Fantasy fiction author Mercedes Richie Lackey was born in Chicago on June 24, 1950, and she received a B.S. from Purdue University in 1972. She is also a professional lyricist and has rehabilitated raptors. Lackey started writing her own short stories when her favorite science fiction and fantasy authors weren't producing new books fast enough for her. She began writing professionally with the encouragement of author C. J. Cherryh, whom Lackey had met at a science fiction convention. Many of Lackey's books, including the Queen's Own trilogy, the Vows and Honor series, and the Last Herald-Mage and Mage Winds trilogies, take place in the imaginary world of Valdemar. She has authored numerous series, including the Bardic Voices series and a series of occult mysteries featuring Diana Tregarde, a modern-day witch. Lackey enjoys collaborating and has co-written books with authors such as C.J. Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mark Shepherd, and Ru Emerson. Her title Redoubt made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012.