Nerd Culture

10 Arizona Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors You Should Know — Besides Diana Gabaldon and Stephenie Meyer

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Michael Stackpole
Most Recent Work: Pathfinder Tales: Crusader Road (2014)

A veteran Valley writer, Stackpole has written dozens of tie-in novels for such properties as World of Warcraft (Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde). He got his start designing games in the '70s and graduated in the '80s to writing novels in the BattleTech universe, but is best known for his Star Wars novels. Stackpole penned the popular "X-Wing" series, including the bestseller Rogue Squadron, as well as I, Jedi, a first-person tale of a young Jedi's training and adventures. He also penned stories about Luke Skywalker and his Expanded Universe wife, Mara Jade, for the graphic novel Union. In recent years, he has been involved with ASU's Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, but he has still found time to return to writing role-playing game-inspired novels, like his recent Pathfinder Tales: The Crusader Road.

Amy K. Nichols
Most Recent Work: While You Were Gone (2015)

This Greenway High School graduate has had a whirlwind year. Her debut novel, Now That You're Here, came out in December 2014. Inspired by her love of Doctor Who and fascination with quantum physics,  it is the story of Danny, a delinquent graffiti artist in an alternate, dystopian Phoenix who is pulled through a wormhole to our universe where he is befriended by Eevee, a girl he recognizes from his universe.The sequel, While You Were Gone, which tracks the Danny from our world and his adventures with the dystopian version of Eevee, came out in August. The duology has recently been rereleased as a flip-book omnibus as well. Nichols is currently writer-in-residence at the Glendale Public Library Main Branch as well — she will be writing at the library, hosting workshops, and answering visitors' writing questions through May 1.

Aprilynne Pike
Most Recent Work: Earthrise (2015)

Pike burst onto the YA scene in 2009 with her acclaimed debut, Wings, about a homeschooled girl who discovers she is actually a faerie when she starts sprouting wings. The fantasy spawned four bestselling sequels and made Pike a YA star. The blurb from Stephenie Meyer and comparisons to Twilight probably didn't hurt. Since then, she's written the Earthbound trilogy, about a psychic girl trying to stop a shadowy secret society bent on world domination and the Charlotte Westing duology, about a girl who can see the future and must use her power to stop a serial killer. Her next novel, Glitter, described as Marie Antoinette meets Breaking Bad, is due October 25.

Joseph Nassise
Most Recent Work: Fall of Night (2016)

This bestselling horror author has earned multiple Bram Stoker Award nominations and served as president of the Horror Writers of America. Nassise first garnered acclaim with his 2003 debut, Riverwatch, but is best known for his ongoing "Templars" series, the latest of which, The Fall of Night, hit stores in early January. He has also delved into the zombie craze with his undead during World War I alternate histories By the Blood of Heroes and On Her Majesty's Behalf. Under the pen name Matthew Caine, he has explored epic fantasy in the ongoing "Aspect Cycle," which kicked off in 2015 with The Ghosts of the Conquered. Most recently, he edited the anthology Urban Allies, due out July 26. The collection features collaborative works by some of horror and fantasy's hottest authors, including Charlaine Harris (The "Southern Vampire" series) and Larry Correia (Monster Hunter Nation).

Ryan Dalton
Most Recent Work: The Year of Lightning (2015)

A newcomer to the Valley's author scene, Dalton was a regular volunteer at Phoenix Comicon before publishing his debut, the YA thriller The Year of Lightning, last year. The first installment of the "Time Shift Trilogy" follows a pair of twins who move into a new town and are immediately intrigued by the old house across the street. Soon electrical storms are erupting all over town, somehow tied to the mysterious house. The novel has already gone into its second printing, and the sequel, The Black Tempest is due in early 2017.
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Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft