ABOUT AMY WACHSPRESS AND RON REED

Amy Wachspress was born and raised in Schenectady. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Drama from Syracuse University, her master’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and she completed her coursework for her Ph.D. in English at Washington University in St. Louis, but did not complete her dissertation. She also attended the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Vermont for four summers. She worked for over a dozen years as a scenic carpenter, scenic artist, welder, stagehand, and theater technician in the San Francisco Bay Area. After leaving the field of technical theater, she worked as a writer and editor, an administrative assistant for education and child protection organizations, and a Head Start administrator. She was a political activist in the 1980s and was also active in the Jewish Renewal Movement. She authored Cleopatra for the Quercus Publishing Company History Series in 1986. In 2000, she started a grant writing business, and over the years she has raised over $100 million in grant funds for clients in over 25 states. She continues to work as a freelance writer. She founded Woza Books in 2006 and self-published The Call to Shakabaz in 2007. In June 2012, Counterpoint Press published her adult novel, Memories from Cherry Harvest, as the Frances Fabri Literary Prize winner for 2011.

Ron Reed was born and raised in Chicago and grew up in the infamous Robert Taylor Projects on the South Side. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Film from San Francisco State University. He is known locally as “DJ Reed” (as in disc jockey) because of his popular R&B, Soul, Blues, and Funk Saturday night radio show. He served for four years as a machinist on the Intrepid (an aircraft carrier) in the U.S. Navy during the Viet Nam War (fortunately he toured Europe instead of Southeast Asia). He worked for over a dozen years as a scenic carpenter, scenic artist, stagehand, and theater technician in the San Francisco Bay Area. After leaving the field of technical theater, he worked for many years as a photojournalist, then as a computer teacher in the public schools, and he presently works as a technology specialist for the school district. He is a union representative in the CSEA local. He has two sons from his first marriage, Mort and Brian; two granddaughters; and two great-grandchildren.

Ron and Amy raised their three children, Yael, Akili, and Sudi, on a remote forty acres of forest, accessible only by a dirt road rising up the hillside from organic vineyards in rural northern California. Their forty acres was just near a magical cherry orchard and wise ancient trees stood guard at their gate. After their children left home, they moved out of the forest; however they still live in the shadow of wise old trees.

Amy and Ron at the wedding of their son Akili with their children Sudi, Yael, and Akili and Ron’s son Brian in 2014.