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By rath8325 - Posted on 27 May 2009

In 1991 the First Gulf War sparked me into building an electric VW conversion from a kit.(The black Porsche 914 EV pictured on the site was my later car, "Black Magic".)
I became an EV journalist/editor for the Electric Auto Association, then began to build and race EVs. From 1997-2002, using electrical engineering skills acquired from my education and 12 years at IBM San Jose, I became an electric car engineer, working for small EV companies and projects, including the Alameda Station Car Project, Think Nordic (in Norway) and Corbin Motors, builders of the three-wheeled Sparrow EV.
I love EVs, but these small companies can often be rough to work for. They are often minefields of egos and people who prey on the idealism of those who follow the EV dream. After an exhausting and demoralizing stint at Corbin Motors, I hung up my EV shingle. In the process I did what I never thought I'd do, namely fell in love with and later married a sweet, supportive fellow engineer named Chuck Piper and moved out to his property in the mountains near Patterson, CA.
But Ratha didn't go away. She was starting to prowl the infant Internet, finding readers who hadn't forgotten her. Unknown to me, many readers had taken Ratha into their hearts and had never forgotten her. She was the subject of emails and chats between lone fans who had at long last found each other. A Ratha role-playing site sprang up, Clan Ground of the Named. Artwork based on the series appeared at sites such as The Lion King Fan Art Archive and DevArt.
Although I have been Internet-savvy from the mid 1990's, I had no idea all this was going on. Perhaps I caught hints, but didn't really want to see or believe. Stubborn are those who have lost faith, especially in their own creations. Even when my then-to-be husband Chuck, told me about the Ratha role-playing site, I still thought the series was dead.
Then, in 2003, came the call from Viking-Penguin/Firebird editor Sharyn November. Actually the call came to my hubby at work, saying that the editor of the acclaimed Firebird Books line wanted to contact me. Then came a series of getting-to-know-you emails. Sharyn interacts with teen readers through the Internet, taking their recommendations for out of print fantasy books, and re-issuing them in her Firebird line. Her young advisors had suggested my Ratha series. Would I be interested in writing a new Ratha? If I did, the new title would pull the series back into print.
Stunned with joy and disbelief, I took a day or so to think about it. In the crevices of my brain, Ratha stirred, awakening after a 13-year sleep. After years away from the series, could I do another book? Did I have the same feel for the Named? Could I still work the magic that put readers into the body and behind the eyes of a prehistoric big cat? If I could, would this be an instant rewind to the promise of 1983, but this time a real success? Visions of celebrity, riches, acclaim, loomed again before my eyes...this time the promise could be made real.
Could Ratha, perhaps grown a bit creaky from dis-use, handle another adventure? The answer came back in a growl. Do the Named do their business in the woods? Yes, of course!

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CB photo - color

Join other Named Series fans on the Ratha Series Forum.  Hunt up information in the Fire Den, read the new Twitter creation, "Ratha's Island", or strut before the clan to introduce yourself in the Fire Dance.

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