Emma Bull


Two of Emma’s favorite childhood memories are of typing out nonsense words on her parents’ black Royal manual typewriter, and watching the neighbor mow the lawn. She went to Beloit College, where she majored in English, then moved to Minneapolis, where there are two seasons: Snow removal and road repair. (Or, as it sometimes seems, snow repair and road removal.)

After that, she moved back to her native southern California, where she would’ve driven with the top down if she’d had a convertible. She was a resident of the Republic of Bisbee (AZ) and loved it (except on the few days of the year when there was snow). And now she’s living in Tucson, Arizona, where she would ride the range if she had a pony. But she does have a great cowboy hat.

She’s written novels, screenplays, a children’s book, and short stories. She and her husband, Will Shetterly, are members of the Interstate Writers’ Workshop, aka The Scribblies. Emma and Will conduct writing workshops now and then; they’ve taught in Los Angeles, at Clarion West, the Pima Writers Workshop, and elsewhere.

Emma played guitar and sang in the Flash Girls, a goth-folk duo. She was a member of Cats Laughing, a psychedelic improv folk-jazz band that included Steven Brust, Adam Stemple, Lojo Russo, and Bill Colsher.

She is the producer for Shadow Unit, a webfiction project she shares with Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Will Shetterly, and Amanda Downum. It combines novella-length episodes of a series story with hypertext “DVD extras” and character on-line journals. Contributing writers in its eight-episode second “season” include Holly Black and Leah Bobet.

46 Comments »

  1. [...] possible terms to go and check it out. If you’re a book person, think of this as a free new Emma Bull story for you to read. If you’re a TV person, think of this as the pilot episode of a new [...]

    Pingback by Homo Sum » Blog Archive » I mean it–Go read this. — February 21, 2008 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  2. [...] a reader, I lean more toward science fiction, but a well-written fantasy novel is a delight, and Emma Bull’s <i>Territory</i> kept me up half the night. It’s one of the best books [...]

    Pingback by Eat Our Brains » Blog Archive » Blood, Bones, Metal, and Magic at the OK Corral: A Review of Territory by Emma Bull — March 24, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  3. It looks as though your arm has healed just fine, I have very little contact with anyone that we knew, any more, I think I still have a few of your books, it would not surprise me if I am not remembered, winter solstice has not been as much fun for many years, I am a good friend of Kari’s, and a ( I believe, still) a friend of Lojo’s, altho since the moves, I have seen neither of you for years, and up until a few months ago, I had not seen Brust either. I miss seeing the old ambulance here and there, and of course the younger body I had LOL! hope this finds you well.
    Steven
    The guy with the flaming red Norton who frequented Nicolet Island, and the witch’s hat tower where some of the oaks lived. The guy who could fix anything electronic

    Comment by Steven Anderson — April 7, 2008 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  4. Bone Dance… the first of Emma’s stories I’ve read. Seemed one I’d pass over in a bookstore but the attitude of it’s essence made me do a double-take and give it a chance. I had the opportunity as my fiance’s book collection was sitting right there for me to explore and I needed something to give me new dreams to add to my old ones from my previous read. I was actually kinda surprised (or smug of my street-soul) that I understood the language of the book (getting better at it with each chapter till I was riding the story like a Horseman) – which made me feel smart and in on some secret – one that if you’re on the ball with it, you’re one of the chosen who will do something extraordinary in life in a precise moment when all others can’t or won’t and you’re one of the few that survives – perhaps in a different form afterwards, but much stronger. And damn will they all know you when that happens. From start to finish, and mirroring a few beliefs-of-the-universe of mine that I thought only I thought on, I was entranced and in love. Gods this woman is smart.

    Comment by Adrianne Grady — August 25, 2008 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  5. [...] a long time now, I’d heard mixed reviews of both War for the Oaks (Emma Bull’s classic) and Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler’s classic), and had been [...]

    Pingback by West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Susan’s Book Talk: WAY overdue! — December 4, 2008 @ 6:57 am | Reply

  6. [...] opening scene of Territory by Emma Bull features a recently shot cowboy placed upon Doc Holliday’s poker table. The fun only [...]

