One of the things we want to do here at Trust & Treachery is give you a chance to get to meet our authors. Over the next few weeks, you will see bios and Q&As for our amazing contributors. Today is Joyce Reynolds-Ward. Stay tuned as additional authors are added every Monday.
Editors, Trust & Treachery
Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a middle school learning specialist, horsewoman and skier living in Portland, Oregon. Besides earning a SemiFinalist placement in Writers of the Future, she’s had short stories and essays published in places like Random Realities, M-Brane SF, The Fifth Di…, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night, Zombiefied, River, Gobshite Quarterly, and Gears and Levers. Examples of her professional education writing can be found at ChildsWork.com. When not teaching, she’s often thundering about on her intrepid reining mare Mocha, living la vida ski bum, and writing. Joyce is currently working on obtaining a certificate in Interpersonal Neurobiology through Portland State University and hopes to integrate her study of neuroscience in both her teaching and her writing. Follow her adventures through her blog, Peak Amygdala, at www.joycereynoldsward.com.
Do you have any recent events to announce (of publications or anything else exciting)?
Besides the Trust & Treachery anthology, I’m very excited about being a part of Alma Alexander’s River anthology (Dark Quest Books) as well as Phyllis Irene Radford’s Gears and Levers anthology (Sky Warrior Press). I am also working on a set of indie published novels, short stories and novellas (The Netwalk Sequence) which explores the growth and development of a technology that enables people to upload themselves digitally and continue to influence events after their death, in the context of a somewhat dysfunctional family of strong and powerful women. The first two installments of The Netwalk Sequence are available now (February 2012) on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, more to be coming soon.
What inspired you to write this story?
“Live Free or Die” has been bouncing around on my hard drive for a while. It came out of some of the post-9/11 drama and was affected by other works I was developing. The form it appears in for Trust & Treachery is quite different from the original story–the original tangent I went off on for earlier versions lacks the final twist. It is also one of the few stories I can honestly say came from a dream, an image of two fugitives on a small spaceship that encounter a floating city in interstellar space. That image doesn’t appear anywhere in the story, but it certainly put things into motion!
What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
Oh my, where do I start? Genre-wise, Asimov, Heinlein, Zenna Henderson, Lois Bujold, Jo Walton, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. LeGuin….I went through an internship with Nalo Hopkinson a couple of years ago which had a significant impact on how I write. She made me think. Currently? N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Kate Elliott, Elizabeth Bear, C.J. Cherryh. Cyteen has been a strong influence on my thinking about digital enhancement. And I absolutely love the Foreigner series.
Outside the genre? John Steinbeck. One of my high school English teachers was a major Steinbeck fan, and I’ve loved his work since. H.L. Davies. Edward Abbey. Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson is significantly underrated as a political writer; the drugs overshadow what is some seriously good political analysis. Jane Austen. Craig Lesley. Rita Mae Brown.
I am very affected by writers who have a strong sense of place in their work, whether that place is on this world or an alternate world. If a writer can sell me on their place, they’ve got me hooked. But if I’m not sold on the place? My reaction is anything from meh to wanting to hurl the book across the room.
What are you reading now?
Michael Chorost, World Wide Mind. I also have Matt Ruff’s The Mirage on deck, as well as the autobiography of Oregon’s first woman governor, Barbara Roberts. I’m getting ready for a study group seminar with Allan Schore next month so I’ll be reading Philip Bromberg’s In the Shadow of the Tsuami for that one.
What are your current projects?
Besides getting The Netwalk Sequence up, I’m also developing a short story for the second volume of Gears and Levers. I have three quasi-magical realism stories I’m contemplating that are set in the Pacific Northwest. I call them magic realism because while they’re fantasy, they sure as hell ain’t urban. Nor are they traditional stories. At least one could be a Weird West story. I am also building a Weird West/semi-steampunk novel based on the world I’ve created for the Gears and Levers stories. On the nonfiction front, I write special education-related blogs for a psychology site. I’ve been studying for a certificate in Interpersonal Neurobiology at Portland State University and am looking for ways to integrate this understanding in my teaching as well as writing about the integration of neuroscience and special education.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
There will be dark days when you want to walk away from it all. Even if you do give up writing for a while, you can always come back. Sometimes a hiatus is not a bad thing. Never say never, and always keep working at your writing, even if it’s just journaling. Keep thinking about images, snippets of scenes, progressions of events. Someday you’ll be able to use them.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Come along for the ride! I’ll try to make it a good one.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
Hunter S. Thompson–“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Applicable to many situations, including those ineffiable moments in middle school teaching when you realize that there’s no freaking way anyone would believe this situation if I wrote it into a book.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I like to think that I have made some small difference in the lives of the students I work with. I hope I have.
What inspires you to write and why?
I like to tell stories about people and places. Sometimes I can look at a place and know that there’s a story there, lurking around somewhere. It’s the finding of the dang story that can be a challenge. Or a character comes into my head and, well, they do interesting stuff and they’re fun to write about. But mostly it’s sharing the fun stories that come to mind.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
“Dump the skiing” in the opening scenes of Netwalk, one of my Netwalk Sequence stories. It took a while, but I think I made it work. Best compliment? An editor liking how I can pile complication upon complication upon my (novel) characters. As she put it, I have this nifty style of catching people off guard and upping the stakes in unexpected ways.
Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
I hula hoop and spin poi as part of my fitness program. Someday I’d like to try spinning fire poi. I picked up spinning and hooping as a result of going to summer music festivals with my husband. I’d been admiring it from afar for a few years, tried spinning once but it hurt my wrists. Then I took up yoga, and found someone sympathetic to show me an easier way to spin, and so! Now I do spinning on a daily basis.
Same thing with hooping–not so good the first try, and then at the same event where I figured out how to spin without hurting my wrists, I learned to fit myself to the proper size hoop and start doing it. It’s a fun thing to do to music, and it does wonderful things for my hips.