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Erika Johansen is the author of The Queen of the Tearling. She is a debut author who graduated from the celebrated Iowa Writers' Workshop. Johansen claims she heard then-Senator Obama give a speech in 2007 and was inspired to create the series' idealistic heroine, 19-year-old Kelsea Glynn. The author completed the novel over a four-year period while finishing law school as well.

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