Meet Nancy Massand!

“My first published piece was in The Sunday Telegram in Worcester, Massachusetts, during the Jurassic era. I was six. No one had ever heard of a computer, or even an electric typewriter. I plucked my pet chicken and dipped the quill in ink. Okay, people of a certain age tend to embellish sometimes, but we’ve earned that privilege. Just so you know, it’s all true except for the pet chicken.

“I wrote through all my high school classes in the margins of my notebooks and read my poetic ramblings in local coffee houses on Saturday nights. At Gordon College in Massachusetts I soaked up all the writing classes I could fit in as an English major. Later, in a master’s program at Queens College in New York City, one of my writing professors told me my short story had the tone of Bernard Malamud, whom I greatly admired. Titled “The Believer,” it won eleventh place in an annual Writer’s Digest short story competition.

“I landed my first teaching job in Lakewood, New Jersey, fresh out of college. They were looking for a teacher with a master’s degree who was experienced in working with challenging teens. Why they hired me, only God knows. My second week there, I walked into a church because I thought I probably should, being new in town and overwhelmed with an impossible job. I slid into the last pew next to a kind man who shared his hymn book with me (remember we’re in the Jurassic era here, no laptops or overhead projectors), and we got engaged three months later on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes you just know. My husband Mike and I have been married for forty-two years and have three grown daughters and sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren.

“After a bit of moving around to Chicago, Los Angeles and Vancouver during our early years of marriage, we settled in New York City, where I found work as a librarian at an independent school in Queens. That was another hiring that made no earthly sense, as I had no training in library science. The headmaster called me to fill an unexpected vacancy, as I subbed there regularly and he liked my work. I told him I couldn’t work full time, since my youngest was only two. He told me if I could find childcare he’d hold the position until the next morning. Long story short, I’ve been there thirty-three years and am now the dean of the middle school as well as a teacher of literature and writing. Several of my former students are now published authors, which gives me great pleasure.

“My short stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in Chicken Soup, A Cup of Comfort, and various online e-zines such as I have collaborated on the scripts for two children’s musicals picked up by Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. My professional associations include the American Christian Fiction Writers and a local writing group called Tapestries. Happily, a laptop has replaced the pet chicken and the cloud is now my manuscript drawer. Still writing after all these years.”