Tomlinson, Heather

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Tomlinson, Heather


Born in Redlands, CA; married; children: one son. Education: Graduated from Wellesley College. Hobbies and other interests: Books, cats, children's literature, fairy tales, fantasy, France, quilting, sailing.


Home and office—Southern CA. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Worked in book distribution for ten year; has taught English in Paris, France, and French in the United States.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild.



The Swan Maiden, Holt (New York, NY, 2007.

Aurelie: A Faerie Tale, Holt (New York, NY, 2008.


Heather Tomlinson, who has a degree in French literature and taught English for several years in Paris, is the author of The Swan Maiden, a novel inspired by French fairy tales. In a Class of 2k7 interview with Sarah Beth Durst, Tomlinson remarked of writing her first novel: "I was reading Paul Delarue's excellent book Le conte populaire Français, and found a story called "The Devil's Daughter." It had many, many versions in French—over 120, I think—so I knew there'd be lots of possible shapes the story could take. Plus disobedient daughters, lots of magic, and a central mystery. Writing gold!"

A native of California, Tomlinson developed an interest in fantastic literature at a young age. "As a kid, I collected all the Andrew Lang colored fairy tale books," she told Durst. "Another favorite was Iona and Peter Opie's The Classic Fairy Tales, with colored plates by great illustrators: [Arthur] Rackham, [Edmund] Dulac, [Walter] Crane, [Gustave] Doré. I think seeing how each artist was able to create a different mood, setting,

and characterization for the same tale made a deep impression on me, though of course I'm just realizing that now."

The Swan Maiden centers on Doucette, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the count and countess of Aigleron. The girl envies the magical powers possessed by her swan maiden sisters, Azelais and Cecilia. When Doucette finds her own swan skin hidden beneath a mattress, she realizes that her parents have deceived her and she becomes determined to claim her birthright and marry her true love, the shepherd boy Jaume. "Layered, elegantly written, and filled with unexpected twists and turns, The Swan Maiden soars with grace and power," observed Booklist contributor Frances Bradburn, and Neala Arnold, writing in School Library Journal, commented that the author "skillfully weaves a satisfying and enchanting tale that flows quickly and immerses readers in a charming, rustic setting."

"To me, writing feels like joining a great conversation, where you can enjoy what other people have to say and make your own contribution," Tomlinson stated in her Class of 2k7 interview. "Books have given me so much pleasure through the years that I hope to share some of it with new readers."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, October 1, 2007, Frances Bradburn, review of The Swan Maiden, p. 58.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of The Swan Maiden.

Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007, review of The Swan Maiden, p. 91.

School Library Journal, December, 2007, Neala Arnold, review of The Swan Maiden, p. 146.


Class of 2k7 Blog, (November 26, 2007), Sarah Beth Durst, interview with Tomlinson.

Class of 2k7 Web site, (August 10, 2008), "Heather Tomlinson."

Heather Tomlinson Home Page, (August 10, 2008).

Heather Tomlinson Web log, (August 10, 2008).