How it Began
Writing is in my family.
I still remember the day that my Dad took me aside and offered his advice: “I really think you should start writing … fiction.”
I was fourteen, and I had just fabricated an elaborate story about a knitting lesson at a friend’s house because I needed to account for my whereabouts on the previous Friday night.
In reality, my girlfriends and I had been cruising with boys on Henderson Highway, with Beatles and Stones music blasting from the radio into the warm summer evening, loud enough as it turns out to capture my Mom and Dad’s attention as our Mustang glided past my parent’s Plymouth Valiant at a brisk clip.
Dad strongly suggested that I put my propensity for “being economical with the truth” to good use.
His prompt was the start of my fictional writing career. One of my teachers thought my ability to twist the truth was so agile that she covertly entered some of my English assignments in a few writing contests.
These initial efforts at writing earned some awards including first place in the 1967 Pan-Am Literary contest and the Canadian Women’s Temperance Essay contest.
The latter story was about a young girl traumatized by her parents’ addiction to alcohol. Apparently, the narrative was so believable that the Principal of my school felt compelled to bring my parents in for a “friendly” interview to see how the family was doing.
When I wrote Wounded, I was inspired by people and events that I encountered throughout my career as a Clinical Social Worker in Manitoba for 18 years and stories told to me by law enforcement professionals.
Arvel Gray – friend and editor extraordinaire;
a first-class partner in crime fiction
As a writer, editor and broadcaster with more than four decades in the communications industry, Arvel Gray’s career has included radio and television at the local, national and international levels as well as writing and editing for books, magazines, documentaries and organizations. She has edited and copyedited more than a dozen books in a variety of genres, for writers and publishers across the country.
Mom and Dad
My father, Stanley Joyce, was an elected officer to Winnipeg’s first Writers’ Group in 1961. He was also a regular winner in the annual Lady Eaton writing contest and one of his stories, The Dice, was selected for reading in the national CBC radio series Short Stories with John Drainie.
It wasn’t until the death of my parents (only seven weeks apart from each other) in 2004, that I truly appreciated their legacy—the intangible gifts and the tangible ones.
Besides love, loyalty, a strong moral compass, and sense of what is important in life, my mother gifted recipes, household items and beautiful articles of knitted clothing.
My father left a box full of short stories and unpublished novels. Now, it’s time for me to leave something tangible for my children.