This article first appeared on the examiner on July 13, 2010.
Kristen Cashore grew up in Northern Pennsylvania and like most authors moved around a lot (New York City, Boston, Cambridge, Austin, Pennsylvania, Italy, and London) before settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While getting her M.A. at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College she was drawn to YA books and honed her writing skills. She writes full time and is the author of two highly acclaimed fantasy novels for young adults.
In Kristen Cashore's first fantasy novel, “Graceling”, there are people called Gracelings who have extraordinary gifts. Katsa is a young girl graced with killing who is used as the king's bully until she meets another strange Graceling from another kingdom. This book has everything you want: fantasy, adventure, romance, social commentary, political intrigue, and mystery. Katsa is a strong female character and stays true to her ideals. For a complete review, click here.
Cashore’s next novel, “Fire” is a companion pre-quel to “Graceling”. Fire is a monster. The only thing that makes her a monster is that she has colorful hair and can read people's thoughts and control their minds. Her father was the same way and was power-hungry and cruel and ultimately perished. Determined to be different than her father, Fire, the last human monster, sacrifices everything she can to fix her father's wrongs and to be her own person. Cashore has a talent for writing strong heroines and Fire is no exception. See East Greenbush YA Librarian Chrissie Morrison's review here.
Cashore is currently working on a third novel, “Bitterblue” that will be a companion book to the first two and take place after the events in “Graceling”.