    Pingback by Highly Recommended » Blog Archive » Territory by Emma Bull — January 5, 2009 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  7. [...] I got home, I settled into our favorite reading chair and devoured the rest of War For the Oaks by Emma Bull. This is, by all accounts, the novel that defined the term “urban fantasy”. And wow. [...]

    Pingback by Recent Read | kt literary — May 1, 2009 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  8. I’ve been courious about your book, War for the Oaks. Is Phouka black? yes, isnt he?

    Comment by Madison Hallman — June 24, 2009 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  9. #8: Madison, to a human, he’d look like an African-American man, yep. To one of the Fae, he’d look like a member of the Seelie Court. He’d probably tell you, in his best infuriatingly smug way, that neither observation fully encompasses his wonderfulness. *g*

    Comment by Emma Bull — June 24, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  10. Addendum to #9: Dan is, however, an African-American human. (Though everyone who plays in that band has also acquired a certain amount of fae chemistry through contact…)

    Comment by Emma Bull — June 24, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  11. Emma,

    I’m working on a review I’m doing of your latest edition of Bone Dance coming out in July. I wondered if you could please let me know who the cover artist is, as I need to include that in the review heading.
    It’s a great book–it’s my first time reading it. It’ll be in paperback, correct?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Douglas R. Cobb — June 28, 2009 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  12. from the ‘witches cap’ to the ‘golden west, which way to bordertown. where is Orient when you need him. thanks for taking us to the Nevernever. (and beyond)

    Comment by grandpawz — August 19, 2009 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  13. Hi Emma,
    I just finished reading “Territory” and am dismayed that I can’t seem to find another book due out to tell me what comes next!!!
    I really enjoyed “Territory” and was intrigued by your notions of magic, people’s place in society, and the responsibility that individuals chose to take or not take for their actions. I want to read much much more about this world you’ve Created.
    Hoping you will be writing more in it soon,
    Yours,
    ~Mary.

    Comment by Mary MacVoy — December 1, 2009 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  14. I “discovered” your writing a couple years ago via Steven Brust and “Freedom and Necessity”, after which I read “Territory”. I enjoyed them both immensely. Here’s my problem: This Xmas I was blessed/cursed with the gift of a Kindle. I went looking for your “War for the Oaks”, and was disappointed that it’s not offered in that format. Any chance it may be at some point in the not too distant future? In the meantime, “Bone Dance” is sitting on my giant time-sucking black hole of a Kindle, waiting to be enjoyed. :-)

    Cat

    Comment by Cat Miller — January 3, 2010 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  15. Hello,

    I am trying to find who to contact to get information about how to request Ms. Bull for a speaking/workshop engagement.

    Please help.

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Carol Schmidt — February 3, 2010 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  16. Congratulations! on your cyber-epiphany!

    Yes, we are the techno-whiplash generation.

    You are right! the web is not “real”, as is R3.

    The best part? There are brilliant people all around you!

    Get out and meet them! Practice real community in real space.

    Then the web will be your tool, not your hope.

    I know someone who lives near you, a brilliant man struggling
    to find humanity in southern arizona, a finding himself lost in cyberspace.
    (why y’all live there I’ll never understand, come to encinitas)

    His name is Dan Matthews dan AT meridian-design.com

    Whereever you go, go now, there’s still time. RUN FOR IT!!!

    r3priority@johnea.net

    Comment by John Andrews — February 17, 2010 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  17. I am glad I found your website on digg. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my roommate were just preparing to do some research about this. I am happy to see such good information being shared freely out there.
    Best wishes,
    Clovis from Raleigh city

    Comment by Donalbain — February 24, 2010 @ 7:07 am | Reply

  18. Hi, I first heard your name from “Freedom and Necessity”. I discovered “Territory” about two months ago and have since then read it four times. I’ve also picked up “Finder” and “Bone Dance” since then.
    My point?
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Just being a gushy fan,
    S

