First, a big thank you to Joan Dempsey for taking time out of her busy schedule to write up a short bio and interview for me.
I recently completed her Revise Your Writing course. The checklist she gave us alone is priceless! Since the course was fun and gave me a much needed new in site to revising my writing I asked Joan if she would give me some more information on her and the classes she is teaching in 2016. She said Yes, so here it is folks! Enjoy
Joan Dempsey is a graduate of both the MFA in Creative Writing and the Post-Graduate Certificate for the Teaching of Creative Writing Programs at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work has been published in The Adirondack Review, Alligator Juniper, Obsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora, The Citron Review, Plenitude Magazine and has been aired on National Public Radio.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a writer and teacher of writing, and I live and work in Maine, USA, in a converted chicken coop fondly called ‘The Shed’. My personality type is ENFP, which means I love variety, adore what’s possible, and have a naturally positive outlook on life. I also love to mine everything in life for deep meaning, and I get cranky if I feel like I’m wasting my time on something less than fulfilling. I’ve worked in various jobs (there’s that ENFP thing again): dabbled in graphic design; worked in the anti-nuclear movement; lobbied on behalf of animals at the Massachusetts State House; worked with a bunch of international adult educators; and now teach online writing courses to serious creative writers. Oh, and I once tried out for a professional women’s baseball team (no go), and pedaled my bicycle roughly 1,000 miles around New Zealand’s North Island.
2. When did you start writing, and why?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but got truly serious about it when I was thirty, which is when I realized that writing – and reading – had been my one consistent passion through every era of my life. I took my first writing workshop then, at Grub Street Writers in Boston (in their first year of operation). During my first in-class exercise, a character unexpectedly appeared to me and demanded I write about him, and that’s when I got hooked.
3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I’ve focused on literary fiction. I’ve published a number of short stories and have written two (as yet) unpublished novels. I adore the long form of the novel for so many reasons: full immersion in the lives of complex characters; a chance to think deeply about important themes; the craft challenges inherent in a novel; the endless research and learning opportunities; the opportunity to dissect other novels to learn how the writer wrote them … the list goes on! Plus, I love nothing more than spending concentrated time writing sentences and thinking deeply about words.
4. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, I got to spend a month in Warsaw while doing research for my most recent novel. And no, I don’t speak Polish! My main character is Polish, though, and I wanted to experience her home city for myself.
8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
She teaches online writing courses for the serious creative writer. Upcoming courses include:
- Revise with Confidence | Begins Jan 26, 2016 | 3-week online course
Master your ability to see your writing through the objective eyes of an editor so you can confidently begin to revise your draft.
- Improve Your Writing | Begins March 22, 2016 | 6-week online course
Master the 15 essential writing tools necessary for creating publishable work. Ensure that your writing is as good as it can be – apply these tools to avoid or correct the 15 most common mistakes routinely made by writers.
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