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I was born in 1936 in Detroit, Michigan and grew up there, attending Mumford High School in my freshman year and graduating from Royal Oak Dondero High school in 1954. I studied English and psychology at the University of Michigan and graduated with a BA in Education in 1958, whereupon I promptly a) got married to my college sweetheart, b) got a job teaching first grade in Garden City, Michigan, and c) got pregnant and had a baby boyóall inside fourteen months. I have been writing all of my lifeósince I was about ten years old, actuallyóin the closet, to the emotional moment, sticking reams of paper in drawers, never finishing anything. I taught more school, had two more sons and then in 1970 I wrote a short story and sent it to a national contest, where I won 60th prize out of 100. It was a book by Richard Perry entitled One Way to Write Your Novel. I read it from cover to cover and decided I already knew all this stuff, so why didnít I just write a novel myself? It took me three years, during which time I decided to quit teaching and concentrate on finishing something. In retrospect, it was the most important decision Iíve made to date about my writing. After I finished Ordinary People, I sent it to a publisher, who turned it down flat. The second sent a rejection letter that read in part: ďWhile the book has some satiric bite, overall the level of writing does not sustain interest and we will have to decline it.Ē (I know this letter by heartódidnít even have to look it up.) The third publisher, Viking Press, hung onto it for 8 months before they decided to publish it. They published my second novel (Second Heaven), turned down my third (Killing Time in St. Cloud), so I went to Delacorte. Delacorte turned down my fourth (Errands), so I went to Ballantine (which had turned down my first one). Ballantine turned down my fifth (The Tarnished Eye) so I went to Scribner. This is the book business in a nutshell. Donít let anyone tell you different.

I am now working on a sequel to The Tarnished Eye. Itís called White in the Moon. When I finish that one, I have another on the back burneróa sequel to Second Heaven, called Donít Be Too Sure. I am also working on a couple of short stories for anthologies. This is new to me and Iím enjoying it. I have also written several screenplays, one of which was based on three short stories by Carol Bly and was made into a movie called Rachel River. The others are languishing in the Hollywood Doldrums. Thatís my writing life so far.

My private life is a bit more varied and exciting. I have a husband and three sons and seven grandchildren who all live here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We see them often, summer together, and do an assortment of family things. They are my real lifeómy obsession and my best material.

I think I should also say that I am the great-niece of Edgar A. Guest, who was at one time the Poet Laureate of Michigan and who wrote a poem a day for the Detroit Free Press for forty years. Which is where I get my endurance from. I can write for a long time on one novel and not get tired.

Copyright © 2005 Judith Guest