The YA section at most bookstores was not nearly as robust in the late 80s as it is now. Sure, there were scores of teen horror books and a solid selection of what equates to young adult chick lit today, but for the nerdy, fantasy-obsessed reader that I was, the Redwall series was the most popular. I spent a lot of time sneaking over to the Fantasy/Science Fiction section of Borders and telling my parents I “totally got this book in the YA section.”
Tamora Pierce also wasn’t the household name that she is now in YA literature. Her Alanna series (a/k/a Song of the Lioness) was out of print, and the continuing saga of Tortall wouldn’t hit shelves for a few more years. As a result, it’s still a surprise to find that every girl I meet who is around my age goes misty eyed when I bring up Pierce, her incredible female heroines, and the awesome world she has created.
We all managed to discover her around the same age. We are all obsessed. Every conversation ends with “How has no one turned these books into movies yet? HOW?”
Now we have an answer. In case you don’t make it a habit of routinely searching the internet for your favorite authors to see if they’ve finally joined Twitter (What? It’s totally normal), Tamora Pierce actually has a long history of blogging and is an active participant in internet communities you are probably already addicted to as well. She’s on LiveJournal and Tumblr, and she posts about writing, her books, and many worthwhile causes she supports.
Thank you, Internet, for continuing to allow me to think I can reach out and interact with much, much cooler people than myself.
Pierce has addressed the question she must get on a daily basis a while ago, but it’s only just been dug out of the archives of her journal and brought to public attention. Here’s where your hopes should lie when it comes to Tortall coming to life:
“My film agent tells me that the largest barrier to my getting a film deal is one of the things my fans like best: the fact that, for 14 of my Tortall books, and 10 of my Circle books, there is a good chance the reader will encounter friends from the earlier books. Readers of the Kel series will encounter characters from the Alanna and Daine books; readers of The Will of The Empress will encounter characters from The Circle of Magic.
The feeling among moviemakers is that if Company A makes a movie based upon the Alanna books, and Company B makes a movie based on the Kel books, Company B will be profiting from all the work Company A did, for free! (Gasp! Say it’s not so!) The bottom line is that unless I get J.K. Rowling-hot, so that a film company will buy an entire universe, my chances of getting a film deal are Not Good. (My other alternative is to write a stand-alone book in a brand new universe, then not write any more in that universe. Where’s the fun in that?) Of course, Beka’s books may stand a chance, since they don’t have any characters from the other Tortall books except Pounce.”
So, while we may not see a movie anytime soon, there’s no reason to lose hope. No one I know would wish an end to the wonderful storytelling that continues to evolve in Tortall. We’re clearly going to have to organize some kind of grassroots “Buy all the books and make these as bestselling as Harry Potter” campaign so that a single studio will buy the whole universe.
Until then, I’m going to continue to hoard my original copies of the Alanna books and remember the very first fan fiction I ever wrote at age 13 that was set in Tortall. If you haven’t gotten out there and read Tamora Pierce yet, get yourself to a well-stocked YA section and dive in immediately! You will not regret getting to meet Alanna, Faithful, and all their friends.
Featured image courtesy of DeviantART // Artist: JeBoo09