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Terri (Bellamy Bach Windling a group pseudonym) (1958-) - Sidelights

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Terri Windling has made a great impact on the world of fantasy literature, as an editor and artist as well as a writer. Best known for editing numerous anthologies of fantasy literature for adults, including the annual The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror compendiums, Windling has also written several of her own adult novels in addition to authoring and editing works for younger readers.

Windling stumbled into her first publishing job almost accidentally, as she explained to Michael Jones of Green Man Review. Immediately after graduating from college, she moved to New York hoping to get a job working on The Dark Crystal, a fantasy film by Jim Henson. She was not hired, so "I looked around to see what else I could do with my passion for folklore and folkloric art," she explained. She applied for several different jobs in publishing, both artistic and editorial positions, and was offered a job as an editorial assistant, a starting point which would begin her career as a highly regarded editor of fantasy.

The next decade Windling worked as an editor for some of the premiere publishers in the fantasy genre. During this time, Windling worked with fellow editor Mark Alan Arnold to create the "Borderland" series, which is set in a city on the border between everyday Earth and the land of the elves. Normally, humans and elves are separated by the magical border, but sometimes the barrier is lifted and the two can interact. The four long stories in the opening volume were called "unusually well written in terms of character development, plot tension, and innovation" by Kliatt contributor Eugene E. La-Faille, Jr. The third volume, Life on the Border, which Windling edited without Arnold, was also praised by reviewers. Locus's Tom Whitmore thought that the book showed that there are "people writing in this vein who write very well indeed." Voice of Youth Advocate contributor Joyce Davidson also felt that the book contained "many great stories," and concluded, "the world of Bordertown has become a very real place, a place that would be great to visit."

But, as Windling continued to Jones, "as I worked with writers and artists, it became clear that I was too envious of them; I wanted to be writing and doing art myself." So slowly, Windling shifted her focus to that side of the field. She founded Endicott Studio in 1987, and published a children's fantasy novella, The Changeling, in 1995. At the same time, Windling has remained a consulting editor for one publishing company and has helped to edit numerous anthologies, which she says that she enjoys much more than her former job of editing novels. "Editing an anthology, even though the stories in them are the work and creative children of the authors involved, you have more of an influence on the whole shape of the book," she told Jones. "Your name is on it, you're providing the theme for it, whereas it's a whole different skill being a novel editor. A good novel editor is invisible."

In A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales, Windling and her The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror coeditor Ellen Datlow take a theme common to their adult anthologies—retelling classic fairy tales in contemporary settings—and collect several youth-friendly stories in this vein. As in their compendiums for adults, the stories are darker and more complex than the sanitized versions of fairy tales that most Americans are familiar with. Windling and Datlow explain in their introduction that these retellings are actually closer to the original European folktales than today's familiar happily-ever-after versions, which were popularized during the Victorian era. Garth Nix's "Hansel's Eyes," in which the witch lures children in order to sell their organs on the black market, is perhaps the darkest of the lot. It "may be too lurid, even for teens," thought Booklist's Hazel Rochman, but Rocky Mountain News reviewer Natalie Soto thought that there was nothing in the volume "so shocking that a middle-grader wouldn't love [it]." Other entries are more poetic. In Gregory Maguire's "The Seven Stage a Comeback," the Seven Dwarves lament the loss of Snow White in long soliloquies and plot to win her back from the prince, while Neil Gaiman contributes a poem of "Instructions" for what to do if you find yourself in a fairy tale. "The diversity of content, style, and tone makes this an excellent collection for sampling," thought School Library Journal contributor Ellen A. Greever.

Windling and Datlow soon released a second collection of retold fairy tales for young adults, The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. These fifteen stories and Thirteen renowned fantasy and science-fiction writers pen a version of a classic fairy tale in the imaginative compilation edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. (Cover art by Tristan Ellwell.) three poems all feature young adults interacting with nature in some way. As with A Wolf at the Door, the tones of the pieces vary widely. A humorous story by Gregory Maguire, "Fee, Fie, Foe, et Cetera," tells the other side of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, while other works feature "mature themes and an often sophisticated view of the world and how one survives in it," wrote Amy Kellman in School Library Journal. "All in all, this is a tasty treat for fantasy fans," Sally Estes concluded in Booklist.

A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale, The Winter Child, and The Faeries of Spring Cottage are picture books written by Windling, featuring artwork by Wendy Froud (best known for her puppet-making work on The Dark Crystal and the Star Wars films). These three books follow a young tree root faery named Sneezle and his sidekick Twig (a marsh thistle faery) as they save the day for the better-known faery king and queen Oberon and Titania. In the first volume, Sneezle saves the faery queen from a magical enchantment; in The Winter Child, he recovers Oberon's lost cup and breaks a spell that was preventing winter from coming to the faery kingdom.

