It   would   be   difficult   to   find   an   author   who   appeals   to   more   diverse   audiences   than   Gwen Florio   (Missoula,   MT).   She   has   won   several   journalism   awards   and   been   nominated   three times   for   the   Pulitzer   Prize.   Her   fiction   has   won   the   inaugural   Pinckley   Prize   and   the   High Plains   Book Award   and   was   nominated   for   the   Pushcart   Prize   for   her   Short   Fiction.   She   is a   member   of   International   Thriller   Writers,   Mystery   Writers   of   America,   Sisters   in   Crime, Rocky   Mountain   Fiction   Writers,   and   Women   Writing   the   West.   Her   books   you   can   read   in English, Italian, Turkish, Chinese and soon in Check. Enjoy! Links: https://gwenflorio.net/ JBN: What inspired you to write Silent Hearts?   Gwen   Florio:    The   time   I   spent   in Afghanistan   on   two   separate   trips,   in   2001   and   in   2002. More   than   anything,   the   inspiration   came   from   the   women   I   met   there.   In   the   face   of almost insurmountable obstacles, they were so strong.   JBN:   You   have   reported   from   conflict   zones:   how   did   your   career   as   a   reporter start?   Gwen   Florio:    I   started   as   an   English   and   literature   major,   with   zero   interest   in   journalism, but   my   father   suggested   I   take   a   journalism   course   so   that   I   could   get   a   job.   With   my   first story in the student newspaper, I was hooked.   JBN: Where was your first trip?   Gwen   Florio:    My   first   reporting   trip   to   a   foreign   country   was   to   the   Mexican   state   of   Chiapas,   where   a   group   of   revolutionaries   known as   the   Zapatistas   had   started   an   uprising   two   years   earlier.   I   wrote   about   the   effects   of   that   action.   I   speak   some   Spanish,   which made the trip much easier than going to a completely strange environment.   JBN: What was the toughest part?   Gwen   Florio:   Often,   it’s   the   logistics,   especially   in   conflict   zones   –   how   I   could   get   to   places   safely,   who   I   could   trust,   who   could   help me   get   access   to   the   people   I   needed   to   talk   to.   And   then,   equally   important,   finding   a   place   with   electricity   so   that   I   could   file   my stories!   I   learned   how   to   hook   my   laptop   up   to   a   car   battery.   Sometimes   it   was   tough   being   the   only   woman,   although   often   that   was an advantage, especially in very conservative Muslim areas. I could talk to the women, but the male reporters couldn’t.   JBN: Maybe you can share some stories?   Gwen   Florio:   The   bad   things:   On   the   street,   men   would   just   reach   out   and   grab   me.   I   hated   it.   And   once,   in   the   middle   of   the mountains   in Afghanistan,   our   convoy   stopped   so   that   people   could   pee.   I   crouched   behind   the   jeep   so   that   the   men   wouldn’t   see   me, but   then   I   realized   our Afghani   driver   was   lying   flat   on   his   stomach   at   the   front   of   the   jeep   so   he   could   watch   me!   But   the   kindness   of the women made up for it. They were tremendously patient with my questions, and it was a privilege to share their stories.   JBN: Why did you choose this genre?   Gwen   Florio:    I’ve   always   read   literary   fiction,   and   it’s   what   I   like   best.   My   first   novels   were   crime   fiction,   mainly   because   that’s   what got   published.   I   learned   a   lot   writing   those   novels,   and   have   benefited   tremendously   from   the   remarkably   supportive   crime   fiction community. But I wanted to take the lessons I learned writing those books and apply them to literary fiction: Silent Hearts is the result.   JBN: How to come up with a good book title?   Gwen   Florio:    Haha!   I   don’t   know.   I’ve   never   seen   one   of   my   titles   accepted.   The publisher   always   changes   it,   which   is   pretty   common.   It’s   my   goal   to   one   day   see a book published with my own title, but I’m not holding my breath.   JBN:  How do you find or make time to write?   Gwen   Florio:   You   have   to   make   time,   and   then   guard   that   time   very   jealously because   everything   –   and   in   my   case,   my   own   desire   to   do   fun   things   like   hiking or   spending   more   time   with   family   and   friends,   or   simply   take   a   nap,   rather   than write   –   works   against   it.   I   generally   write   in   the   morning   before   I   go   to   work,   and on   weekends.   I’ve   also   been   lucky   enough   to   receive   some   writing   residencies   at places   that   provide   you   a   place   to   work   and   stay   for   (in   my   case)   anywhere between   two   weeks   and   a   month. Those   have   been   really   helpful,   especially   when the time comes to complete a project.   JBN:      Do   you   write   more   by   logic   or   intuition,   or   some   combination   of   the two?   Gwen   Florio:   When   I’m   working   on   a   first   draft,   that’s   mostly   intuition.   But   when the   time   comes   for   rewriting   and   editing,   then   logic   must   rule.   I   have   to   turn   a   cold eye on the manuscript and kill anything that doesn’t work.   JBN: Can you please summarize your writing process?   Gwen   Florio:   I    don’t   really   outline,   other   than   in   the   most   cursory   way.   I   usually know   how   a   book   will   begin   and   end,   but   stumble   through   the   rest   of   it,   sure   most of   the   way   that   the   whole   thing   is   a   failure.   Then   I   go   back   and   rewrite   it,   which   is my   favorite   part.   