The Box Children, by Sharon Wyse
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About the Author


Picture of Sharon Wyse
© 2002 by Joan Beard

How did a girl from a small Texas town grow up to be a novelist in New York City? Sharon Wyse marvels at that question herself. Her parents were farmers, growing citrus during the winters in the Rio Grande Valley, then driving 800 miles north to the Texas Panhandle to run their wheat farm each summer. On the farm Wyse had lots of time alone, and like Lou Ann Campbell, the eleven-year-old protagonist of Wyse's first novel, The Box Children, she tried to imagine her future. Becoming a writer was her wildest dream.

As a teenager Wyse loved to write and was good at it--she won local and regional writing contests--but didn't think it would be possible to pursue writing as a career. "I didn't know anybody who wrote, and in school we didn't study women authors. It just didn't seem possible," she says. She left home for the first time on a full voice scholarship to Texas Christian University, having sung in school and church choirs since junior high. "I thought I'd be a choir director," she says. "But I never actually wanted to teach."

After earning a B.A. in English from the University of Houston, Wyse sang in the Houston Grand Opera chorus while earning a second B.A. in voice from the University of St. Thomas. She then took the graveyard shift at Houston's classical music radio station, KLEF, while taking graduate courses in music history. She went on to become the arts coordinator of the Houston Festival and there learned how to write grant proposals--for the first time putting her writing skills to profitable use.

Sharon Wyse's Texas
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In 1983, Wyse moved to New York City, hoping to make bigger things happen. She became Director of Development for Twyla Tharp Dance and then for the American Museum of the Moving Image before starting her own fundraising business. Wyse has written proposals and fundraising appeals that have raised more than $15 million for her clients. Her professional writing also includes speeches for Alan Alda, Gloria Steinem, Roger Rosenblatt and Sarah Jessica Parker, and exhibition text for the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

In New York City, Wyse's dreams of being a writer found a home. In 1984, she enrolled in her first creative writing class and began getting up before dawn to write for an hour before work each day. Over time, some pieces about childhood in rural Texas began to fit together as the basis for a novel. Wyse formed a Sunday writers group and received two fellowships to the Ragdale Foundation writers' colony to work on her novel. In 1999, she completed The Box Children.

"I'm living proof that if you have a dream and you work hard toward it every day, amazing things can happen." Wyse says.

Sharon Wyse now lives in Brooklyn's Park Slope with her husband David Satz, a musician, recording engineer, and computer programmer. She has a grown son. She continues to sing opera, study acting and write fiction while working as a fundraising and special events consultant.