Tui T. Sutherland Facts

Tui T. Sutherland is a Venezuelan-American author. Her most well-known books are the Seekers and Warriors series (some of which were written by Sutherland as part of a group of other writers using the pen name Erin Hunter). She has also written the Wings of Fire series under her own name.

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Facts About Tui T. Sutherland

  • Tui T. Sutherland was born in 1978 in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Her name, chosen by her mother (born in New Zealand) comes from the tui, an energetic, noisy, and colourful bird native to New Zealand.
  • During her early childhood, she lived in Paraguay, Florida (US), and the Dominican Republic.
  • She went to high school in New Jersey.
  • At high school she was involved in the school theatre, mostly working backstage.
  • She graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1998. She thought about starting a career as a stage manager or about taking a graduate course in Art History, but in the end, she went to New Zealand and stayed with her uncle.
  • After taking a children’s literature class at the University of Aukland, she started to come up with lots of ideas for books she could write, and she ended up getting a job with Penguin.
  • The first novel she wrote was in 2004 for the publisher Harper Collins. It was called This Must Be Love and it was a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Her first mentor was Jane O’Connor, author of the Fancy Nancy books.
  • In 2009, she appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!. She won more than $45,000 dollars as a two-day champion.
  • She now lives in Boston with her husband Adam. They have two children, Jonah and Elliot.
  • She has had dogs named Sunshine (who passed away in 2020), Rainbow Dog (Bo for short), and Bumblebee.
  • She has worked as an editor.
  • In addition to Erin Hunter, Tui T. Sutherland has used several other pen names. As Rob Kidd she wrote The Legends of Brethren Court series (a Pirates of the Caribbean spin-off), as Heather Williams she wrote Nellie Oleson Meets Laura Ingalls and Farmer Boy (House on the Prairie spin-offs), and as Tamara Summers she wrote He’s With Me, Save the Date, and Never Bite a Boy on the First Date.
  • Her sister, Kari Sutherland is also an author. She has written dozens of romance and mystery books, and she often writes as Karen Rose Smith or Karen Hughes. Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland collaborated on the Menagerie series.
  • Wings of Fire is Tui T. Sutherland’s most popular series. There are currently fifteen books in the main series, six books in the Winglets and Legends spin-off series, and several graphic novels.
  • She is a huge fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
  • Some of her favourite authors include Octavia Butler, Liane Moriarty, Amy Tan, Mary Renault, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Angie Thomas.
  • She enjoyed the movie Spirited Away.
  • Her favourite tribe from her Wings of Fire series is the RainWings because they are mellow and happy.
  • The dragon Sunny from the Wings of Fire series is named after her dog Sunshine.

More Information About Tui T. Sutherland

Why did Tui T. Sutherland write Wings of Fire?

After writing the Seekers books as Erin Hunter, she was keen to produce work in her own voice. Her agent suggested that she try a series in which dragons are the main characters, and Tui T. Sutherland immediately thought of the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey she’d enjoyed when she was younger.

The difference between writing about dragons, as opposed to about bears and cats—besides that it was all my own stories, all my own characters, and I could make it as joyful and hopeful as I wanted to—is that dragons, because of the magical element, can be closer to humans. They can have books, they can have castles, they can have music and magic spells, things that helped me build out a world that I wanted to hang out in.

Tui T. Sutherland (2019)

Who inspired Tui T. Sutherland?

As a child, she loved the book Anne of Green Gables. She was also inspired by Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong fantasy book, and she has enjoyed Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, and Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw

How can I contact Tui T. Sutherland?

Tui T. Sutherland can be contacted through her publisher, Scholastic.

The address is: Tui Sutherland
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY  10012

You stand a better chance of getting a reply to your letter if you include a SASE (a self-addressed stamped envelope).

She also has an Instagram account.

How do you pronounce Tui T. Sutherland?

It is pronounced two-ee.

How does Tui T. Sutherland write her books?

Tui T Sutherland is not a morning person, so ideally, her perfect writing schedule would be to write through the night, then sleep until noon. Her most productive hours are from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. but it is a difficult routine to maintain with a family.

She often writes between 1,000 and 3,000 words a day.