Joyce McDonald has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her first books, written when she was six, were tediously hand-printed affairs with smudged crayon illustrations, tenuously held together by safety pins. (She didn't own a stapler.) When Joyce wasn't writing stories, she was telling them. She made up exciting—sometimes hair-raising, even gory—tales to share with her friends. They were a tough audience. From them Joyce learned the first rule of writing good fiction: Make it entertaining.

This is a rule that Joyce follows to this day with her award-winning young adult novels, middle grade fiction and picture books—including Devil on My Heels, Shades of Simon Gray, Shadow People and Swallowing Stones—that explore her fascination with the complexities and duality of human nature, and the choices we make in our lives.

Joyce earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in English from Drew University.  She lives in Forks Township, PA with her husband and two cats.

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