of contemporary civilization. Young hero Dan Henchard possesses weller's blood, a kind of inherited immunity and healing ability. After Dan heals a stranger named Joshua, the two, along with local healer Leezie, travel to a nearby village to do more healing and find the environment terrorized by grooglemen. The nature of the mysterious grooglemen, and of the culture's past, is hinted at in interchapters. Reviewing the novel for School Library Journal, Susan L. Rogers called it a "successful" example of its genre: "Dan and Joshua quickly become sympathetic and interesting characters on a desperate journey through a foreboding landscape." Janice M. Del Negro, a reviewer for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, admired the writing for conveying the sensory qualities of the setting and felt that Dan was "a believable adolescent in a grimly dangerous situation." Commending the way in which the authors created a vivid, convincing alternate culture in a few pages, Del Negro stated, "This intriguing novel suggests more than it reveals and could provoke some thoughtful group discussion."



Analog Science Fiction & Fact, February, 1999, Tom Easton, review of The Stars Asunder, p. 132; October, 2002, Tom Easton, review of A Working of Stars, p. 131.

Booklist, August, 2000, Roland Green, review of Requiem for Boone, p. 2124; April 15, 2002, Roland Green, review of A Working of Stars, p. 1387.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1996, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Groogleman, p. 132.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1999, review of The StarsAsunder, p. 493; March 1, 2002, review of A Working of Stars, p. 297.

Library Journal, June 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Stars Asunder, p. 112; April 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of A Working of Stars, p. 127.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999, review of The StarsAsunder, p. 72; August 7, 2000, review of Requiem for Boone, p. 80; March 11, 2002, review of A Working of Stars, p. 56.

Quill & Quire, April, 1999, review of Groogleman, p. 39.

School Library Journal, December, 1996, Susan L. Rogers, review of Groogleman, pp. 120-121.

ONLINE, (November 20, 1997), interview with James D. Macdonald.

SFF Net, (November 20, 1997), review of Knight's Wyrd.