Among the faculty at the 2016 Realm Makers Conference is the well-known author, Kathy Tyers. I say “well known,” but I suspect her name is more well known than she is. Kathy is one of the pioneers of Christian speculative fiction, and many know her science fiction. Or not. Her Realm Makers bio gives the basics:
Kathy Tyers sold her first novel, Firebird, to Bantam Spectra in 1986. Since its initial 1987 publication, it has been re-released by Bethany House Publishers and more recently by Marcher Lord Press, which published a three-in-one annotated version of Firebird, Fusion Fire, and Crown of Fire, finishing the Firebird series in 2011 and 2012 with Wind and Shadow and the messiah tale Daystar.
As you may expect, there’s more.
The science fiction series for which Kathy is most well known, has gone through several iterations. The first two books first appeared in the general market, but some years later Bethany House picked up a revised version, “rewritten to enhance their underlying spiritual themes.” The third of the series followed shortly after.
Some ten years later, the trilogy came into print again, re-released by Enclave Publishing (then Marcher Lord Press). Two new books, which finished the series, soon followed—Wind And Shadow in 2011 and Daystar the following year.
Earlier in her career, Kathy’s first publisher, the general market house Bantam Spectra (the science fiction division of Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House), invited her to become a Star Wars© writer. In that role she wrote The Truce At Bakura (which became a best-seller) and One Mind’s Eye. Here’s a more complete description of her writing with the Star Wars franchise:
In the early to mid 90’s, Kathy Tyers was one of the most prominent authors of the Bantam-era Star Wars Expanded Universe alongside Timothy Zahn & Kevin J. Anderson. Her first contribution to Star Wars lore was 1994’s The Truce at Bakura, taking place immediately after the events of Return of the Jedi. She would later go on to contribute several short stories to Kevin J. Anderson’s Tales From The… series, including “Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk” and “We Don’t Do Weddings: The Band’s Tale”, as well as the New Jedi Order installment Balance Point. (“Interview: : Kathy Tyers Talks ‘Balance Point’, ‘The Truce At Bakura’, & ‘Star Wars Legends’”)
For some years Kathy’s writing was on hiatus because of personal and family issues. She was widowed in 2004; went back to school at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, where she received two degrees in Christians Studies; worked with classical guitarist Christopher Parkening on his autobiography; and remarried in 2014.
She’s also taken up the mantel of writing instructor. Having been certified as a classroom teacher after her graduation from Montana State University, she was not unfamiliar with the ins and outs of imparting information in a formal setting. She was part of the faculty at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2015, for instance, teaching a major morning track on “Writing Fantasy and Speculative Fiction.” Subjects she covered included The All-Important First Page of a Speculative Novel, Worldbuilding for the Subgenres, and Viewpoint: Alien and Human. Kathy also served as a mentor for the Christian Writers Guild.
In an interview with J. W. Wartick last year, Kathy answered a question about what science fiction influenced her. Possibly fans of the sci fi genre, writers in particular, will resonate with her answer:
The first SF novel I devoured was The Star Conquerors, an early space opera by Ben Bova. I was also a big fan of Zenna Henderson’s “People” novels. The original Star Wars movies swept me away, of course. I discovered Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series when the first novel came out, and I kept up as she released titles in the series. Whenever I’m called to teach the craft in a classroom, I draw on Orson Scott Card’s excellent book on writing SF and Fantasy.
Currently, in addition to her speaking, Kathy is a freelance editor and is working on two new projects, one a science fiction and one a contemporary fantasy.
Interestingly, Kathy was a musician before she was an author.
Music was my first language. I was trained as a flutist, I took up guitar as a teenager, and I added Irish harp in my twenties. I performed with a flute ensemble, and I sat in with the local symphony orchestra when a sub was needed. (Kathy Tyers: FAQ)
Another unexpected is that Kathy’s undergraduate degree was in microbiology. Thus her science fiction writing seems to be the perfect marriage of her artistic bent with her interest in and study of science.
My thinking is that Kathy Tyers alone would be worth the price of admission to the Realm Makers Conference. She certainly adds value!