Myers, Edward 1950–
Myers, Edward 1950–
Born April 1, 1950, in Denver, CO; son of Francis Milton (a college professor) and Estela (a college professor, maiden name Montemayor) Myers; married Edith Poor (a writer and writing consultant), June 29, 1985; children: Robin, Corey. Education: Attended Grinnell College, 1968–70, and University of Denver, 1973–75. Religion: "Theologically polymorphous."
Worked variously as a bricklayer, language instructor, greenhouse worker, baker, librarian, hospital orderly, secretary, administrator at two mental-health clinics, editor, proofreader, and cabinetmaker; full-time writer, 1982–.
American Society of Journalists and Authors, Authors Guild, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Fellowship, New Jersey State Council for the Arts, 1994–95; Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (Grades 4-6), 1997, for Hostage!
Climb or Die, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.
Forri the Baker, illustrated by Alexi Natchev, Dial (New York, NY), 1995, published as The Adventures of Forri the Baker, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 1999.
Hostage!, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1996.
Survival of the Fittest, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 2000.
This House, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 2001.
Fever, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 2001.
Ice, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 2004.
Duck and Cover, Montemayor Press (Millburn, NJ), 2004.
"MOUNTAIN MADE OF LIGHT" SERIES; ADULT NOVELS
The Mountain Made of Light, New American Library (New York, NY), 1992.
Fire and Ice, New American Library (New York, NY), 1992.
The Summit, New American Library (New York, NY), 1994.
The Chosen Few (nonfiction), And Books (South Bend, IN), 1982.
When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults (nonfiction), Viking (New York, NY), 1986, revised edition, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Mind Movies (fiction), American Health Foundation, 1986.
(With Jane Greer) Adult Sibling Rivalry: Understanding the Legacy of Childhood (nonfiction), Crown (New York, NY), 1992.
Secrets of the Rainforest (juvenile nonfiction), Good Year Books 1999.
(With Aleta Koman) The Parenting Survival Kit: How to Make It through the Parenting Years with Your Family, Sanity, and Wallet Intact, Perigee (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Aleta Koman) Who's the Boss: When Parents Relinquish Their Authority and Kids Rule the Roost, Perigee (New York, NY), 2002.
When Will I Stop Hurting?: Teens, Loss, and Grief, Scarecrow Press (Metuchen, NJ), 2004.
Shedding Skin: Reptilian Journeys (poetry), Pub-lishAmerica, 2005.
The Lizard Shall Rise: An Anthology, 1996–2004 (poetry), PublishAmerica, 2006.
Work in Progress
Storyteller, "a fantasy about the adventures of a village storyteller"; Seven West, "a collection of poems about neurology, a neurology ward, and the realm of the sense."
In addition to his poetry and nonfiction work for adult readers, Edward Myers is the author of several adventure-based novels for middle-grade readers as well as of the "Mountain Made of Light" fantasy-novel trilogy. In his middle-grade novel Duck and Cover Myer takes readers back to 1962, as twelve-year-old Andy MacLane decides that the best way to confront school bully Jim Smith is to impress his nemesis with his skills in rocket-building. In true cold-war fashion, Jim also starts building rockets and a race to the stars begins. Ice focuses on high school students Seth and Jenna who cope with a shared personal tragedy as well as with their conflicting feelings toward each other while volunteering at a local ambulance squad. In Myers' Climb or Die two Colorado teens must scale a nearby mountain during a Colorado blizzard after their family is involved in a serious back-country car accident and medical help is needed. Praising the "powerful" climax in Ice, GraceAnne A. DeCandido added that the teens' interwoven narration is noted for "the honesty of its emotions." Climb or Die was cited as "a suspenseful survival story," its exciting mountaineering exploits "giving the novel … an exciting realism."
Born in 1950, Myers grew up amid a patchwork of cultures. As the author once explained: "My father's clan was Scottish and German, and my mother's was Mexican. I am a one-man cultural collision. My parents decided in 1957 to move to Mexico. We ended up living near Guanajuato in a run-down hacienda without electricity or running water. It was rough going in some ways but paradise for a seven-year-old boy. I played hide-and-seek in the hills overlooking a 400-year-old town, hunted lizards with slingshots, learned from playmates how to cuss in Spanish, and ate tortillas given to me by an old hag purported to be a witch. Although we ended up staying only part of that year, I returned to Denver as changed as if I'd been off to Mars and back.
"A few years later, when my father received a Fulbright grant, we moved to Peru for a longer stay. That first year in Peru jolted me in ways I've never gotten over. The change of time-sense was especially bewildering. In Colorado, a miner's shack built in 1880 is considered ancient; in Peru, the Spanish Conquest in 1532 is a fairly recent event. The Incas themselves, having done to neighboring and far older tribes essentially what the Spaniards did to them, were Johnnie-come-latelies. Some of the archaeological sites I visited as a kid were the remains of civilizations that had fallen around 500 A.D.
