Pack Your Bags: The Books Tamora Pierce Is Bringing on Tour

Posted by Hayley on February 6, 2018
Before Katniss and Hermione, there was the Alanna the Lioness. Published in 1983, Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure introduced young readers to an unforgettable warrior experienced in magic, swordfighting, and occasional kingdom-saving. More than three decades and many beloved stories later, Pierce is back with Tempests and Slaughter, the first in a brand-new series. As she prepares to go on a month-long US tour to promote the book, we asked the prolific writer and reader to share the titles she's packing for the trip.



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I put more planning into the books I take on tour than I do into my clothing (though this tour got more wardrobe prep than usual because I've lost some weight)! I am a fast reader. I have always been a fast reader. If the books are the size of regular mass market paperbacks, I can read two on my flight between my home in Syracuse and Atlanta; five between San Francisco and New York City.

I get the shakes if I run out of books I want to read. If I run out of books because I picked a couple of duds, I get the shakes and the sweats. That's why I used to carry seven books on a plane before the miracle of the iPad, and that's why my list is so long!

I was going to take Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited, Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage, and Libba Bray's Before the Devil Breaks You. Instead, I am leaving them at home…because I got impatient and read them already. They're all great writers, and the books show readers, once again, why they attract so much attention.

Unfortunately, from where I sit, the better the book and the more I love it, the faster I read it. So I had to find other books to take their places on the road.

For the paper books that go with me, I have R.S. Belcher's The Shotgun Arcana, sequel to The Six-Gun Tarot. They're examples of what I have begun to call "cowboy fantasy," historical books with magic set in a version of the Wild West or the West Coast around the same time (e.g., Jaime Lee Moyer's Against the Brightening Sky, Lila Bowen's Wake of Vultures, Rae Dawn Carson's Walk on Earth a Stranger, and Erin Bowman's Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails). I have gotten very fond of this subgenre, and if you know any other titles I've missed, please tell me!

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I also have Lindsay Faye's Seven for a Secret, set in New York City in 1846 at a fledgling police department (they just invented detectives!). I love historical fiction, and Timothy, the book's observer, is a sharp-minded, sharp-eyed narrator. Then comes Kate Milford's newest historical fantasy. The three I've read have been set in the late 1800s-early 1900s East Coast; this one takes place during the Napoleonic War at sea; though the main characters are Americans.

The last paper book (so far) is Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger, a writer previously unknown to me. It's a more straightforward fantasy, promising telepaths and secrets. I'm a sucker for both.

My main store of reads is on my iPad, which tells me I have over 400 books ready to go: new books, old ones, and favorites. First up is a contemporary teen novel written by (HURRAY!!!!) my first assistant, Sarah Jade Alan, titled A Messy, Beautiful Life. Main character Ellie is a smart, ambitious teenager with a divorced mother, a serious comedy improv habit, a company of friends to perform with, and the ambition to get into college. Then disaster in the form of a deadly illness strikes. I won't say more, but the characters are lively, funny, and REAL. I can't wait to see what Sarah does next!

There are a number of Regency romances, including some by my favorite, Georgette Heyer. There's no sex in a real Regency because the stories are set among the upper class during the early 19th century. Instead, there's intrigue, interesting people, the remains of the Napoleonic Wars, horses, and dogs. Heyer is the queen, but I keep looking for other writers as good as she is. She also wrote Georgian romances, set in the time of George III, with sword fights, intrigue, romance, spying between France and England, disguises, and very bad bad guys. Also, gorgeous outfits for the men as well as for the women.

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I also have quite a few thrillers on my iPad—they keep me from thinking about how much longer I have on a flight. I have at least four Robert McCammon thrillers I haven't read. He's written sci-fi horror like Stinger and Swan Song, mysteries set in Colonial America, and now he's returned to modern thrillers. I'm also bringing two of my favorite Stephen King books, It and The Green Mile.

The biggest part of my book supply is fantasy and science fiction. I have absolute favorite books by absolute favorite writers: Barbara Hambly, Robin McKinley, Elizabeth Moon, Daniel Jose Older, N.K. Jemisin, Rachel Neumeier, and Nalo Hopkinson. I also have three unread books by my favorite science fiction writer, Ian McDonald.

And there's always what I pick up en route! I'll be at Escape Pod Comics before I get to New York City, and that means I'll get my hands on comics from all over the world, comics that aren't just superhero comics. (Though I will never say no to any work from Gail Simone, G. Willow Wilson, or Faith Erin Hicks.) I have been a comics fan since I was in sixth grade (not counting the newspaper funnies, of course), and I love seeing the explosion of women's work that's available now.

