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Alumni Portraits
Joy Fielding
Current Industry: Literature
Bachelor of Arts (BA) 1966, University College

Her love of writing continued through her high school years, but by the time she got to the University of Toronto, she decided she wanted to be an actress instead and performed in about 20 campus productions and acted in a student movie, Winter Kept Us Warm.

Fielding moved to Los Angeles and went into acting full time after graduating, appearing in an episode of Gunsmoke. But then she returned to her first love, writing, and Toronto.

Since then, she has written 24 novels, including her latest, Shadow Creek, in which a group of unlikely travelling companions on a camping trip in the Adirondacks find themselves in an all-out struggle for survival.

"I had a curriculum that I liked at the U of T. I loved studying. I really loved all my courses. I would just say that I think I got a really good education."

Fielding has said she loves writing “because it’s the only time in my life when I feel I have complete control. Nobody does or says anything I don’t tell them to – although even this amount of control is illusory because there comes a point where the characters take over and tell you what they think they should say and do.”

She says she “strives to create characters the reader can identify with, that the reader can look at a character and think, ‘That’s my sister, or my mother, or even, my God, that’s me!'”

Some of her favourite authors include Philip Roth, Pat Conroy and Joan Didion. “I find that I am often disappointed with suspense writers because they focus on plot rather than character and leave too many loose ends dangling.”

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