McKenna, Juliet E. 1965–
McKenna, Juliet E. 1965–
PERSONAL: Born 1965, in Lincolnshire, England; married; husband's name Steve; children: Keith, Ian. Education: Attended St. Hilda's College, Oxford. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, martial arts, role-playing games.
ADDRESSES: Home—West Oxfordshire, England. Agent—Maggie Noach Literary Agency, 22 Dorville Crescent, London W6 0HJ, England.
CAREER: Writer. Facilitator of writers' workshops. Has worked in corporate recruitment and personnel management and as a bookseller.
MEMBER: Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group.
FANTASY NOVELS: "TALES OF EINARINN" SERIES
The Thief's Gamble, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 1999.
The Swordsman's Oath, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 1999.
The Gambler's Fortune, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2000.
The Warrior's Bond, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2001.
The Assassin's Edge, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2002.
FANTASY NOVELS: "ALDABRESHIN COMPASS" SERIES
Southern Fire, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2003, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Northern Storm, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2004.
Western Shore, Time Warner/Orbit Books (London, England), 2005.
Turns & Chances (novella), PS Publishing (Hornsea, England), 2004.
Contributor of short story to The Wedding Gift: An Illustrated Tale of Einarinn. Contributor of short stories, articles, and book reviews to magazines, including Post-Scripts.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Eastern Tide, the fourth volume in the "Aldabreshin Compass" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Juliet E. McKenna is known for her fantasy novel series, one set on a world called Einarinn and another in an island group called Aldabreshin. Einarinn, McKenna noted on her home page, is a "fantasy world where politics and religion and sex are part of everyday life, rather than cosmos-shaping forces … a fantasy world with change and progression, where there are developments in science and technology, philosophy and literature, quite independently of whatever it is that has wizards and princes running round in circles." The primary characters of this series include Livak, a woman who is a thief and gambler, and Ryshad, a man who was once Livak's lover and is an aide to a prince. The Aldabreshin archipelago is a setting where warlords have dictatorial powers and their subjects revere science and have a corresponding phobia of magic. McKenna has commented that she has loved fantasy literature since she was a child, but within the realm of fantasy, she tries to keep a sense of reality and make sure all aspects of the story fit together logically. "I use everyday life as a constant reality check to make sure reactions and attitudes are believable," she wrote on her home page.
Some reviewers observed that this degree of care is evident in Southern Fire, the first book in the "Aldabreshin Compass" series and McKenna's first hardcover published in the United States. It finds a warlord named Kheda leading a fight against invaders who use magic as a weapon. The story demonstrates that McKenna "dreams up fantasy elements and then works out the implications of those elements with the precision and thoughtfulness of a scientist," related David Moldawer in a review for the Web site Dragon Page. This precision sometimes slows down the story, the critic remarked, but he added that McKenna is nevertheless "the thinking fantasy reader's author." A Publishers Weekly critic praised McKenna's "impressive world-building and compelling writing," while Library Journal contributor Jackie Cassada called the novel "original" and McKenna a "unique talent."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of Southern Fire, p. 76.
Publishers Weekly, July 18, 2005, review of Southern Fire, p. 189.
Dragon Page, http://www.dragonpage.com/ (December 1, 2005), David Moldawer, review of Southern Fire.
Juliet E. McKenna Home Page, http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/juliet.e.mckenna (December 1, 2005).