ABOUT AMY WACHSPRESS

Amy Wachspress was raised in Schenectady, New York. She lived in a number of locations in New England and the Midwest, and she traveled extensively in Europe, Canada, Israel, and the U.S., before settling in California in 1978. She is the daughter of mathematician Dr. Eugene Wachspress and social worker Natalie Wachspress.

Amy 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 before she left academia. She also attended the Bread Loaf School of English Graduate School through 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. She was the first woman hired to work on permit as a scenic carpenter in the traditionally all-male union in San Francisco. She worked as a scenic artist and sculptor for the San Francisco Opera Association and the San Francisco Ballet for six seasons. She also worked as a scenic carpenter in many non-union theater shops, such as the Berkeley Repertory Theater and the Magic Theater.

After leaving the field of technical theater, she worked as a writer and editor (she authored Cleopatra for the Quercus Publishing Company History Series in 1986), an administrative assistant, and a Head Start administrator. For over a dozen years she has earned her living writing federal grants for cities, counties, schools, Native tribes, museums, libraries, nonprofits, health clinics, therapeutic services providers, faith-based organizations, and more. She has raised over $100 million in grant funds for worthy causes in over 25 states.

In the 1980s, Amy worked as a peace and justice activist in Berkeley, California. She was a founding member of Kehilla Community Synagogue, the first synagogue in the Jewish Renewal Movement to be formally incorporated.

In 2007, she and her husband established Woza Books to publish her award-winning children’s fantasy adventure The Call to Shakabaz. She is currently working on the sequel, entitled Changing the Prophecy. Her novel Memories from Cherry Harvest (Counterpoint Press, 2012) was awarded the Frances Fabri Literary Prize in 2010.

Amy is married to Ron Reed, better known locally as DJ Reed because of his popular Saturday night radio show. Ron grew up in the Robert Taylor Projects on the South side of Chicago. After serving four years in the Navy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in film. He has two sons from his first marriage. Ron and Amy raised their three multicultural, multitalented children on a remote 40 acres of forest, accessible only by a dirt road, in rural northern California. After their children left home, they moved out of the forest, however they still live in the shadow of wise old trees.