Denise Blankenship Joyce is a native of rural southeast Missouri. Her father was a farmer, who raised cotton, corn, and soybeans. He served as a pilot during World War II and met her mother, a native of London, England, while he was stationed in England during the war. Denise is the middle child of five siblings, all of whom spent part of their growing-up years translating their mother's restaurant orders for waitstaff who couldn't understand their mother's British accent.
The small high school she graduated from, Lilbourn High School, no longer exists, having been absorbed into a countywide high school. How small was the high school? Denise got to be a majorette with the marching band and a cheerleader. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 1973 with a Bachelor of Journalism degree and started working for the Chicago Tribune in 1974 after fleeing Houston, where she worked for the Houston Post. (The fleeing was more from Houston than the now-defunct Post, which was a fine place to work.) Since 1974, she has worked in numerous positions for the Chicago Tribune, from copy desk to news bureau chief and section editor. She currently is an assistant editor with the Tribune's daily feature section, Live! (rhymes with "dive"; the exclamation point is part of the name, not a commentary on her career move).
Books:Scared of Santa, October 2008