Bryn Greenwood grew up in the minute Kansas town of Hugoton; ten blocks by ten blocks. After escaping to college, earning three degrees (a BA in English, a BA in French Literature, and an MA in Writing) and making up stories all the while, she completed her first novel and sent it out to agents. Ten rejections, eight other novels, and eleven years later, Last Will was finally published.
Bryn worked as a teacher in Japan and, upon returning to the United States, became a sex educator at high schools and prisons in Florida. While there, she also taught at community colleges, spent time at non-profit organizations, and met a co-worker who became a first reader of Last Will (and who is acknowledged in the novel's dedication).
Finally she returned to Kansas. "When I was younger, I wandered around the world, but came back to Kansas to write. It was the wind after all. It carried dust into the house all during my childhood and turned my hair into a rat's nest. When I got too far away from it, though, I felt unsteadied. As though I'd been out walking in the wind and it suddenly stopped. As though I were going to fall down without something to oppose me."
She then worked for five years as a slush pile reader at Kansas Quarterly Magazine. Her job included typing the rejection letters. "I rejected with brutal efficiency, sometimes on grounds as frivolous as excessive scotch tape usage on the envelope. Don't blame me. We were always behind, hopelessly inundated with submissions. Expediency was the better part of valor. For many years it was the memory of those rejections that kept me from submitting work to magazines. Fear of karmic retribution. It has abated somewhat, but not disappeared entirely."
As quirky as some of the characters in Last Will, as persevering as a Kansas farmer in a wind storm, as lucky as a lottery winner, Bryn Greenwood finally has a novel out in the world. Hopefully at least one or two of the other eight books she has already written will be published as well.
For more information about Bryn Greenwood (such as her love for her hairless cats, which she refers to as "velvet hot water bottles") or to read her blog, visit her online at www.bryngreenwood.com.
This article is from the August 8, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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