As you can see, I read a lot—on the road, in hotels, at home! After all, if I don't read, where will I get new ideas?


Be sure to add Tamora Pierce's's Tempests and Slaughter to your Want to Read shelf.


Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Cowboy fantasy might (or should?) include Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series. Fabulous.

Another one you might enjoy, Kate Milford (Greenglass series). The best of luck on your journey.


message 2: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Blake Devon Monk did an interesting steampunk western series (and I don't like either steampunk or westerns!).

Have a great trip! I hear that Deborah Blake woman might have a new one out for you soon.


message 3: by Minghuihirsch (new)

Minghuihirsch Kim wrote: "Cowboy fantasy might (or should?) include Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series. Fabulous.

Another one you might enjoy, Kate Milford (Greenglass series). The best of luck on your journey."


+1 for Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic! Very cowboy fantasy.


message 4: by Critterbee❇ (new)

Critterbee❇ I have found no author who comes close to Georgette Heyer. Although, there are some regencies that are not set among the upper class, and I would still count them as worth reading.


message 5: by Adel (new)

Adel Kim wrote: "Cowboy fantasy might (or should?) include Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series. Fabulous.
Agreed. Loved it.



message 6: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Grindberg Have you read any Mercedes Lackey? She is an awesome Fantasy writer!


message 7: by Simon (last edited Feb 06, 2018 12:28PM) (new)

Simon Mark hmm the book does not appear to come out in the uk for another couple of months - do try Frances Hardinge her stuff is weird fantasy that is near impossible to put down - do not start one before sleeping unless you can go without - do just try " a face like glass "


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer L We're excited over here for you to read Keeper of the Lost Cities! That series is to my daughter what Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword/The Hero and the Crown were to me as a tween/early teen. I only stumbled upon your books when I was an elementary school teacher when First Test caught my eye in the bookstore. Looking forward to Numair's story immensely! Enjoy your tour and all those great looking reads!


message 9: by Christine (new)

Christine I have to recommend a Western Fantasy (not really a cowboy fantasy): Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman.

Beautifully written, dark and unlike anything I've read.


message 10: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Waits Have you read Patricia C. Wrede's "13th Child" books? they are fantastic, weird West books with a spunky protagonist and interesting natural history.


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Rowland Instead of a Western/Fantasy maybe a Western/Sci-Fi? Gunslinger Girl was a pretty fun read.


message 12: by Brekke (last edited Feb 06, 2018 02:00PM) (new)

Brekke Christine wrote: "I have to recommend a Western Fantasy (not really a cowboy fantasy): Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman.

Beautifully written, dark and unlike anything I've read."


I was absolutely going to recommend this one and "Cold Eye," the sequel as well. Those books are *amazing*.

I was also going to add the book The Silver Riders by my dear friend Greg Hatcher (although knowing that Greg also reads Tammy's books, it's entirely possible that she's already ready that one).

Out of the Western genre and into the fantasy genre, Kindle Unlimited led me to Linsey Hall, and I fell in love with her Ancient Magic series. I devoured all of them as they came out and am currently less than patiently waiting for the next book in the Valkyrie series. I haven't read the Mythean Arcana series (although I do have the omnibus on my Kindle) because it's a lot of books and I haven't had the time to invest in that many at the moment. But I pretty much adore Linsey's writing and forgive her some of the silly tropes for the sheer originality that pervades most of her series. Even though I read them on KU, I've actually purchased most of them because I know I'll reread them (and my book budget isn't as large as my book lover heart wishes it was, so that's a pretty high compliment).

Another author who ranks up in with Misty and Tammy as my favorite is Amalia Dillin. Her Facets of Fate series about Eve, Thor, Adam, and their history is AMAZING and I've read it several times because I love it. Her Honor Among Orc series is also pretty phenomenal. She also writes as Amalia Carosella for writing historical fiction, and her take on Helen of Troy is fascinating.


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Penfold I suggest Andrea K Host - in particular, her "Touchstone" set. "Stray," -book 1 - is usually a free eBook.
I also recommend Janet Edwards' "Earth Girl" series.


message 14: by CJ (new)

CJ Janzen Just picked it up from audible.ca thanks for the update!!


message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie Shuff I adore Tamora Pierce! When I was a kid in the 90s, my mother had a book that was a list of books featuring strong, empowered women. I can still envision the cover but don't know the name (this was before the era of widespread internet). My mom would take me to the library and let me choose what interested me. So seeing what inspires one of my all-time favorite writers is awesome! It feels like a sneak peek at her bookshelves.


message 16: by Jp (new)

Jp Although not a traditional novel, the graphic novel series Pretty Deadly (written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Emma Ríos; published by IMAGE comics) is fantastic. The story is mesmerizing and original and the art is just gorgeous. I could pour over those editions for hours. HIGHLY recommend!