"During the summer of 1965, when I was fifteen, my family stayed for several days in Yungay, a small city right at the base of Peru's highest peak. It was there, with a massive double-dome of rock and ice rising to an altitude of 22,300 feet above me, that I first started musing not about just mountains themselves but also about their tenacious hold on my imagination." These
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musings eventually inspired Myers to write his first works of published fiction: the three novels in his "Mountain Made of Light" series.
According to Myers, the "Mountain Made of Light" trilogy relates "an adventure story more in the 19th-century style of Kipling and Melville than in the current fantasy mode." In The Mountain Made of Light readers meet Jesse O'Keefe, an anthropology student doing field work in the Peruvian Andes during the 1920s. Learning about some expert local climbers from an old man, he discovers the airy, alpine realm of the Rixtirra. Involving himself in the conflicts of the civilization he finds there, O'Keefe befriends the lovely native Aeslu. When a new climber—the spoiled, upper-class Forster Beckwith—intrudes, the two outsiders fulfill an ancient prophecy that tells of two strangers: one who will lead Rixtirra to salvation on the Mountain Made of Light, the other to calamity. "There is a strange quality to this book early on, a wistful innocent thirst for knowledge," commented a reviewer for Locus, the critic praising the story's "wonderful sense of place" for illuminating "both culture and character."
In Fire and Ice, the second novel of the trilogy, rival adventurers Jesse and Forster both fall in love with the native guide woman Aeslu as they play out their predestined roles in the mountaintop world's mythology. One Rixtirran faction favors the playboy Forster and the other supports Jesse, as the two compete to be the first to reach the top of the Mountain of Light. The series concludes in The Summit. Reviewer Faren Miller, writing in Locus, was intrigued that, "despite Forster's frequent caddishness, the roles of hero and villain are not entirely clear-cut" and that "the rival factions … also resist being categorized." This ability to present more than one point of view, the critic noted, "allows Myers a degree of subtlety unusual in a Lost Race adventure."
While the "Mountain Made of Light" books are written for older teen and adult readers, much of Myers' fiction has been geared for younger readers, such as the middle-grade novels Hostage! and Survival of the Fittest. In Hostage! fifteen-year-old Manhattan native Alyssa DiPietro is part of a a youth tour visiting the Dinosaur National Monument when she becomes enmeshed in the theft of a dinosaur egg and ultimately is taken hostage by the thief, along with friend Rob. A plane trip to Peru ends in tragedy for thirteen-year-old Rus Cooper and his younger cousins Matt and Jodie in Survival of the Fittest. After their plane crashes in the rain forest and all the adults are killed, the children must learn to work as a team and draw on their back-country skills as they build a raft and attempt to find help before the elements take their toll. Praising the novel for its "page-turning suspense," School Library Journal contributor Rosalyn Pierini noted that in Hostage "a strong sense of place helps to heighten the adventure" of Myers' teen protagonists and their harsh desert environment. "Reluctant readers will enjoy the realism and fast-paced adventure" in Survival of the Fittest, wrote Vicki Reutter in School Library Journal.
Myers' nonfiction books range in subject matter, from the survivalist movement to coping with grief and dealing with sibling rivalry. The Chosen Few is a study of the U.S. survivalist movement and is based on interviews with men and women who plan and prepare for surviving nuclear war and other disasters. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults addresses the specific issues facing adults following a parent's final illness, discussing the emotional as well as practical consequences of experiencing the loss of a parent. "My hope is that When Parents Die will help Americans come to terms with one of the most complex issues of our time," explained Myers: "the aging of the older generation." A related work, When Will I Stop Hurting?: Teens, Loss, and Grief, contains personal stories of young people who have coped with the loss of a friend or family member. Featuring a list of sources for further information, When Will I Stop Hurting? was praised by School Library Journal contributor Julie Webb as "an accessible and helpful" work in which Myers encourages young readers "to seek outlets for their emotions with trusted adults" and others.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 1, 1994, Merri Monks, review of Climb or Die, p. 664; March 15, 1995, Julie Corsaro, review of Forri the Baker, p. 1336; April 15, 1996, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Hostage, p. 1439; December 1, 2005, Graceanne A. DeCandido, review of Ice, p. 37.
Locus, December, 1991, p. 33; January, 1992; November, 1992, p. 17.
New York Review of Science Fiction, April, 1992.
Psychology Today, October, 1986, Paul Chance, review of When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults, p. 83.
Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1992, review of The Mountain Made of Light, p. 52; February 10, 1992, review of About Sibling Rivalry: Understanding the Legacy of Childhood, p. 68; November 23, 1992, p. 58; March 20, 1995; March 20, 1995, review of Forri the Baker, p. 60.
School Library Journal, February, 1995; April, 1996, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Hostage!, p. 136; January, 2001, Vicki Reutter, review of Survival of the Fittest, p. 132; November, 2004, Julie Webb, review of When Will I Stop Hurting? Teens, Loss, and Grief, p. 170.
Edward Myers Home Page, http://www.edwardmyers.com (July 7, 2006).