    Comment by Sharon C. — March 2, 2010 @ 10:36 am | Reply

  19. Howdy. It’s Jen Germain here. David was very happy with the books I brought him and we discussed the two Emmas of Bisbee. I was right- the other one I had pictured in my head was a high school student when Nick (David’s son) was there. She was in the teen version of Spoon River Anthologies. We couldn’t remember her last name, but we’re pretty sure now it wasn’t the same as yours. :-) What a funny world this is to have run into you and all this time mixing up you and the “other Emma in Bisbee”. Ha! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Comment by AirborneVet — March 14, 2010 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  20. Well, I was at my daughters a few months ago and said something about needing something new to read. She loaned me War of the Oaks. Since then I have read all of your books. Now I am going to start on the anthologies. I think Bone Dance was my favorite. I love when I find a “new ” author to read. And I love that your books are stand alone books. I don’t have to wait for the next one a year from now. I do hope you are working on a new book! Thanks for the hours of enjoyment.

    Comment by Mary Pritchard — August 9, 2010 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  21. its really amazing, i am a teenager growing up in the age of ‘vampires and werewolves’, where Twilight is believed to be the first real urban fantasy, but woah! war of the oaks is exceptional! the characters i just adore and the phouka! how can any one not love him? now im recommending this book out left right and center to any one who will listen. its amazing, considering it was emma bulls breakout novel. well done to her!

    Comment by mitey — November 15, 2010 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  22. [...] Emma Bull and Will Shetterly [...]

    Pingback by LosCon 2010 « Book Signings and Events — December 15, 2010 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  23. [...] Author and editor Terri Windling is also an artist of note.  Many artists are also musicians.  Emma Bull has played in bands, no doubt a big influence on her novel War for the Oaks, which is about a [...]

    Pingback by Other Kinds of Creativity | GENREALITY — January 3, 2011 @ 4:45 am | Reply

  24. [...] wings on Emma Bull‘s earrings, punctuating the magical conversation we had with this generous and talented [...]

    Pingback by Wings « Herdin' the Stacks — February 2, 2011 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  25. [...] came next? Oh! Emma Bull’s “Incunabulum.” Oh, man, Emma Bull. Did you know that she co-wrote with Steven Brust [...]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Blogging My Way to Bordertown: Part II — April 20, 2011 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  26. By The Way. Who was the neighbor you liked to watch mow the grass?
    I hope that wasn’t because I ran over your evergreen bushes once.
    Congratulations on your career.

    Comment by John Church — May 23, 2011 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  27. [...] #1 highlight of the convention for me was when one of my personal hometown heroes Emma Bull sat down beside me, and we got the chance to chat. For those who don’t know, Emma Bull wrote [...]

    Pingback by Conrad Zero » Blog Archive » Reflections of 4th Street Fantasy Conversation 2011 – Conrad Zero, Dark Fiction Author — June 28, 2011 @ 6:05 am | Reply

  28. [...] aforementioned book curse was by Emma Bull, who so inscribed my new edition of War for the Oaks. I had loaned a previous copy to a friend, who [...]

    Pingback by » ArmadilloCon — Saturday and Sunday | Author Patrice Sarath — August 28, 2011 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  29. [...] you love contemporary fantasy such as Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, Emma Bull‘s War for the Oaks or Charles de Lint’s novels (Jack the Giant Killer is a personal fave), [...]

    Pingback by Reading With an Eye for Craft: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater « Cheryl Reif Writes — October 12, 2011 @ 8:02 am | Reply

  30. Dear Ms. Bull,

    I was one of the panelists at the WFC Lands of Islam panel, and regret that I didn’t have a chance to chat with you and your husband. I saw you both in the “forum” in front of the convention hall around 4:30 that same day and briefly forced my way into the conversation group, but was already running late for a meeting. I thought it would be fairly rude to interrupt the conversation about Cat Valente and say hello, let alone interrupt, say hello, and then flee, and I never bumped into either of you again.

    So here is a cyber greeting. I hope we can talk at some point in the future.

    Warm Regards,
    Howard Andrew Jones

    Comment by Howard Andrew Jones — October 31, 2011 @ 8:23 am | Reply

  31. [...] trip to Tucson, including our photoshoot with Kyle Cassidy, Gabriella van Diepen, Jeroen Medema and Emma Bull at the base of Sabino [...]

