Joan Dempsey

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Joan Dempsey

Goodreads Author


Born
June 25

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Influences

Member Since
February 2017

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Thanks to the booksellers and readers at Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine, THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS hit #1 on the bestseller list.

Here I am (below) in my writing studio, fondly known as "The Shed." (It used to be a tool shed and chicken coop!) I spend my days in there, writing and teaching online writing classes. The Maine Magazine did a lovely profile of me and the Shed: https://themainemag.com/play/wellness...



Now, here's my official author bio:

Winner of the 2017 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, and named by "Poets & Writers" magazine as one of "5 more over 50" writers to watch, Joan Dempsey is the author of the novel, This Is How It Begins.

Joan received her MFA degree and teaching certificate in creative writing
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Joan Dempsey Nice to see you, Carolyn, and thanks for the great question!

I've been a serious writer since 2000, when I took my first fiction workshop at Grub Stree…more
Nice to see you, Carolyn, and thanks for the great question!

I've been a serious writer since 2000, when I took my first fiction workshop at Grub Street Writers in Boston. Since that time, in the margins of my life as I've worked full-time at non-writing jobs, I've worked diligently to learn the craft of writing and build a writing career. I wrote a complete novel, entitled VIGILANT, before I wrote THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS. Agents and publishers to whom I submitted VIGILANT, while praising my chops as a novelist, felt it was too quiet and literary for them to easily sell.

After some time, I was deeply and happily into writing THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS, and continuing to push for the publication of VIGILANT was taking far too much of my precious, in-the-margins-of-my-day-job writing time, and so I set it on a shelf and focused intensely on my second novel.

During the past seventeen years, in addition to writing the two novels, I've published a few short pieces (stories, personal essays), earned my MFA in fiction writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, earned a teaching certificate (in writing—also from Antioch), and have critiqued hundreds of manuscripts by other creative writers (fiction, non-fiction, memoir).

I started writing THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS in October, 2009, completed it in summer, 2015, and it will be published on October 3, 2017. The first 2+ years I spent doing research into the topical areas involved in the novel: the Warsaw ghetto in WWII, the psychology of those who rescued Jews in WWII, the modern day "culture wars" between religious fundamentalists and the LGBT community, art theft and Polish contemporary art, and more. The following three years I wrote for only about an hour a day, and then I quit my day job to focus full time for a year on finishing the novel, which I did. Fourteen months of seeking a publisher, and finally a signed contract with She Writes Press in September of 2016. And here we are!

So, as you can see, I've been an incredibly active writer for seventeen years now, and hopefully you'll find that THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS provides evidence that I am, indeed, a "veteran writer." Not yet widely published, but nonetheless "veteran." :)

Does that help answer your question, Carolyn? Thanks again for asking.(less)
Joan Dempsey It honestly doesn't take much. I fell in love with writing from my first serious fiction workshop at Grub Street Writers back in 2000, and I've been i…moreIt honestly doesn't take much. I fell in love with writing from my first serious fiction workshop at Grub Street Writers back in 2000, and I've been inspired ever since. Truly, there's nothing I'd rather do than muck around with sentences and books.(less)
Average rating: 4.23 · 520 ratings · 166 reviews · 1 distinct workSimilar authors
This Is How It Begins

4.23 avg rating — 520 ratings — published 2017 — 4 editions
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More of Joan's books…
John Irving
“It's long been a point of mine that the freedom of religion, which this country alleges to support, works two ways. We're not only free to practice the religion of our choice, we should be free from having someone else's religion practiced on us.”
John Irving

“If we take the capsulation of minorities within the nation-state as a given condition, the implication of the Holocaust is that the life and liberties of minorities depend primarily upon whether the dominant group includes them within its universe of obligation; these are the bonds that hold or the bonds that break.”
Helen Fein, Accounting For Genocide: National Responses And Jewish Victimization During The Holocaust

Dennis Lehane
“Danny would have thought it comical if it had come from any other source, on any other day, in any other country. But Curtis had come to the table with something they'd never expected, something they would have thought outmoded and outlived in the modern age: a kind of fundamental righteousness that only the fundamental possessed. Unfettered by doubt, it achieved the appearance of moral intelligence and a resolute consciousness. The terrible thing was how small it made you feel, how weaponless. How could you fight righteous rage if the only arms you bore were logic and sanity?”
Dennis Lehane, The Given Day

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