Mercedes Ritchie Lackey was born in June*, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois. She's not very open about her personal life, but she claims to have had a "normal childhood"**, and she got a B.A. from Purdue University in 1972. She is currently married to author/artist Larry Dixon.

"Misty" says she started writing at the age of eight or nine, but didn't start seriously for several years after that. In the meantime, she has worked as an artist's model, a computer programmer, and a lyricist/recording artist. She has recorded nearly 50 songs for a small folk recording company called Off-Centaur.

Lackey's first novel, "Arrows of the Queen", was published by DAW in 1987 after a long series of edits from fellow author C.J. Cherryh. This book introduced us to the world of Velgrath, home to the kingdom of Valdemar. This kingdom, and the surrounding area, became the setting for 7 series, several independent novels, and 2 collections of short stories. Other series, novels, and collections cover a wide range of settings, both imagined and historical.

Mercedes' stories are character-led; situations feel real, and feelings and emotions are written as the character experiences them. As such, her stories attract readers from pre-teen to senior citizen. She loves to embrace the controversial; one of her best-loved characters was gay, and, in one novel set during his late thirties, was involved with a teenage boy. Her writing, she claims, attempts to follow a creed given by her character Diana Tregarde:

There's no such thing as `one, true way'; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good -- they're the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race."

If you've read Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, or Piers Anthony, you'll like Mercedes Lackey. Incidentally, she's co-authored with all of them.

If you've not started reading Mercedes Lackey yet, my personal recommendation is to start with her Last Herald-Mage trilogy (starting with "Magic's Pawn"). Borrow my copy if you have to***. You'll laugh; you'll cry (a LOT); you'll spill your sod--er, you'll fall in love with the most annoying whiny fucking gay man in the -- er, with one of her best characters.

If you have started reading her work, I encourage you to keep going. It's worth the trip, I promise. At the very least, it'll keep you busy for a REALLY long time; the woman is disturbingly prolific. She'll seem kind of formulaic (as Chris-O once put it, "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, now I'll prove them wrong with my tremendous magical powers, the dumb bastards"), but her characters lend enough depth and variety to her stories to make it worthwhile to keep on truckin'. Ideally, you'll find yourself wrapped up in the new worlds created by and for characters that captivate you. Really. I swear.**** Though I'm personally not as fond of her stories co-written with Larry Dixon, he has done some incredible art for some of her books.


Works, sorted by type and series:

the Valdemar collection

Diana Tregarde: Burning Water, Children of the Night, Jinx High

Serrated Edge: Born to Run (with Larry Dixon), Wheels of Fire (with Mark Shepherd), When the Bough Breaks (with Holly Lisle), Chrome Circle (with Larry Dixon)

Bardic Voices/Bardic Choices: The Lark & the Wren, The Robin and the Kestrel, The Eagle and the Nightingales, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, A Cast of Corbies

Elves in LA, now called Bedlam's Bard: Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (with Ellen Guon), Summoned to Tourney (with Ellen Guon), Bedlam's Bard (omnibus of the previous two), Beyond World's End (with Rosemary Edghill)

the Halfblood Chronicles (with Andre Norton): The Elvenbane, Elvenblood

Bard's Tales: Fortress of Frost and Fire, Prison of Souls (with Mark Shepherd), Castle of Deception (with Josepha Sherman)

Miscellaneous novels:

Short Story Anthologies: Anthologies Contributed to:
  • Festival Moon: Merovingen Nights #1
  • Fever Season: Merovingen Nights #2
  • Troubled Waters: Merovingen Nights #3
  • Smuggler's Gold: Merovingen Nights #4
  • Divine Right: Merovingen Nights #5
  • Flood Tide: Merovingen Nights #6
not yet published: Spirits White as Lightning (with Rosemary Edghill), Shadow of the Lion (editor)

Fan Club Information:

Queen's Own
The Official Mercedes Lackey Fan Club
PO Box 749
Laguna Beach, CA 92652
USA


Sources:

http://www.dragoncon.org/people/lackeym.html
http://www.chicon.org/chi2000/card08.htm
http://www.showpage.org/digitalcatapult/int_lackey.html
http://urtho.hypermart.net/
http://ftp.logica.com/~stepneys/sf/books/l/lackey.htm
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb-bin/exact_author.cgi?Mercedes_Lackey


* -- the exact date conflicts between sites. http://www.dragoncon.org/people/lackeym.html has her birthdate as June 24. http://www.chicon.org/chi2000/card08.htm has her birthdate as June 27. Either way, she's a Cancer.

** -- according to http://www.dragoncon.org/people/lackeym.html.

*** -- no, really, only if you have to. I damaged my copy. The pages are wrinkled, and some of the dye on the sides of the page bled. I actually *did* spill my soda.

**** -- No, goddammit, I am NOT reading the back of a book cover!

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