A few weeks ago, She Reads– a group of smart women who review books, picked Orphan Train as their monthly read. At She Reads, I wear several hats- I post my reviews- but I also wear the hat of She Reads Online Book Club Discussion Leader and I host Twitter chats with the authors that She Reads features. One day, I noticed in my Twitter mentions, Lit New England, asking about when a Twitter chat would be. Not being familiar with them- I made a point to start checking their page out- and wow! I had been missing out- but luckily got a clue!
In case you, my faithful readers, have been missing out on Literary New England, this interview is just for you!
Interview with Cindy Wolfe Boynton-Literary New England
Cindy- can you tell a little about Literary New England and the radio show?
The Literary New England Radio Show, www.litnewengland.com which airs on Monday nights at 8 EST on BlogTalk Radio, has been in existence since December 2011, when our first episode aired to just six listeners. I’m proud to say that we now attract as many as 10,000 listeners an episode and continue to grow! Equally exciting is these listeners’ diverse geographic locations, which include not just New England and throughout the U.S., but Japan, the United Kingdom and other countries.
The show features both established and emerging authors and writers and is designed to celebrate all things related to literary New England. I started it in part because I’m a crazy bibliophile. I’m a huge reader who passionately believes in the transformative power that books and stories can have on reader and writer alike. I’m also a long-time journalist and, at some point in 2011, got the idea to combine my personal and professional passions to create this Literary New England venture, which in many ways has taken on a life of its own!
The response from fellow book lovers, authors, publishers and so many others has been amazing! It’s really a gift, and it’s because of this enthusiasm that I decided to add regular Tweet chats, a Tumblr blog http://www.tumblr.com/blog/litnewengland, create the Literary New England Travel Guide that will be released in September 2013 and create two short story collections that will be published in 2014, Scarlet Lit: Stories of Romance, Revenge & Redemption—New England Style and Moby Lit: Short Stories with a Splash of New England Sea & Shore http://www.litnewengland.com/Anthologies.html.
It’s all beyond exciting!
Over the past few weeks, Literary New England has had some great Twitter chats- Beatriz Williams, author of A Hundred Summers, Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow are the two that comes to mind. How do you choose who to ask for Twitter chats with so many great authors? Must their books have a New England setting?
I love Tweet chats! They’re fast-paced, you get to meet and interact with lots of different people, and they are just so much fun! We’ve been fortunate to have some amazing authors agree to chat with us and are excited about the ones coming up. They include Erika Marks on The Guest House July 10, Erin Bowman on Taken July 31, MJ Rose on Seduction Aug. 7 and Mia March on Finding Colin Firth Sept. 10, which also happens to be Colin Firth’s birthday. All our chats take place from 8-9 pm EST.
Like the radio show, our Tweet chats feature authors with some kind of tie to New England, whether it’s that their book is set there, the author lived or lives there, a book’s character has New England ties, etc. I have a ball hosting the chats and hope that everyone who participates does, too.
What authors can we expect to see at Literary New England in the next few weeks?
I try very hard to keep www.litnewengland.com up to date with who’s going to be on the show the following Monday. Guests coming up in July and August so far include Christina Baker Kline, Stephen Kiernan, Lauren Beukes, Mia March, J. Courtney Sullivan, Liza Klaussman, Royce Prouty, Anton DiSclafani and more! Each show also features lots of book giveaways.
Literary New England Travel guide (written by you-how exciting!) will be out in September 2013. Do you have a favorite spot that will be featured? Or do you like all literary hot spots?
The guide will take actual and armchair travelers to more than 500 New England locations featured in contemporary and classic books and related to popular authors, as well as provide a list of the best NE bookstores, book fests, writing workshops, retreats, and more. It will also include maps, suggested itineraries and author interviews. For me, it’s not just a fun project, but a labor of love. My favorite lit spot changes all the time, but today I’ll say the old Greenwich High School, which Truman Capote attended from 1939-42.
What is the best book of 2013 (in your opinion)?
I think it’s still too early to call. I have a stack of must-reads that are all 2013 titles and really don’t want to pick a best one until I’ve gotten through many more. What I can tell you, though, is my favorite book from 2012 is Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Carol lives in the UK now, but for several years she lived in Amherst, Mass., which is where she started writing. I discovered her and Wolves while I was looking for authors and books with New England connections, and since then have told everyone I know to listen to her on the show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/literarynewengland/2012/07/17/monica-wood-carol-rifka-brunt-laura-moriarty and, most importantly, to read Tell the Wolves I’m Home! It’s a wonderfully rich and powerful coming-of-age story about love, family, acceptance and forgiveness, which focuses on the relationship between an awkward yet insightful teen named June and her gay uncle Finn, who’s dying of AIDS, and Finn’s lover Toby. What I will say about 2013, however, is that there seems to be an extraordinary number of outstanding titles recently—and about to be —released. Choosing what to read next is difficult, because so many books look so great.
When you are not hosting the Literary New England Radio Show or Twitter chats- how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a self-employed freelance writer and editor, as well as an English and journalism adjunct at two Connecticut colleges, so I work a lot. I’m also a playwright and spending a lot of time right now getting my next play—a one-woman show called Dear Prudence—ready to make its world debut in October at the Off-Broadway United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City. I’m really excited about that! I’m also a mom of two sons 18 and 15 and working on several creative writing projects, including a middle-grade novel and a poetry collection.
What books have you added to your to be read (TBR) list for the 2013 year?
My TBR pile is so high it’s teetering! At the top of the pile right now are Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, Royce Prouty’s Stoker’s Manuscript and Stephen Kiernan’s The Curiosity. I’m super excited about all of them.