Regan Byrne Palmer has worked in publicity for Simon & Schuster, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. She has written for a number of newsletters, and she co-founded and edited Turtle Quarterly, a literary magazine. She was a Preliminary Judge for the 31st Annual Minnesota Book Award. She has studied fiction at the Loft Literary Center and recently completed her novel, A Dandelion Crown in Winter.
More about me
I grew up in family of English majors. Both of my parents were journalists. My mom, in particular, was a strict editor. We were never allowed to bury the lead and even rarely allowed to use slang in conversation. It took me decades to overcome her critique of my childhood stories and claim writing for myself.
Perhaps in reaction to the repression she placed on her own writing, my mom loved to tell fantastic tales whenever she was caught off guard or in a relaxed mood. These were not campfire ghost stories. No, my mom told her stories as a reporter would—who, what, where, when, why and how—with a thirst for the macabre. Stories of cabins in the woods disappearing for decades, apparitions from purgatory come to warn of danger, and a vision of Mary who left an indentation on my mom’s hospital bedcovers after a near-fatal fire accident. All of these stories mixed with the stories I learned in Catholic school and in church. My parents made no differentiation between the fantastic of faith or my mom’s personal beliefs. I grew up with the conviction that all tall tales were created equal. The evidence of this appears in all of my writing.
I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I attended Catholic school. I graduated from Creighton University with a BA in History, which also included a year of study in Paris at La Sorbonne. After finishing my degree, I moved to New York where I worked for the publicity department of the Simon & Schuster trade division. I married and returned to Minnesota where I did freelance publicity work, worked for the Department of Human Services for the State of Minnesota, and began what would become years of volunteer work with the homeless. I worked as an intern for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, eventually transitioning to paid staff as a membership, marketing and publicity coordinator. After the birth of my first child, I entered a training program to become a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where I led tours and workshops for twelve years. I took my first writing class at the Loft when my second child was still an infant. I wrote, prepared tours, and volunteered while raising my two children.
I continued to work on my fiction, both short and long, eventually exploring poetry as a way to sharpen my short fiction pieces. I participated in a poetry workshop run by Tim Nolan, which met for over a decade and held public readings, most notably as part of the Carol Connolly reading series. During this period, I wrote two unpublished novels and competed in the 3-Day Novel contest.
As an outgrowth of the poetry workshop I co-founded and edited Turtle Quarterly, a literary magazine. I worked as a volunteer reading tutor as well as in other capacities in my children’s schools. I work as a volunteer for the Hennepin County Library system. Now I continue to write fiction and poetry. I am currently querying my novel, A DANDELION CROWN IN WINTER, and working on a new book.