Paul B. Thompson: I grew up in rural North Carolina, watching TV shows like Time Tunnel and the original Star Trek. I read my way (literally) through the county library, devouring shelves of history, science, and every variety of imaginative literature I could find. There were no bookstores around and no Internet, so I became adept at mail ordering books I wanted. In 1976 I went off to college at the University of North Carolina, majoring in (what else?) European History.
While in grad school, I fell in with a like-minded circle of friends at the UNC science fiction club, known as Chimera. There I met Tonya Cook (née Carter). We did all the usual fannish things, going to conventions, making costumes, and so on. After receiving my Master's Degree in '83, I went to work at the university library. In my copious spare time I tried my hand at writing fiction, naively thinking that since I'd had some success writing magazine articles, novel writing would be a breeze, right? Well, it wasn't until 1987 that I sold my first piece of fiction, a science fiction novel. Shortly thereafter, Tonya came to me to pick my brain about some problems she was having with the novel she was working on. We kicked the story around a while, and it ended up being our first (unpublished!) collaboration. Not discouraged, we began a second, which became Red Sands, published by TSR in 1988. We've been working together ever since.
-----From an interview at http://ww2.wizards.com/books/mirrorstone/Article.aspx?doc=dl_thompsoncookap2004