George R.R. Martin is the author of the fantasy series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which has been adapted for television as the wildly successful HBO series Game of Thrones.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1948, he lived in public housing where the only pets allowed were turtles. The high mortality rate of his pet turtles led him to create a world where they fought and killed each other in wars over a throne. He never stopped writing; he sold horror stories to other kids when still in elementary school, wrote fan fiction based on his favorite comic books in his teens, and went on to graduate from Northwestern University with a Master’s Degree in journalism in 1971. That same year, he sold his first science fiction short story, and in 1977 he published his first novel, The Dying of the Light.
By the 1980’s, Martin was working as a writer for television shows such as Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. However, he was soon frustrated by the limitations of the medium, and instead turned his creative focus to writing the story of a world where people died as frequently as his turtles once did. Drawing on the succession battles of fifteenth century England, known as the Wars of the Roses, he created a time and place that echoes the Europe of the late medieval period, with the addition of dragons and a growing threat from a supernatural force massing on the other side of a wall of ice, far to the north.
The first volume, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996, followed in 1998 by A Clash of Kings, in 2000 by A Storm of Swords, and in 2005 with A Feast for Crows. It took him until 2011 to release A Dance with Dragons, and in 2019 fans are still impatiently awaiting the last two volumes in the series, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Meanwhile, Martin works with the producers of Game of Thrones, which has now passed the point where the books left off. His home is in Santa Fe New Mexico, which he shares with his wife Parris McBride and their cats Augustus and Caligula.