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Patricia Anne McKillip was born in Salem, Oregon (USA) on February 29, 1948 - a leap year baby! She started writing at 14, and according to the notes in the Riddlemaster trilogy, "she has been writing ever since - except for a brief detour when she thought she would be a concert pianist." The House on Parchment Street has a neat quote about how she started writing - "In a fit of boredom one day when she was fourteen, she sat down in front of a window overlooking a stately medieval church and its graveyard and produced a thirty-page fairy tale."
She went to the College of Notre Dame, Belmont, and San Jose University where she earned a BA in English. She then went on for a MA at the San Jose State University. McKillip then moved to San Francisco, then to the Catskill Mountains in NY, then Roxbury, NY and now lives in Oregon (if I make sense of the author's notes in consecutive books correctly.)
She won the World Fantasy Award in 1975 for The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, the Locus Award in 1980 for Harpist in the Wind, and the Balrog award in 1985 in the short fiction category for "A Troll and Two Roses".
This quote was in Faces of Fantasy (by Patti Perret):
I write fantasy because it's there. I have no other excuse for sitting down for several hours a day indulging my imagination. Daydreaming. Thinking up imaginary people, impossible places. Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps. It must be fed; it cannot be ignored. Making it tell the same tale over and over again makes it thin and whining; its scales begin to fall off; its fiery breath becomes a trickle of smoke. It is best fed by reality, an odd diet for something nonexistent; there are few details of daily life and its broad range of emotional context that can't be transformed into food for the imagination. It must be visited constantly, or else it begins to become restless and emit strange bellows at embarrassing moments; ignoring it only makes it grow larger and noisier. Content, it dreams awake, and spins the fabric of tales. There is really nothing to be done with such imagery except to use it: in writing, in art. Those who fear the imagination condemn it: something childish, they say, something monsterish, misbegotten. Not all of us dream awake. But those of us who do have no choice.
McKillip has done two interviews with Locus. "Moving Forward" was done in 1992, and "Springing Surprises" was published in 1996. Current and back editions of Locus are still available at Locus Online. Locus also often includes information about upcoming McKillip releases.