Author Jean Auel

Legions of Jean Auel fans have been wondering about this best-selling author for a decade now.

Ms. Auel achieved instant fame in 1980 with her epic depiction of a young Neanderthal woman in "The Clan of the Cave Bear." The book was the first in a projected six-part series. Auel released her fourth installment, "The Plains of Passage" in 1990. Readers are still waiting for No. 5.

Auel studied physics and earned a master's degree in business administration while working at an electronics firm - and raising five children.

Inspired to change careers in 1976, she decided to write a short story about a prehistoric girl. The idea led Auel to conduct extensive research, and her short story ballooned into a 450,000-word blockbuster. "Clan" was a best-seller for eight months.

In her effort to accurately portray the Ice Age setting of her novels, Auel has learned many Neanderthal skills, including building snow caves and fabricating spears.

A spokeswoman for Crown Publishing says she has taken calls every day for the past five years from Auel's fans, asking her about the author's whereabouts and the status of her next book. Crown is in touch with Auel and awaiting her next book as eagerly as her most ardent fans.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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