Summary from the publisher's site:

"...marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage."


message 17: by Kailee (new)

Kailee A friend of mine, Diane Morrison has written an amazing series called "Wyrd West" available on digital that sounds right up your alley. The first book in the series is called Showdown.


message 18: by Nicole (new)

Nicole When I think cowboy fantasy, I always think this one fascinating short story by Garth Nix, published in his Across the Wall collection. It's gritty and dystopic, with a young, female, sharpshooter type.


message 19: by Befree (new)

Befree Very close...and in some cases book to book, if you can find them Patricia Veryan for regencies/georgian. Start with "Loves duet" if you can. Her books remind me most of Heyers "Devils Cub" sequence in that she has a cast of characters that persist. Published by St. Martin's here and Severn House in England. She has ceased writing (sigh). Her best book never made it over here "Poor splendid wings" which takes place war-time England (WWII) and is semi-autobiographical as she was a war-bride. Anyone who like Heyer will love these! she also published under a Pseud. for one of the Harlequin series.


message 20: by Befree (new)

Befree I very rarely order hardbacks anymore but you are one of the authors I pre-order hard copy. Veryan was another in multiple copies so my family wouldn't squabble over who got to read it first!


message 21: by Chris (last edited Feb 08, 2018 09:46AM) (new)

Chris Hm... on the subject of Cowboy Fantasy I was going to mention Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series, but I see the first poster already did ...

There's Stephen King's The Gunslinger series of course...

There's Cherie Priest's Boneshaker series, that's technically Steampunk, but it's set in the the American West and includes some fantastical elements.

There's Devon Monk's Dead Iron series.

Hmm... there was a book of short stories I read some years ago.. that were a fantastic blend of Chinese magic and Western culture ... Hah! Found it: Tales of the Far West, marvelous stuff.


message 22: by Lily (new)

Lily Thanks for the recoomendations. I love a lot of these authors so I can tell Ill probably love the new ones!


message 23: by ClaireReader (new)

ClaireReader Carla Kelly is a fabulous author of Regencies, as well as several historical novels set in the American West. I recommend everything by her except her foray into LDS religious fiction.


message 24: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Re: Cowboy fantasy. My favorite is Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente


message 25: by Jessica Robinson (new)

Jessica Robinson After I discovered your books over a decade ago I learned that YA Fantasy was the genre I most enjoyed! Another favorite author is Maria V Snyder. I’ve loved all of her series, starting with Poison Study.
I bought my first Patricia A. McKillop book for the stunning cover art by my favorite artist, Kunuko Y. Craft, and found that she weaves truly unique fantastical and rich fairy tales. I’ve enjoyed Ombria In Shadow and Winter Rose the most.
I’ve devoured the books of YA Regency author Cindy Antsey! Love, Lies & Spies, Duels & Deceptions, and Suitors & Sabatouge have all become some of my recent favorites! As well as the first two books by Tarun Shankur and Kelly Zekas, These Viscious Masks and These Ruthless Deeds.


message 26: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Kim wrote: "Cowboy fantasy might (or should?) include Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series. Fabulous.

Another one you might enjoy, Kate Milford (Greenglass series). The best of luck on your journey."


Oh, I love that one too! Double (or I see, more like quadruple in the comments) recommendations for the first.


message 27: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Shotwell I would be thrilled to pieces to see my YA book on this list. In the meantime, I'll plug away.......the title is Gone Before Spring.

E-book and paperback. I hope to have the sequel out in 2018.


message 28: by Mary (last edited Feb 21, 2018 03:50PM) (new)

Mary Definitely add Laura Anne Gilman's Devil's West series! Excellent!

I love Tempests and Slaughter. The minute I saw it, I purchased it. I can't wait for the next. And like you, I love the digital readers. I have a very healthy library of favorites. Tamora’s are some I never get tired of. They are like old friends—always there—always welcoming.


message 29: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Thompson I remember when rumors of this series came out when I was in high school! (about 10 years ago!) So happy it's finally here!! Great read, finished it in one day and couldn't put it down!


message 30: by Rouan (new)

Rouan If you haven't already read them yet, I strongly suggest Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series. Read them in order, although they can be read as standalones. The first one is The Thief. The main protagonist in each book is male but there are strong female characters in each book as well. These are probably my favorite series off all times (which is saying a lot because I am an avid reader and have been since I learned to read).


message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary Rouan wrote: "If you haven't already read them yet, I strongly suggest Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series. Read them in order, although they can be read as standalones. The first one is The Thief. The ma..."