    Pingback by catch up with Jean Power « Kate McKinnon — January 31, 2012 @ 10:15 am | Reply

  32. I wish she would write more books…

    Comment by Vic2ria — February 27, 2012 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  33. [...] Emma Bull started this coolio writing project based on her love of Man from U.N.C.L.E., Shadow Unit! [...]

    Pingback by Tab close | Fiction — April 15, 2012 @ 10:58 am | Reply

  34. [...] The Urban Fantasy Anthology Author: Peter S. Beagle, Joe R. Lansdale, Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford, Kelley Armstrong, Norman Partridge, Carrie Vaughn, [...]

    Pingback by Early Review: The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. LansdaleAll Things Urban Fantasy — June 17, 2012 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  35. Emma,
    Phillip Harrison here just tripped over Cats Laughind doing “Gloomy Sunday” my FAVORITE!!! The roads, the miles, the trips taken, journeys well worth it all. i’d love to say more but don’yt want to dilute this blog with junk. please drop me an email

    Comment by Phillip E Harrison — July 1, 2012 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  36. [...] strikes me as pretty right. The only books I can think of along these lines are Emma Bull‘s Territory (2007), which retells the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the shootout at [...]

    Pingback by Trick Writer At the Rodeo « alisa alering — September 20, 2012 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  37. Just wanted to say thanks for your writing. I came across “Silver and Gold” on freesfonline.de, and then sought out others like “Joshua Tree.” Your understanding of loneliness and desire in its many flavors – to live fully, to belong, to be, to be loved, to be free – all often warring with each other – fell like rain on dry earth and I felt less alone. I hope your inner life continues to get what it needs. Peace and blessings.

    Comment by Zarana — October 30, 2012 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  38. [...] Story Board Ep 1: ”Urban Fantasy: Threat or Menace?” featuring Emma Bull, Diana Rowland & Jim [...]

    Pingback by Peter V Brett :: Peephole In My Skull — November 6, 2012 @ 6:00 am | Reply

  39. dead link to Wil Shetterly’s WordPress site.

    Comment by C.D. — November 18, 2012 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  40. [...] on choice by Emma Bull and Steven [...]

    Pingback by Poems and Quotes_December 2012 — December 3, 2012 @ 6:39 am | Reply

  41. Love the song/poem “for it all”.
    Read Rosemary Edgehill’s The Empty Crown
    and noticed her chapter headings are the lyrics ‘for it all’. Did she contribute to the anthology ‘life on the border’?

    Comment by Gamin — April 9, 2013 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  42. Well, Em, it’s a long way from Tralfamidore Tool and Die. Looks like you’ve done well – famous in fact! Where are you in 3D space these days? I saw Nina (she’s back on the farm) and Dobson weekend before last – they are doing well in their different ways. I’m beginning to think about retirement; it’s a concept I haven’t bquite got a grip on yet.
    Shalom!
    Rob (aa0fg@yahoo.com)
    PS- Do you have an email for Cyn?

    Comment by Bob — July 1, 2013 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  43. any news on the sequel to Territory?

    Comment by Roger Lee — August 16, 2013 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  44. […] the SF Squeecast regulars Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Lynne M. Thomas, and SPECIAL GUESTS Emma Bull and Kelly […]

    Pingback by SF Squeecast » Blog Archive » Episode 27: You Do Not Masturbate Your Hugo — August 23, 2013 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

  45. […] the SF Squeecast regulars Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Lynne M. Thomas, and SPECIAL GUESTS Emma Bull and Kelly […]

    Pingback by SF Squeecast » Blog Archive » Episode 27 REPOST: You Do Not Masturbate Your Hugo — August 24, 2013 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  46. […] Sunday I attended a discussion with fantasy author Emma Bull, hosted by the Minnesota Speculative Writers Meetup Group. Ms. Bull is the author of many books, […]

    Pingback by Progress Report: Everything is Great, Everything is Grand | Susan Taitel — April 15, 2014 @ 7:43 pm | Reply


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