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AUTHOR BIO: Joyce Gregory Wyels

 

A Change of Career

A ten-day trip to Peru’s Urubamba Valley spelled the end of Joyce Wyels’ career as a school district administrator. Inspired by the soaring splendor of the Andes and the Inca genius evident in sites like Cusco and Machu Picchu, she decided to take up the uncertain career of a travel writer.

Like other freelance writers, Wyels faced rejection, low pay, and fierce competition, as well as the humbling realization that marketing skills carry as much weight as good writing. But eventually wanderlust and writing assignments led to bucket-list destinations from Easter Island to Katmandu.


Meanwhile, a serendipitous trip to Rio evolved into a fifteen-year stint writing about arts and culture for Américas, the now-defunct magazine of the Organization of American States. Many of these articles can be seen at http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Wyels,+Joyce+Gregory-a1655.


Other credits, often featuring historic and literary travel, include American History, Art&Antiques, Coastal Living, Hispanic, Historic Traveler, Literary Trips, Los Angeles Times, Marie Claire, Native Peoples, Porthole, Preservation, Readers Digest, Smithsonian American Indian, South American Explorer, and TravelAge West.

In addition to The Authors Guild, Wyels is a member of PEN and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. (Until its demise, she was also a member of the Travel Journalists Guild.)

At first, as Joyce freely admits, travel writing was all about excuses to travel. But gradually she realized that the writing part of the equation held its own appeal. Drawing on her previous teaching experience as well as research she had done for an article on Harriet Tubman, Wyels next ventured into historical fiction for children. Her ebook for Zoozil Media, titled Freedom Train, examines the fraught period in U.S. history leading up to the Civil War, through the eyes of three fictional but authentic characters.

Asked to write a second book of historical fiction, Joyce returned to the Incas for inspiration. The story, which examines the demise of the Inca Empire from the point of view of a young chasqui, or messenger, is nearing completion.

Meanwhile, Wyels keeps her passport current, writing the occasional travel article as well as educational materials.