Celia S. Friedman was born in 1957 to Nancy and Herbert Friedman. Originally a radio engineer, Herb later became a contributor to numerous technical magazines, and the sound of a typewriter churning out magazine articles was the background to Celia's childhood.
She learned to read at an early age and could not get enough of it. In kindergarten she read the entirety of a Dick and Jane book in one night -- it was intended to last her class the whole semester -- and she demanded of the teacher the next day, "where's the sequel?"
At age 6, a child psychologist who had tested her at school reported to her parents with some concern that when given a drawing of a house and a family and asked to make up a story about them, she did -- a complex story in which the family were really space aliens. (Her parents reassured the tester they considered this normal, healthy creativity.)
At age 12, during a trip to France with her family, she ran out of reading material and purchased the only book available in English. It was Asimov's collection Earth is Room Enough. Upon reading it she came to realize that Science Fiction was the ultimate form of literature in the universe... a discovery that was to change the direction of her life.
At age 13 she wrote a vampire novel, mostly between the pages of her math notebook, and readers should all be very glad it was lost, as it was quite awful. (That was back in the Dark Shadows generation, when writing a vampire novel was a requirement for growing up.)
At age14, in response to classmates disdaining her for being "a mere earthling", she began to design an interstellar universe complete with warring nations and a 10,000 year history. This work would later become the core of the background material for her first published novel, In Conquest Born. It also satisfied her classmates that, like them, she was truly an alien, and won her much social acceptance.
At age 17 she shipped out to Brandeis University, where she studied Math for one year and then changed to a Theater major. More significantly, she discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and the joy of spending her weekends in period costume.
At age 19 she transferred to Adelphi University. Her mother suggested she become a costume designer, since obviously she enjoyed making costumes so much. She responded that this was a silly idea, since costumes were fun, and people in the real world didn't pay you for having fun. Nevertheless, she decided to give it a try.
Meanwhile she joined the League of Renaissance Swordsmen, performed with them at various Renaissance festivals, and met Rick Umbaugh, who read her stuff and said she should turn it in to a publisher. By "stuff" he was referring to the now daunting amount of creative material she had written based upon the worlds of Braxi and Azea and the endless war between them.
It was a good idea, but it lost out to a busy life. In 1978 Celia attended the University of Georgia, where she studied Costume Design and eventually got her MFA. While there, under Rick's urging, she began to put together the various bits and pieces of her work and develop it into a unified novel...but there was still far to go.
In 1981 Celia got her first job, as Assistant Professor of Costuming in Geneseo, NY. Working many hours a day, often 7 days a week, she scribbled short stories long into the night to work off her tension.
And then one day in 1983 "it" happened. She had spent the whole night in a writing frenzy, turning out 30 pages that (in hindsight) were clearly inspired by the bitterly cold, ice-bound Rochester winter. She looked at them in the bleary light of dawn and read them again and thought, "Damn, this is good. This is good enough to sell." (Chapter 11 of In Conquest Born, if you're curious).
Moving to Winchester Virginia, to teach at Shenandoah University, she set aside a summer to turn her stories into a novel which she could submit for consideration. She really didn't think such a fragmented novel would be accepted, but she knew she wouldn't be able to work on anything else until it had received its rejection and she could move on.
With Rick's constant urging, and a four hour phone call the last night to come up with a title, she finally submitted In Conquest Born to DAW books, and waited for her rejection to come in the mail.
Biography provided by the author, September 2006.