Born in England in 1952, Clare Bell moved to the US in 1957. She worked in oceanography, electrical engineering, test equipment design and mechanical engineering before she wrote her first book, Ratha’s Creature (Atheneum-Argo Margaret K .McElderry 1983) , the story of a prehistoric wildcat who learns to tame fire.
Since then she has continued to write fantasy and science fiction for children and adults. She says, “I am still fascinated by prehistoric animals and big cats, as showcased in the five Ratha series novels. I consider my two little cats, Danny and Athena, to be research assistants as well as companions and have learned a lot from them.”
Her stories show sociological themes as well, exploring the changes that are brought about in culture through technology, even one as crude as fire. She also enjoys creating plausible and workable prehistoric animal and alien characters. The central theme of her fiction is evolution, having been influenced early by the works of C.S. Lewis, Olaf Stapledon, and Arthur C. Clarke.
Bell has degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering, biology and chemistry and works in technical areas in addition to writing fiction. She built and designed electric vehicles and spent a year in Norway working on the Ford Think EV. She raced EVs in the Arizona Public Service Company-sponsored Solar and Electrics competitions, held from 1991 to 1998. Her electric Porsche 914, known by her racing number, #13, was a well-known top-placing competitor in these races.
After moving to a remote site in California’s coastal mountains, Bell and her partner put together their own solar and wind systems and experimented with a power-generating waterwheel. A naturalized citizen of the US, she now lives with her partner-become-husband, Chuck Piper, in the hills west of Patterson, California.