Laraine Anne Barker has always enjoyed telling stories. As a child, when playing with dolls with her younger sisters became boring, she would make up stories featuring the dolls. She also remembers how she and her sisters wrote stories into exercise books and even illustrated them, using crayons to colour them because they found that rubbing on the crayon pictures gave them a shine similar to that of glossy colour pictures in magazines. Laraine submitted her first book (for adults) to a publisher at about the age of 21 and received a very kind rejection letter in which the editor suggested the story could be rewritten for young readers. She regrets she didn't keep the rejection and follow up on the advice. She didn't start writing fantasy for young readers until 1986. After many rewritings the book started then became The Obsidian Quest (published under the Hard Shell imprint of Mundania Press). The Obsidian Quest was a finalist in The Dream Realm Awards 2001 and was followed by Lord of Obsidian and The Third Age of Obsidian, also published under the Hard Shell imprint of Mundania Press. The Mark Willoughby series was started in 1992. Silvranja of the Silver Forest was short-listed (one of three) in 1998 for a major New Zealand prize, The Tom Fitzgibbon Memorial Award.