August 12, 1957|
New York City, New York
|Genre||Fantasy, Science fiction|
|Notable works||Forgotten Realms, Starlight & Shadows, and The New Jedi Order novels|
Elaine Cunningham (born August 12, 1957 in New York City) is an American fantasy and science fiction author, especially known for her contributions to the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game campaign setting of Forgotten Realms, including the realms of Evermeet, Halruaa, Ruathym and Waterdeep.
Elaine Cunningham grew up in New York state and New England. She earned a degree in music, taught Music and History for several years, and then went back to grad school. Her interests include Celtic and Renaissance music, folklore and mythology, costuming, living history, and travel. Trained primarily as a singer, she has taken up Irish fiddle and harp.
Cunningham started writing when her oldest son was a baby. She has written a number of novels set in the Forgotten Realms. Her first book was titled Elfshadow: "Even though its my first book and admittedly has some rough spots, I think that Elfshadow  remains my favorite." Cunningham grew fond of the book's stars, Arilyn Moonblade, a half-elf with blood ties to the royal family, and a bard named Danilo Thann. "I’ve written two sequels (Elfsong  and Silver Shadows ) and several short stories... I really enjoy time spent with them." Her 1998 book Evermeet: Island of Elves chronicles the whole history of Evermeet and features the return of Arilyn and Danilo: "Evermeet still terrifies me, but I think it turned out to be a good story. It adds a bit more color and dimension to Toril's elves and perhaps suggests a few new ways to think about them."
Amongst Cunningham's most popular characters are the half-elf Arilyn Moonblade, the bard Danilo Thann, the quirky drow wizard Liriel Baenre, her companion the Rashemi berserker Fyodor, and Elaith "The Serpent" Craulnober (created by Ed Greenwood).
Cunningham lives in New England with her husband and their two sons.
- Songs & Swords (featuring Arilyn, Danilo and Elaith)
- Starlight and Shadows (featuring Liriel, Fyodor, and Gorlist)
- Evermeet: Island of Elves (1998)
- Counselors & Kings (featuring Matteo and Tzigone)
- City of Splendors: A Novel of Waterdeep (With Ed Greenwood; 2005)
- Forgotten Realms anthology novellas
- The Best of the Realms, Book 1 (2003)
- "Rite of Blood"—Realms of the Underdark (1996)
- The Best of the Realms, Book III: The Stories of Elaine Cunningham (2007)
- "The Bargain"—Realms of Valor (1993)
- "The More Things Change"—Realms of Infamy (1994)
- "The Direct Approach"—Realms of Magic (1995)
- "Secrets of Blood, Spirits of the Sea"—Realms of the Arcane (1997)
- "The Great Hunt"—Dragon magazine #246 (1998)
- "Speaking with the Dead"—Realms of Mystery (1998)
- "Stolen Dreams"—Dragon magazine #259 (1999)
- "Fire is Fire"—Realms of the Deep (2000)
- "Possessions"—Dragon magazine #282 (2002)
- "A Little Knowledge"—Realms of Shadow (2002)
- "Gorlist's Dragon"—Realms of Dragons (2004)
- "Games of Chance"—Dragon magazine #335 (2005)
- "The Knights of Samular"
- "Answered Prayers"
- The Best of the Realms, Book 1 (2003)
- Del Rey's Star Wars books
- The Changeling Detective Agency series
- Fantasist Enterprises anthology novellas
- Star Wars Gamer Magazine short stories
- Red Sky, Blue Flame
- The Apprentice
- The Crystal (2001)
- (From Candlekeep web forums): Ravens and crows will also interact with humans. Occasionally they'll imitate human behavior (such as helping gardeners pull weeds.) Sometimes they're willing to cut a deal. I've got one going with the local "raven mafia." They always gather on trash pickup day, but in exchange for some "protection bread," they'll leave my trash alone and even chase other birds away from it.
- (From Elaine Cunningham's website, on the subject of author photos): I find this sort of thing unnecessary and irrelevant. It's like that scene from "Wizard of Oz," when the wizard admonishes Dorothy and company, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" It's the illusion—in this case, the story—that matters. What difference does it make if an author is male or female, young or old, or for that matter, a Caucasian human or a sentient dolphin?
- "Cunningham, Elaine 1957-". Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2007. Retrieved October 18, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Varney, Allen (April 1998). "ProFiles: Elaine Cunningham". Dragon. Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast (#246): 120.
- "Elaine Cunningham". Archived from the original on May 11, 2009.
- Buker, Derek M. (2002). The science fiction and fantasy readers' advisory: the librarian's guide to cyborgs, aliens, and sorcerers. ALA readers' advisory series. ALA Editions. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-8389-0831-4.
- Bassingthwaite, Don. "A Conversation With Elaine Cunningham". SF Site. Retrieved 2010-01-23.