Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
"Gen the thief is released from prison in the imaginary medieval land of Sounis by the king's magus, on the condition that he join an expedition to recover the legendary Hamiathes's Gift Stone....For the chance at regaining his freedom, Gen agrees....His ultimate discovery of the legendary stone and the clearing of his reputation are as grand as the fantastic myths the travelers tell on their fateful trip. This is an uplifting book, a literary journey that enhances both its characters and readers before it is over."—Kirkus Reviews.
Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief (a Newbery Honor winner) and Instead of Three Wishes, lives in Menlo Park, California. In Her Own Words...
"When I was ten I read a lot of great books, and when I couldn't easily find more, I decided I would be a writer and write stories of my own, even though it didn't sound as exciting as reading. The only impediment to beginning my career right then was that I couldn't think of anything to write.
"Joan Aiken said she saw stories all around her, prompted by everyday events. She also said (in her bio) that she'd been telling stories since birth and completed her first novel in Latin class when she was seventeen. And there I was ten years old without a rag of a story to call my own. Roald Dahl said he kept a notebook in which he scribbled his ideas so that he wouldn't forget them. This sounded sensible and I gave it a try. When I forced one out, it sounded like this: Write a story about a blind girl who wants to go to school and be like everybody else.
"Well, that idea just sat there on the page. It did not magically turn into a story the wayit was supposed to. (Or if it did, it was somebody else's story: Light a Single Candle.) So much for Roald Dahl.
"I let the matter drop, I didn't write anything, and I didn't think very much about it again until I was in my third year of college when I had to choose a field and begin a senior project. I thought that writing had to be easier than sifting down to read, say, The Mill on the Floss, and I proposed to study children's literature and write some of my own.
"What I produced was almost uniformly horrible, but I think that was because I didn't want to write anything that wasn't perfect and nothing comes out perfect the first time. I think that anyone who wants to write well has to write copiously first. But I didn't know that then, so I gave up on writing and spent seven years as a children's book buyer in various bookstores. Then my husband, who is a professor of English, got a grant to do research for a year in California and I left my job to go with him. I thought that if I didn't set myself to do something constructive, I might end up reading, say, The Mill on the Floss, so I decided again to write, and I did. I produced short stories that I sent to Diana Wynne Jones. She recommended that I send them to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow, who agreed to publish them, to my surprise. I had intended them as writing samples, hoping to interest Greenwillow in a novel if I ever wrote one.
"This was so easy and so surprising that it might contradict what I said earlier about a writer needing to write a lot before writing well, but I realize, in retrospect, I did write a lot-English compositions, answers to essay questions on science homework, college papers, and thankyou notes. Especially thank-you notes. My mother always supervised mine and she had high standards. In fact, my advice to anyone who wants to be a writer is to avoid reading any other author's biography. Spend your time on your thank-you notes."