Janet Lee Carey (born January 11, 1954) is an American college professor who writes fantasy fiction for children and young adults. Her novels The Dragons of Noor (2010) won a Teens Read Too Gold Star Award for Excellence, Dragon's Keep (2007) won an ALA Best Books for Young adults, and Wenny Has Wings (2002) won the Mark Twain Award (2005).
Personal life and background
Carey was born in New York and was raised in Mill Valley, California. Carey moved to Seattle, Washington to be closer to her mother and stepfather, where she currently lives at Seattle, Washington. Carey is a very imaginative person and she finds herself daydreaming continuously throughout the day, which allows her to get into her “fantasy land” while writing. She considers herself a homebody who enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.
Many of Carey’s novels involve an ordinary child doing heroic deeds. She believes all children need courage in order to develop into successful adults. Carey says courage requires “a sense of purpose, a belief that what I do matters, a willingness to sacrifice, and the strength to fail and keep going.” Her novels show children and teens overcoming struggles and obstacles which eventually influence their development and growth as individuals.
Janet Lee Carey is a successful children’s literature author as well as a teacher. Her desire to become a writer began at a very young age reading her favorite authors seated high up in the branches of a tree. Although at first she was unable to progress from inspiration to publication, she eventually became a successful writer through her dedication, love of story, and passion for writing. Carey faced years of rejection; however, she kept sending her stories out. She believes that the joys far outweigh the struggles with writing.
She has taught at Lake Washington Technical college, Bellevue college, and she leads professional seminars and workshops designed for children and adults. Carey is involved in many groups including her critique group, The Diviners, and arts group, Artemis. The Diviners is a dynamic critique group which helped her progress as a writer, through the revision and analysis of her work. Artemis is a support group for artists, made up of writers, photographers, painters, collage artists, sculptures and musicians. They meet to openly discuss their goals and successes as well as the difficulties and hardships of being an artist. She is also involved with readergirlz and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Readergirlz is an online blog which supports reading for teenage girls. SCBWI is a non-profit organization specifically for those involved with children and young adult literature. Along with her interest in working with other writers, she is also a strong supporter of charitable organizations and environmental awareness. Carey demonstrates her support by linking each of her novels to a charitable organization, hoping to empower readers to make a difference in the world.
Between finding time for her group work and writing, Carey has also dedicated much of her time to hosting writing retreats for future authors. She tours across the United States and overseas presenting at schools and children’s book festivals and conferences.
Carey’s career as a writer was influenced by many different authors, books, her imagination, and personal struggles. Authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Juliet Marillier, Patricia A. McKillip, Shannon Hale, Kristin Cashore and many more constantly inspired her as a writer. The fantasy stories she read as a child “was the reason [she] wanted to grow up to be a writer.” She was also inspired by Grimms' Fairy Tales, and stories involving myths and fantasies. Carey always had a wild imagination. As a child she believed that trees whispered to her; telling her stories in a language she couldn’t understand. Her imagination helps her create vivid fantasy novels. Cary's determination to understand “things that haunt [her] and keep [her] awake at night,” also influenced her writing. She began writing Stealing Death when her mother was dying and she addresses the question “Why do we have to die” throughout the novel.