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.