Agreed!


message 32: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Lisa wrote: "Instead of a Western/Fantasy maybe a Western/Sci-Fi? Gunslinger Girl was a pretty fun read."

Agreed; I really enjoyed this one.


message 33: by Whitney (new)

Whitney I feel like Tamora would love Ami McKay's books -- The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and the Witches of New York City. The second and third are set in New York City in the 1800s, but the first is set in a rural town in Nova Scotia in the mid-1900s. All three have strong, female characters who are smart, fearless, and resourceful -- just like Alanna!


message 34: by Chris (last edited Feb 21, 2018 11:37PM) (new)

Chris With regard to Cowboy Fantasy, there is a listopia list that might be relevant:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3...

The books on the list all look to be on the darker side, being more of an intersection between Westerns and Horror, but that does fit into the general description (of Cowboy Fantasy), so maybe people can find some interesting reads there.

Also ... I like the name: Weird West. I'm going to borrow that for my bookshelf name.


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura
I was going to take Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited, Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage, and Libba Bray's Before the Devil Breaks You. Instead, I am leaving them at home…because I got impatient and read them already.


This reminded me so much of me as a kid, when my mum would hide the books she bought me to take on holiday because I'd read them all before we left... and then complain I didn't have anything to read!

Cowboy fantasy isn't really a genre I've read before, but I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of it so will investigate further...


message 36: by Keren (new)

Keren I recently read The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day. It's an amazing book about two high school seniors in a backwater town. They're both competing for a prestigious scholarship, and as we get to know them we learn why they both need to be the best.

I'm not very good at describing it, but trust me, it's amazing.


message 37: by Ella (new)

Ella Earp-Lynch Mary Balogh is a wonderful current writer of Regency, she does some fascinating exploration of the often overlooked fact that Regency England was a country at war, and its people were heavily impacted by those wars in many different ways.


message 38: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I am princess x by Cherie priest is a great book. Check out Ready Player One too. Going to an older trilogy.. The darkangel trilogy by Meredith Ann pierce. Also enjoy fantasy novels by Sheri S Tepper.

Just picked up the new book... And looking forward to seeing you at Emerald City Comic Con


message 39: by MéShelle (new)

MéShelle Fae Kim wrote: "Cowboy fantasy might (or should?) include Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic series. Fabulous.

Another one you might enjoy, Kate Milford (Greenglass series). The best of luck on your journey."


I LOVE Frontier Magic! I found it on accident at my library and what a happy accident it was. Great pick!


message 40: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Wye Sooooo many amazing online comics that are written by women. Check out Wilde Life by Pascalle Lepas, Sfeer Theory: Uitspan Era Catalogue 1, and Mare Internum by Der-shing Helmer.


message 41: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Wye Nicole wrote: "When I think cowboy fantasy, I always think this one fascinating short story by Garth Nix, published in his Across the Wall collection. It's gritty and dystopic, with a young, female, sharpshooter ..."

Probably one of my favorite along with Tamora Pierce's.
I love the slightly technical bits the throws into all the magic; makes it feel a bit closer to reality.


message 42: by Richard (new)

Richard The Gunslinger and the Necromancer. L.G.Estrella


message 43: by Richard (new)

Richard To Audry’s list I would add

Namesake http://namesakecomic.com Isabelle Melancon and Megan Lavey-Heaton
A Girl and Her Fed agirlandherfed.com K.B. Spangler


message 44: by Clara (new)

Clara Freetly Thirteenth Child was my first thought to recommend closely followed by The Sharing Knife: Beguilement and Legacy. Definitely advise any who like the first to try the second.


message 45: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series itself is amazing. The fourth book in the series surprised me and introduced me to western + magic. I highly recommend reading the full series and enjoying the fourth in this genre!


message 46: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Thank you so much for this list! I had no idea there were others! I love your work Tamora Pierce you are an inspiration. I'm excited to learn of your tour and I hope to catch you in a city near me. Thank you for all you do!


message 47: by Paige (new)

Paige Howard I recently read the Unicorn Western by Sean Platt book and this is a great cowboy fantasy book.I recently discovered this genre for myself.And I got so carried away with stories about cowboys that I didn’t notice how cowboy clothes started to appear in my wardrobe, the very first thing I bought was https://101boots.com/best-cowboy-boot... cowboy shoes that are extremely comfortable.I am currently reading The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher and this book are also very fascinating.


message 48: by Merri (new)

Merri Kelly Since you like good fantasy you should try Jennifer Roberson's Cheysuli series!! Excellent!!


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