Marley, Louise 1952-

views updated

Marley, Louise 1952-


Born August 15, 1952, in Ross, CA; daughter of Frank M. (a physician) and June (a teacher; maiden name, Bishop) Campbell; married Richard Marley (an engineer), August 31, 1975; children: Zachary Richard. Education: University of the Pacific, B.Mus.; University of Washington, Seattle, M.Mus., 1981. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Yoga, cooking, golfing, training her Scottish terrier dog.


Agent—Peter Rubie Literary Agency, 240 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001. E-mail—[email protected]


Musician and writer. Vocalist for bands Earthwood and Great Chicago Fire, c. 1970s; classical concert and opera singer in Pacific Northwest for fifteen years, performing with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and St. James Cathedral. Cornish College of the Arts, college music professor for eleven years. Science-fiction writer, 1995—.



The Terrorists of Irustan, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1999.

The Glass Harmonica, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2000.

The Maquisarde, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2002.

The Child Goddess, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Divine Realms, FutureShocks, and The Children of Magic. Contributor to periodicals, including Asimov's.


Sing the Light, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Sing the Warmth, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Receive the Gift, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Singer in the Snow, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.


Louise Marley is a classically trained vocalist who has drawn on her musical background in many of her science-fiction novels. She began her writing career

with the "Nevya" novel series, which is set on the icy world of the title. In order to keep their world livable, the natives of the planet employ a unique solution: some of their people are gifted with the ability to create music that also generates heat, thereby warming the planet. It is on these people, called Cantors, that Marley concentrates, focusing mainly on the young musical talents who are just beginning their training as Cantors.

The first three books in the "Nevya" series—Sing the Light, Sing the Warmth, and Receive the Gift—are closely connected stories; several years after the third novel, Marley produced another installment in the series, titled Singer in the Snow. This fourth volume focuses on Emle, Gwin, and Luke, troubled teens who are struggling with their own abilities as well as with abuse they are receiving at the hands of their elders. Reviewing Sing the Light, a Kirkus Reviews writer praised Marley's sympathetic characterization and noted that her use of "spare descriptive language keenly evokes the tenuous glow of human communities against Nature's indifferent grandeur." Kliatt critic Claire Rosser recommended the title for possessing elements that appeal to young-adult readers, adding that Marley's "familiarity with music obviously gives this story added believability."

In addition to her "Nevya" books, Marley has also written other science-fiction novels, including The Maquisarde and The Child Goddess. The Maquisarde is a tale set in the near future that finds flautist Ebriel Serique suffering the loss of her family in a terrorist attack. When she protests a government cover-up of the incident, Ebriel is committed to an insane asylum. Rescued by a rebellious group called the Chain, she learns to love this new cause and seeks to regain a musical talent lost to grief. Although a Publishers Weekly contributor felt that multiple shifts in point of view weaken the story's impact, "Marley's writing is lyrical and persuasive."

The Child Goddess weaves issues of religious faith and the unjust exploitation of others into a tale about the discovery of a race of nearly immortal adolescents living on a planet that was thought to be uninhabited. These apparent teens are actually adults who have been infected with a disease that prevents them from maturing. Now a heartless corporation seeks to exploit their misfortune in a novel that Jackie Cassada asserted in a Library Journal review includes "unforgettable characters and a compelling plot."

As Marley once commented: "I'm intrigued by the fact that a significant number of my readers are young adults. This tells me as much about them, the readers, as it does about my work. All my books are adult novels. I think young adults want to read books in which the characters have ideals, have strong character, have discipline and ability and commitment. As a teacher (college level) for eleven years, I'm honored and delighted that my work appeals to such readers.

"An author can't, and mustn't, try to write to a specific audience. As with music, my other field, the artists must tell the stories that are theirs to tell, in voices that are uniquely theirs, and rejoice when their stories find a receptive audience. In my ‘Nevya’ series, I wanted very much to write about just this, the drive of the artist to find his or her own path. Fortunately, Nevya is a fascinating place to be, and the characters and their interactions are great fun to watch. In The Terrorists of Irustan I wanted to tell the story of a strong woman in a repressed society where the strength of women is not valued; such a woman finds herself trapped by the very talents that make her unique. The Glass Harmonica is a story about musical prodigies and what their lives are like. Half of it takes place in the eighteenth century, a remarkable place to visit, and half in the very near future. There's a little mystery, a little secret, in the book, and I'm eager to see which of my readers will guess at it!

"Although not all my novels are musical, my musical life has a strong influence on my writing life. In years of musical study and experience, I learned about form, rhythm, color, pacing, the building and release of tension; these are all aspects of literary art as well as musical art. As an opera singer, I learned about character and scene and drama. What more could an author ask? I've been very lucky indeed."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, May 15, 1999, Karen Simonetti, review of The Terrorists of Irustan, p. 1682; May 1, 2004, Regina Schroeder, review of The Child Goddess, p. 1552; December 15, 2005, Holly Koelling, review of Singer in the Snow, p. 42.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1999, review of The Terrorists of Irustan, p. 580; October 1, 2005, review of Singer in the Snow, p. 1083.

Kliatt, March, 1996, Karen S. Ellis, review of Sing the Light, p. 18; March, 1997, Susan Cromby, review of Sing the Warmth, pp. 18, 20; March, 1998, review of Receive the Gift, p. 19; September, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of Singer in the Snow, p. 10.

Library Journal, December, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of The Maquisarde, p. 185; May 15, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of The Child Goddess, p. 118.

Publishers Weekly, May 24, 1999, review of The Terrorists of Irustan, p. 72; November 25, 2002, review of The Maquisarde, p. 47.

School Library Journal, January, 2006, Karyn N. Silverman, review of Singer in the Snow, p. 138.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1998, Donna Scanlon, review of Receive the Gift, p. 394; April, 1998, review of Receive the Gift, p. 13.


Louise Marley Home Page, (December 30, 2005).