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Julia Dvorin- An Extended Biography

 

Just for fun, here's an attempt at summing up my life using bullet points (so if I ever get rich and famous, you can pretend like you knew me when):

  • I was born in Washington D.C., at George Washington Hospital. At the time, my dad was a lawyer with the NRLB and my mom had just quit her job as a 3rd grade teacher.
  • When I was 2, my dad put in for a transfer to California (he and my mom were crunchy granola hippy people at heart). We narrowly escaped L.A. and wound moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. (Whew.) We lived in San Carlos at first and then found a fixer upper house in Northern Marin County (North Bay represent, yo!) Despite its proximity to San Francisco (not to mention Napa Valley), Marin in the 1970s was a collection of little happy hippy towns and was best known for its hot tubs and crystals and peacock feathers. It became "yuppified" in the 1980s (when the running joke became that "BMW" stood for "Basic Marin Wheels".) But it was still an awesome place to grow up.
  • Some time around the early 1970s, my dad quit lawyering and started his own business. My mom also started her own business in 1975. They worked at those businesses for over 30 years, until they each retired. So I come from educated, hippy, East Coast, entrepreneurial roots.
  • I've lived in the suburbs all my life. I'm still living in the house I grew up in (a mostly remodeled Eichler) that my parents moved our family into shortly after they moved to California. I lived here from 1971-1981, and then moved back here in 1996. I've lived in this house longer than anywhere else I've ever lived. It is a trip and a half to be raising my kids in the same house that I was a kid in.
  • I went to elementary school at Lucas Valley Elementary School, which closed when I was in 4th grade (and which is now, many years later, a private Waldorf school). I attended Mary Silvera Elementary School for 5th grade, Miller Creek school for 6th grade, and then my parents moved us across the county. So I attended Kent Middle School and Redwood High School. I'm a proud graduate of decent public schools, and I wish I could still support them as the best way to prepare our children for the future. But that's a whole other subject.
  • I learned to read when I was 3 and it quickly became my favorite activity in the world. The public library was a good friend of mine (we have a gorgeous one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that I spent a lot of time in), as were my school libraries. I always loved myths and fairy tales. I remember blowing through every single collection of "colored" fairy tale books (e.g. the Red Book, the Blue Book, the Green Book, etc). When I was in 5th grade, my school librarian suggested I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and that really kicked me off on a lifelong love of epic fantasy (though I also always loved science fiction). In middle school I discovered Anne McCaffery and Piers Anthony and Alan Dean Foster and many others, became a huge Elfquest fan (my friends and I started an Elfquest fan club). Of course at this time I also discovered my parents' bookshelves and was probably oddly influenced by their Kurt Vonnegut collection. This was also the era of Star Wars and Star Trek (which I watched in daily re-runs). So culturally speaking, I've been a geek for a long time. :)
  • Speaking of geekiness, I had a unicorn collection when I was in elementary and middle school. I still have some of that stuff in a box somewhere. I am totally tickled that unicorns are becoming cool again. I have to admit I still love unicorns.
  • I first started taking drama classes in 6th grade, which led to a love of the stage and eventually to working at the Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire for over a decade.
  • I started dreaming about wanting to be a writer in middle school. I wrote poems and short stories and took writing classes in high school, and edited our high school literary magazine (imagine, this was in the days where we actually PRINTED fiction.) I went to UCSC as a Creative Writing major, produced a short-lived literary 'zine there called "RipRap", and then got seduced away from the arts into academics when I encountered Psychology and loved those classes. I kept writing poetry and fiction, but only in bits and pieces.
  • Psychology led me simultaneously to Sociology (because I liked social psychology best) and to Women's Studies. I wound up being a double major in both Sociology and Women's Studies, because at the time they wouldn't let you take a single major in Women's Studies.
  • A well meaning sociology professor asked me at one point what I intended to do after graduation, and I said I'd thought about being a teacher (like my mom). She told me that I'd probably be a good candidate for graduate school in Sociology, after which I could teach at the college level if I wanted. I was completely taken with this idea and decided to go to grad school.
  • I decided on a Sociology program at UCSB which also had a strong emphasis in Feminist Studies, and after graduation I moved down to Santa Barbara and began a brave new life there. Unfortunately for my brave new life, shortly after finishing my first quarter of graduate school, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's disease. I took a leave of absence from my graduate program, let go my studio apartment, and moved back home to the Bay Area for treatment. Treatment was successful (yay!), after which I stubbornly moved right back Santa Barbara and went back to school.
  • I eventually realized that, much as I loved my subject matter and enjoyed teaching, grad school and academia was not for me. But I wouldn't leave without some sort of achievement, so it took me 5 long years to finish up my Master's Degree and call it quits.
  • During this time of finishing up my Master's Degree, I met the love of my life at the Northern California Renaissance Faire. We had a long distance relationship for awhile so that he could finish college at UCB, although we got married in 1995 and shortly thereafter he moved down to Santa Barbara to be with me. Once I finished my degree in 1996, we hightailed it back up to the Bay Area (he's a born and bred East Bay boy himself).
  • My parents generously offered our old home as a rental to us while we figured out what we wanted to do with our lives. I worked at my mom's gift store for awhile, then took a temp job at a calendar and stationery company that turned out to be a permanent job for the next 5 years.
  • In 2001, after a few years of trying, and several mishaps, my husband and I welcomed our beautiful eldest son, Eli, to the world. Everything changed. Things were hard, but the gifts were many. Parenthood is not for wimps. I became a gold medalist in the Suck-It-Up Olympics.
  • I learned the wild and wacky world of Consumer Products Licensing on the job at the calendar company by procuring licensed properties for use on calendars (and I took advantage of my geek background to convince the company to let me work on awesome licenses like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings). Unfortunately, that company became increasingly unstable and I left right before it imploded for a job on the agent side of Licensing.
  • I worked on Licensing Out for another 5 years, and during that time, in 2005, we welcomed Isaac, our beautiful son number 2, to the world. It was also during this time that I started writing Ice Will Reveal, after getting into a silly email storytelling exchange with a friend about the characters we were playing in a D&D game. I started to take the idea of writing a novel more seriously sometime around 2004, got distracted by having a kid, and then eventually picked it up again after my son was born.
  • Once I'd finally recovered some of my mental equilibrium after having another kid, though, I decided that I'd been distracted by Licensing long enough and that it really was time to try other kinds of daily work that might be more in alignment with my own skills and desires.
  • I worked briefly in sales for a financial education company, which reactivated my urge towards entrepreneurialism, and then in 2007, my husband and I decided to start our own web solutions company.
  • Also in 2007, I applied to, was accepted to and attended Viable Paradise (VP), a one-week workshop for speculative fiction writers. This week totally changed my life and my relationship to my writing. I wound up afterwards with a critique group and a peer group that still supports me to this day, and for which I feel extremely lucky.
  • In 2010 I had my first "real" publication, the novella Cupid For A Day, which appeared in the Renaissance Festival Tales anthology from Hadley Rille Books. It was my VP roommate, Kim, who introduced me to the opportunity.
  • My husband and I had many adventures and much learning while running our web solutions company for 4 years in an increasingly difficult economy, and then in 2011 decided that we weren't being true enough to our own passions and talents and we weren't making money, so we closed it down.
  • In 2011 I started my Fly Your Freak Flag High project.
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