The books feature an uncommon form of illustration: Froud and her husband Brian created dolls of the characters and arranged them into tableaux of the various scenes, which were then photographed by John Lawrence Jones. Booklist reviewer Michael Cart offered a mixed reaction to the illustrations in A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale, saying that "some readers will love the elaborately staged, brightly lit pictures," but others might find them "inherently static, and even a bit creepy." A Publishers Weekly reviewer of The Winter Child was more positive, saying that the photographs "[mesh] seamlessly with [Windling's] sensitive text," calling the finished product "flawlessly conceived and exquisitely produced."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, second edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 1992, Candace Smith, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, p. 1925; August, 1994, Ray Olson, review of Black Thorn, White Rose, p. 2030; August, 1995, Roland Green, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection, p. 1933; December 15, 1995, Roland Green, review of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, p. 692; July, 1996, Ray Olson, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection, p. 1812; April 15, 1997, Roland Green, review of Black Swan, White Raven, p. 1387; September 15, 1998, Roland Green, review of The Essential Bordertown: A Traveller's Guide to the Edge of Faerie, p. 205; March 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Silver Birch, Blood Moon, p. 1293; July, 1999, Ray Olson, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Edition, p. 1930; February 1, 2000, Michael Cart, review of A Midsummer Night's Fairy Tale, p. 1022; September 1, 2000, Roland Green, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Thirteenth Annual Collection, p. 71, and Hazel Rochman, review of A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales, p. 73; July, 2001, Roland Green, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection, p. 1993; April 15, 2002, Sally Estes, review of The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest, p. 1412; August, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection, p. 1939; September 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Swan Sister: Fairy Tales Retold, p. 232; April 15, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm, p. 1450.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1996, p. 1196; May 1, 2002, review of The Green Man, p. 651; June 15, 2002, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection, p. 847; September 1, 2003, review of Swan Sister, p. 1121.

Kliatt, fall, 1986, Eugene E. LaFaille, Jr., review of Borderland, p. 30.

Library Journal, December, 1988, C. Robert Nixon, review of The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection, p. 113; August, 1992, Jackie Cassada, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection, p. 155; November 15, 1995, Jackie Cassada, review of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, p. 103; October 1, 1996, p. 93; June 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of Black Swan, White Raven, p. 100; October 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Tenth Annual Collection, p. 98; August, 2000, Ann Kim, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Thirteenth Annual Collection, p. 168.

Locus, August, 1991, Tom Whitmore, review of Life on the Border, pp. 29, 52.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, February 6, 1983, Don Strachan, review of Elsewhere, Volume II, p. 8.

Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June, 1995, Charles de Lint, review of The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors, p. 33; October-November, 1996, Charles de Lint, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection, pp. 59-60; December, 1996, Charles de Lint, review of The Wood Wife, p. 42; September, 1997, Charles de Lint, review of Black Swan, White Raven, pp. 34-36; September, 2003, Charles de Lint, review of The Faeries of Spring Cottage, pp. 40-41.

New York Times Book Review, January 31, 1993, Meg Wolitzer, review of Snow White, Blood Red, p. 29.

Publishers Weekly, July 29, 1988, Peggy Kaganoff, review of The Year's Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection, p. 227; June 22, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection, p. 49; July 12, 1991, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourth Annual Collection, p. 61; July 6, 1992, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection, p. 50; November 23, 1992, review of Snow White, Blood Red, p. 57; July 5, 1993, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixth Annual Collection, p. 68; August 8, 1994, review of Black Thorn, White Rose, p. 392; April 10, 1995, review of The Armless Maiden, p. 58; July 17, 1995, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection, p. 227; November 6, 1995, review of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, p. 86; July 8, 1996, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection, p. 80; September 16, 1996, review of The Wood Wife, p. 74; May 26, 1997, review of Black Swan, White Raven, p. 71; August 11, 1997, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Tenth Annual Collection, p. 390; September 4, 2000, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Thirteenth Annual Collection, p. 90; July 9, 2001, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection, p. 52; September 10, 2001, review of The Winter Child, p. 66; May 27, 2002, review of The Green Man, p. 62; July 29, 2002, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection, p. 59; July 28, 2003, review of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection, pp. 83-84; October 6, 2003, review of Swan Sister, p. 86.

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), August 6, 2000, Natalie Soto, review of A Wolf at the Door, p. 4E.

School Library Journal, April 15, 1982, review of Elsewhere, p. 88; July, 1997, Dottie Kraft, review of The Wood Wife, p. 117; August, 2000, Ellen A. Greever, review of A Wolf at the Door, p. 180; November, 2000, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Black Heart, Ivory Bones, p. 182; June, 2002, Margaret A. Chang, review of The Winter Child, p. 116; July, 2002, Amy Kellman, review of The Green Man, pp. 118-119.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1981, p. 38; April, 1983, p. 45; December, 1986, p. 233; December, 1991, Joyce Davidson, review of Life on the Border, p. 324; April, 1992, p. 10; October, 1995, p. 228; April, 1996, p. 17; December, 1996, p. 266; February, 1997, p. 341.

ONLINE

Endicott Studio Web Site, http://www.endicott-studio.com/ (May 10, 2004).

Green Man Review, http://www.greenmanreview/ (January 14, 2004), Michael Jones, interview with Windling.*

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