Biography of Joyce Mandeville
Joyce Mandeville, the author of five novels and many short stories, lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. She is currently published by Little, Brown UK.
I was born in Fresno California, but made my first attempt to leave when I was four. My mother thwarted my plot, but I can still recall having a clear sense that I didn't belong there. I yearned for forests and not those dry pine forests that were fifty miles from my home. I wanted the forests of the fairy tales I loved. I wanted the forests that held uncountable numbers of greens, mossy trails and ground that bubbled up water. About twenty years ago, when I was living in England, I went to Sweden, the country my father's family had left shortly before he was born. Standing on the deck of the ferry I looked up and saw the forests I'd been looking for all my life.
I don't recall the first time I said I wanted to be a writer, but a friend from high school, a man who is a distinguished poet, says he remembers me telling about my desire to write all those years ago. I'd always trusted him and I suppose I confessed this to him knowing that he wouldn't mock me. He was the only person I told for many years because it simply seemed too far fetched, too unobtainable for someone who had left college without a degree and usually picked up the phone rather than write a letter.
I didn't talk about writing, but the ideas kept boiling up when I least expected them and finally I sat down and wrote a novel about a time-traveling housewife with scholarly pretensions. Aren't we always told to write what we know? It didn't find a publisher and I became an interior decorator (an interior designer for my UK readers). I enjoyed the work, but I found that what I really loved was hearing people's stories. I'd sit with my clients for hours and chat and a number of them told me I should be a writer. After the twentieth or twenty-fifth client told me this, I once again wrote a book which became Careful Mistakes.
My husband was transferred to England and I started my relationship with Little, Brown, UK which has recently been re-kindled. (A wretched pun since the new editions are e-books and I beg your forgiveness.) While in England I published Glory Days and A Twist of Light.
Our return to the States was to a village in rural Vermont. After a few years of running an art gallery, I'm finally finding the time and space to write once again. I have two books awaiting publication and a few chapters of a book which I hope will complete my Vermont Trilogy.
And yes, we have wonderful forests here. I begin every morning with a hike in a forest that holds an uncountable number of greens, mossy trails and ground that bubbles up water. I am home.
Little, Brown will re-issue A Twist of Light, A Trick of the Light and Glory Days on June 5th, 2014.