Chima, Cinda Williams
Chima, Cinda Williams
Married; husband a scientist; children: Eric, Keith. Education: Case Western Reserve University, B.A. (philosophy); University of Akron, M.A. (nutrition).
Author, nutritionist, and educator. University of Akron, Akron, OH, instructor. Presenter at workshops and speaker at writers' conferences.
Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Poets and Writers League of Greater Cleveland.
Booksense Summer Reading Pick, American Library Association Popular Paperbacks listee, and Great Lakes Book Award finalist, all 2006, and South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee, Abe Award nominee (IL), Garden State Teen Book Award nominee (NJ), and Isinglass Teen Book Award nominee (NH), all 2009, all for The Warrior Heir; New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, 2008, for The Wizard Heir.
The Warrior Heir, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2006.
The Wizard Heir, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2006.
The Dragon Heir, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to books, including A Cup of Comfort for Christmas, edited by Coleen Sell, Adams Media (Avon, MA), 2003; and A Cup of Comfort for Courage, edited by Sell, Adams Media, 2004; The World of the Golden Compass: The Otherworldly Ride Continues, edited by Scott Westerfeld, BenBella Books, 2007. Contributor of nutrition column to Cleveland, OH, Plain Dealer, 2004-07.
Although trained as a nutritionist, Ohio-based novelist Cinda Williams Chima has channeled her curiosity and her many interests into a second career as a fantasy novelist. "I've spent a lot of time prowling through graveyards and digging through dusty old records, uncovering family stories," Chima explained to Cynsations online interviewer Cynthia Leitich Smith. "My roots are in the Appalachians of southern Ohio, and there's a strong history of magic there. My grandmother was supposed to have had the ‘second sight’—she read the cards for people. When I was in college, I took an English literature tour to England: went to Stratford and the Lake District and the theatres in London. I incorporated elements of all of those things into [my fantasy novel] The Warrior Heir, and its sequel, The Wizard Heir."
In The Warrior Heir Chima takes readers to Ohio, where high-school student Jack Swift lives in a small Mid-western town. When the teen neglects to take medicine he has been given since he can remember, the magic within him is exposed. Now a group of wizards recognize
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Jack as a Warrior Heir, a rare being capable of helping a wizard amass power and rise above the other wizards by fighting to the death in tournaments designed to allocate such power within the secret community known as Weirland. Now Jack's friends and relatives are revealed to be equally magical creatures, such as enchantresses, soothsayers, wizards, and enchanters, and they help the teen gain the fighting and magical skills that will help him meet his destiny. Noting that Jack's maturation is well portrayed, Kliatt contributor Michele Winship noted that in The Warrior Heir Chima "cleverly entwines ancient magic and contemporary adolescence in a coming-of-age story that works on both levels." Because "many details about the Weir are initially hidden from readers," Chima is able to reveal her story's intricacies in a way that is "involving and often surprising," in the opinion of School Library Journal reviewer Steven Engelfried, the critic dubbing Chima's novel "suspenseful and entertaining."
In The Wizard Heir Chima turns her focus to a teen wizard-in-training as he attempts to take control of his growing magical powers. Orphaned as an infant, Seph McCauley is sixteen years old when the sorcerer who has guarded the boy from the world of magic dies. Now alone, Seph is increasingly frightened by his growing power, power that proves destructive and even deadly because of Seph's inability to control it. After causing a destructive fire, the teen is sent to a school for troubled teens located in a remote area of Maine, and there Seph comes under the tutelage of the school's wizard headmaster. However, Seph soon begins to question his mentor's motives, and when he encounters several other powerful creatures, including Warrior Heir Jack Swift, he realizes that the powers he possesses may also lead to his demise.
Chima's saga continues in The Dragon Heir, in which the power struggle among the wizard houses continues and the search for a magical stone called the Dragonheart forces Seph, Jack, and several powerful friends into a battle with those who would usurp all power. In School Library Journal, Sharon Rawlings observed of The Wizard Heir that Chima's "exciting page-turner is darker than The Warrior Heir due to the introduction of several violent characters." A Kirkus Reviews contributor had a similar reaction to the novel, concluding that the fantasy "sequel improves on the original, leaving fans eager for the foreshadowed resolution." In Booklist Krista Hutley called Seph an "appealing" and resourceful protagonist, concluding that The Wizard Heir is an "absorbing, suspenseful" installment in Chima's Weirland saga.
According to a reviewer for the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, Chima "is adept with teen culture" and her efforts to reference both "slasher-film references" and "the works of Shakespeare" in her fantasy novels "strengthens both her narrative voice and … adds subtly to the moral subtext" of her fiction.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2006, Holly Koelling, review of The Warrior Heir, p. 31; May 15, 2007, Krista Hutley, review of The Wizard Heir, p. 59.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of The Warrior Heir, p. 344; May 15, 2007, review of The Wizard Heir.
Kliatt, March, 2006, Michele Winship, review of The Warrior Heir, p. 8.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 10, 2008, review of The Dragon Heir.
School Library Journal, July, 2006, Steven Engelfried, review of The Warrior Heir, p. 98; December, 2006, Heather Dieffenbach, review of The Warrior Heir, p. 73; December, 2007, Sharon Rawlins, review of The Wizard Heir, p. 120.
Cinda Williams Chima Home Page,http://www.cindachima.com (August 10, 2008).
Cynsations Web site,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (September 26, 2006), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Chima.