This first diving book spawned another on the sea – Best Dives’ Snorkeling Adventures. This came about when she put her email address in an edition of the diving book, and was inundated with questions. Not from divers but from snorkellers.
After many nights staying up until 3 am answering the e-mails, Huber decided the snorkellers should have their own book. Her publisher, Michael Hunter, didn’t see a market in snorkelling, but she had worked in print for so many years that it seemed simple enough for her to put a snorkelling guide together for them. It is now in its third edition.
Her scuba diving guide has been in need of an upate for a few years – but she put it on hold as her co-author/dive buddy/husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002. He died in 2003. She was so devastated she did nothing till 2005. His name as co-author is on the new edition of the guide as he contributed much time to it.
The first dive book was the result of 20 years of dive travel and note taking. Back in the 1970’s, Joyce and her husband Jon put on slide shows of underwater sites for their local dive club. Friends asked about places to stay, best time of year, where to eat etc. It grew into a book from there.
Joyce signed a contract with Dodd Mead publishing, but the publishing company folded. Putnam Publishing bought out the contract. They dropped “Best Dives”. Since she was a new writer, she hired a crusty editor – Eliot Tozer – to make the book more saleable. He got hooked on the subject and took off for Bermuda for a resort course. He nearly drowned when his mustache let water in his mask.
Simon and Schuster’s editor then wanted the book, but she was over-ruled as no one had ever published a dive-travel guide and they didn’t want to be the first. Meanwhile, Michael Hunter started a travel book company. He moved to south Florida and lived on the beach where he saw lots of divers going in and out of the ocean so he figured there must be a market. He published the first Best Dives book in 1988 and it was an instant success. “We meant it to be for new divers” says Joyce “but everyone loved it.”
You might imagine that writers on diving have been a major influence on Joyce Huber, but oddly enough she sites instead people from Flying Magaine and Aviation International News. She worked on aviation magazines as an art director for many years and in corporate and general aviation doing promotional work. She is a licensed seaplane pilot.
Huber grew up in northeastern New Jersey, an area that is a suburb of New York City. She spent summers in south Jersey swimming and beach-combing and watching seaplanes. After studying art at Pratt Institute and the Art Students League she worked as everything from a fashion designer to a mural painter. She went back to school for writing specifically to do the dive books when she was 35 years old. She’s now 58 now.
Joyce Huber’s books are available from Amazon, with up to 35% off.