The daughter of an Ohio State University welding engineer professor (with Ph.D.s in physics and chemical engineering), Lois McMaster Bujold received her "true" education at an early age. Her father had a penchant for reading science fiction magazines on plane rides, and a young Bujold would pick them up after he was done. This early habit sparked her interest in the genre and eventually led to the creation of entire new universes for Bujold, and her fans around the world.
Bujold was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1949. In addition to her love of sci-fi, a hobby that drew her to the "dated" fictions of the 1930s, she nurtured a love of horses, especially her own horse, a white pony named "Sunny." She began to write in junior high, initially imitating her favorite writers to gain a sense of style. Her efforts showed themselves in her partnership with her best friend, Lillian Stewart. The pair began writing "fanfiction" for StarTrek and other favorite science fiction. (Fanfiction is fiction written by fans of a particular television show, book or movie. It is based on copyrighted stories and characters.) They started replacing regular characters with ones of their own creation, and eventually they were writing new fiction. Their stories occupied their days, nights, and breaks from school; each had her own heroes to use in the tales, and each would alternately create and listen to each other's fictional adventures.
After such a literary childhood, Bujold naturally went on to major in English at The Ohio State University. But it didn't work out. Neither did majors in Biology, Education, and Pharmaceutical Medicine. "My heart was in the creative, not the critical end of things," she says. She did find an opportunity to explore her dual interests of wildlife and photography in a 1971 biology study tour. Bujold traveled to South Africa with other university students, and for six weeks, she took over eight hundred slides of native insects. She later based the background of her first novel on the African landscapes.
Out of college, Bujold worked as a pharmacy technician for several years, then quit her job to begin a family. She had met her husband (and fellow science fiction fan), John Fredric Bujold, from her experiences in "fandom." (Fandom is the act of being a fan of someone famous or a special interest, and socializing with others of like interest.) They had daughter, Anne, in 1979 and son, Paul, in 1981; she credits child-rearing with teaching her how to develop her characters. "A lot of writers write as if the hero sort of popped out of the box at age twenty-two fully formed. And one thing that raising children does is give you some sense of how human beings really are put together. So when you go to put together a character you can have a more realistic sense of why people…really behave the way they do…."
Although Bujold got an early start on her writing as a preteen, she didn't pick it up again until her early thirties. She was unemployed with two children when she saw that her childhood friend, now Lillian Stewart Carl, was making sales writing science fiction. "About this time it occurred to me that if she could do it, I could do it too," she says. (The two friends regularly exchange manuscripts for critique now.) Her first novel, Shards of Honor, was completed in 1983; she had written two others by 1985. She made her first professional sale to Twilight Zone Magazine with some short stories-but her big break came when Baen Books bought her first three completed novels and published them all in 1986.
Currently, Bujold is living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, crafting new adventures for her beloved Miles Vorkosigan character and generating new universes for characters yet to come. She has consistently won Nebula and Hugo Awards for Science Fiction Achievement, as well as a Minnesota Book Award. Her titles have been translated into seventeen languages, and her fans have yearly conventions. In interviews, Bujold affirms she has no regrets in her writing career, saying that everything in life has led her to where she is now; however, she is glad one aspect of her life made it full circle. She was "particularly pleased" that her fourth novel, Falling Free, was serialized in Analog-her late father's favorite magazine.