(E.J. Braswell, Elizabeth J. Braswell, Liz Braswell, J.B. Stephens, Celia Thomson)
PERSONAL: Born in Birmingham, England; married; children: Alex. Education: Brown University, degree (with honors). Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, silverworking.
CAREER: Novelist. Technical support engineer; Harcourt Brace (publishers), New York, NY, former assistant editor; video game producer for Simon & Schuster Interactive Division; freelance writer.
Snow, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2003.
Rx, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2006.
"NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING" YOUNG-ADULT NOVEL SERIES; UNDER 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.
(Under house pseudonym J.B. Stephens) Paradise City (2nd volume of "Big Empty" young-adult novel series), Razorbill (New York, NY), 2004.
(Under house pseudonym J.B. Stephens) No Exit (4th volume of "Big Empty" young-adult novel series), Razorbill (New York, NY), 2005.
Under name E.J. Braswell, author of book on car care. Contributor, under name Liz Braswell, of short fiction to Amazing Stories.
SIDELIGHTS: The pen name of writer Elizabeth J. Braswell, Tracy Lynn is the author of several popular young-adult novels, including Snow and Rx, as well as several volumes of series fiction for the "Nine Lives of Chloe King" and "Big Empty" series. For her series work, Braswell has adopted other pseudonyms; her real name is associated with her previous job as a videogame producer and with horror fiction she has published in Amazing Stories.
Lynn's first book, Snow, is an imaginative retelling of the classic fairy tale about Snow White. Rather than focusing on the title character, the novel focuses on the character of Snow White's evil stepmother, posing questions about her motivation for persecuting her stepdaughter. In Lynn's novel the Snow White character is named Jessica, and the story is set in Wales and London. In another twist on tradition, the seven dwarfs of the original tale are replaced by five London pickpockets who also happen to be human-animal hybrids. Jessica's stepmother is a brilliant and vain woman who finds she is not taken seriously, despite her scientific expertise, simply because of her gender, and her frustration fuels the plot of the novel. Connie C. Rockman, reviewing Snow for School Library Journal, wrote that "Lynn delves deeply into the psychological underpinnings of the folktale while maintaining a fast-paced plot with ingenious twists and turns."
From fantasy, Lynn moves to cold, hard reality in Rx. Here readers meet seventeen-year-old Thyme, a high school junior whose high academic standing is threatened by her inability to concentrate and focus on her schoolwork. When her achievement-focused parents ignore their daughter's ADHD symptoms, Thyme turns to Ritalin, given to her by a girlfriend. Realizing how much the drugs help, the resourceful Thyme begins to pilfer prescription drugs and market them to her equally stressed-out friends. As her social standing at school parties increases, so do Thyme's problems with addiction, but only after a fellow student dies of a drug overdose does the teen confront her real problems. While noting that the teen's "recovery is a little too easy," Debbie Stewart Hoskins wrote in School Library Journal that Lynn's portrayal of "addiction and the stresses that cause it are accurate." Rx was cited as a "grim, didactic, recognizable story of high-school pressures, drug abuse, and teen angst," by Booklist contributor Frances Bradburn, and in Kirkus Reviews critic praised the novel's "well-drawn and interesting character[s]." Noting the book's realism, Kliatt reviewer Jessica Swaim recommended Rx as "a must-read for every school counselor as well as an easy sell for book talks and discussion groups."
Writing under the pseudonym Celia Thomson, Lynn has penned several novels in the "Nine Lives of Chloe King" series. series. A supernatural fantasy epic involving the Mai, a group of people with catlike powers, the series plays out in The Fallen, The Stolen, and The Chosen. Readers meet Chloe King in The Fallen, as the teen discovers her feline heritage around the time of her sixteenth birthday, when a fall off San Francisco's Coit Tower should have proved fatal but left her without a scratch. While her agility, strength, and other cat-powers increase her confidence, Chloe is caught up in a conflict between two boyfriends, Brian and Alyec, the former representing the human world and the latter a member of the Mai. In The Stolen, Chloe continues her attempts to make sense of her special gifts while also striving to keep a ruthless group known as the Tenth Blade from harming her and others like her. The Chosen finds the teen appointed the Mai's Chosen One, and as spiritual leader must continue to fight against the Order of the Tenth Blade. Her relationship with Brian also remains a challenge due to his position as the son of the leader of the Order that threatens her tribe.
The Fallen "has all the makings of a scintillating opener," wrote a Publishers Weekly, the critic adding that despite some implausible plot aspects, "Chloe's snide attitude can be fun." In another review of the series' first installment, a Kirkus Reviews writer predicted that the "Nine Lives of Chloe King" books will "hook readers" with their mix of "suspense, action, and adolescent romance," while Kliatt critic Erin Darr noted that Lynn's "creative ideas and use of Egyptian mythology are a winning combination" in "an entertaining series that has fast-paced action and quirky twists."
Before beginning her writing career, Lynn spent ten years working as a producer of video games. Some of her best-known projects included a game based on the television show Farscape, as well as various titles for the Star Trek franchise, including a Star Trek encyclopedia and a game that lets players design their own starship and track how well it performs on missions. Discussing her role coordinating the artistic talent responsible for each game's graphic art, dialog, and voices, she told a Game Girlz online interviewer 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 … 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."
Writing well, which earned Lynn respect in the gaming world, has also been key to her success as a writer for teens. On her home page, she shared her own technique, noting that "it's different for every writer. My method involves carrying around a little notebook, about the size of a pack if index cards, with the … perforations at the edge so you can tear them off … I jot down ideas for scenes and characters, putting the approximate placement of each scene at the top of the page, like 'A' or 'Act I' or whatever. When I feel I have enough heft to begin outlining, I tear out all the sheets and spend an afternoon (or two, or three, or week) lying them out on the floor and reorganizing them until it feels right."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2006, Frances Bradburn, review of Rx, p. 81.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Rx, p. 273.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of The Fallen, p. 542; December 1, 2005, review of Rx, p. 1277.
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; March, 2006, Jessica Swaim, review of Rx, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, March 10, 2003, review of Snow, p. 73l; July 26, 2004, review of The Fallen, p. 56.
School Library Journal, August, 2003, Connie C. Rockman, review of Snow, p. 162; September, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Fallen, p. 218; November, 2004, Ginny Collier, review of The Stolen, p. 155; March, 2006, Debbie Stewart Hoskins, review of Rx, p. 227.
Game Girlz Web site, http://www.gamegirlz.com/ (May 5, 2005), interview with Elizabeth Braswell.
Tracy Lynn Home Page, http://www.themessydesk.com (December 19, 2006).
"Lynn, Tracy." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/lynn-tracy
"Lynn, Tracy." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Retrieved January 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/lynn-tracy
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