Cynthia Hand grew up in southeast Idaho, just outside the town of Idaho Falls. From as far back as she can remember, she loved books and reading, and wrote her first short story (about a fairy being born in a tulip) when she was around six years old--pretty much as soon as she could write. Her second grade teacher, Mrs. Widdison, told Cynthia that she'd be an author some day, and Cynthia believed her. She kept writing stories all through grade school, most of them wildly fantastical musings on supernatural beings or creatures, none of which ever won the annual short story competition where the writer got to meet Kenneth Thomasma,the author of one of Cynthia's favorite books, Naya Nuki. Cynthia learned early on that if you wanted to win the writing contest, you should write stories about that time your parents got their car stuck in the snow on the side of a mountain just before dark. You should not write about a group of unicorns fighting to take over an island from an alien invasion. Cynthia kept writing about unicorns anyway.