I   go   over   it   several   more   times,   working   on   a   different   aspect   plot, character, description, and the overall writing – each time.   JBN: Who was your first reader?   Gwen   Florio:   I   don’t   remember   –   probably   my   parents.   Certainly   they   encouraged   us   to   read;   we   didn’t   have   a   television   when   I   was growing   up   because   my   parents   believed   reading   was   more   important.   As   an   adult,   I   began   to   write   seriously   as   a   member   of   the Rittenhouse Writers Group in Philadelphia, and the members of that group became hugely important to my becoming a writer.   JBN: Does writing energize or exhaust you?   Gwen   Florio:   Both!   So   much   of   it   is   terribly   discouraging   and   disheartening,   especially   when   I’m   floundering   around   in   the   middle   of the story. But every so often, I write something that really pleases me, and those days are magic.   JBN:  If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would be it? Gwen   Florio:   Start   sooner,   much   sooner.   I   spent   way   too   many   years   wishing   I   could   be   a   writer,   rather   than   actually   writing.   I   wish I’d   been   able   to   attend   an   MFA   program;   lacking   that,   I   wish   I’d   gotten   involved   with   writing   workshops   and   had   taken   advantage   of other resources much earlier.   JBN: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?   Gwen   Florio:   Very   interesting   question—in   an   odd   way,   yes.   Certainly,   a   part   of   it   feels   mystical.   Much   (nearly   all)   of   writing   is   just plain hard work. But when it goes well, it’s hard not to credit a special sort of grace.  
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They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Gwen Florio: the voice of Silent Hearts
Interview
It   would   be   difficult   to   find   an author   who   appeals   to   more diverse   audiences   than   Gwen Florio    (Missoula,    MT).    She has    won    several    journalism awards   and   been   nominated three    times    for    the    Pulitzer Prize.   Her   fiction   has   won   the inaugural   Pinckley   Prize   and the   High   Plains   Book   Award and    was    nominated    for    the Pushcart   Prize   for   her   Short Fiction.   She   is   a   member   of International    Thriller    Writers, Mystery    Writers    of    America, Sisters      in      Crime,      Rocky Mountain   Fiction   Writers,   and Women   Writing   the   West.   Her books      you      can      read      in English,       Italian,       Turkish, Chinese and soon in Check. Enjoy! Links: https://gwenflorio.net/ JBN:            What inspired   you   to write           Silent Hearts?   Gwen        Florio:   The   time   I   spent in       Afghanistan on   two   separate trips,      in      2001 and      in      2002. More              than anything,         the inspiration    came from   the   women I    met    there.    In the        face        of a     l     m     o     s     t         obstacles,      they were so strong.   JBN:   You    have reported      from conflict     zones: how     did     your career       as       a reporter start?   Gwen    Florio:     I started   as   an   English   and   literature   major,   with   zero   interest   in journalism,   but   my   father   suggested   I   take   a   journalism   course   so that    I    could    get    a    job.    With    my    first    story    in    the    student newspaper, I was hooked.   JBN: Where was your first trip?   Gwen   Florio:    My   first   reporting   trip   to   a   foreign   country   was   to the   Mexican   state   of   Chiapas,   where   a   group   of   revolutionaries known    as    the    Zapatistas    had    started    an    uprising    two    years earlier.   I   wrote   about   the   effects   of   that   action.   I   speak   some Spanish,    which    made    the    trip    much    easier    than    going    to    a completely strange environment.   JBN: What was the toughest part?   Gwen   Florio:   Often,   it’s   the   logistics,   especially   in   conflict   zones –   how   I   could   get   to   places   safely,   who   I   could   trust,   who   could help   me   get   access   to   the   people   I   needed   to   talk   to.   And   then, equally   important,   finding   a   place   with   electricity   so   that   I   could file   my   stories!   I   learned   how   to   hook   my   laptop   up   to   a   car battery.   Sometimes   it   was   tough   being   the   only   woman,   although often    that    was    an    advantage,    especially    in    very    conservative Muslim   areas.   I   could   talk   to   the   women,   but   the   male   reporters couldn’t.   JBN: Maybe you can share some stories?   Gwen   Florio:   The   bad   things:   On   the   street,   men   would   just reach   out   and   grab   me.   I   hated   it.   And   once,   in   the   middle   of   the mountains   in   Afghanistan,   our   convoy   stopped   so   that   people could   pee.   I   crouched   behind   the   jeep   so   that   the   men   wouldn’t see   me,   but   then   I   realized   our Afghani   driver   was   lying   flat   on   his stomach   at   the   front   of   the   jeep   so   he   could   watch   me!   But   the kindness   of   the   women   made   up   for   it.   They   were   tremendously patient   with   my   questions,   and   it   was   a   privilege   to   share   their stories.   JBN: Why did you choose this genre?   Gwen   Florio:    I’ve   always   read   literary   fiction,   and   it’s   what   I   like best.   My   first   novels   were   crime   fiction,   mainly   because   that’s what   got   published.   I   learned   a   lot   writing   those   novels,   and   have benefited    tremendously    from    the    remarkably    supportive    crime fiction   community.   But   I   wanted   to   take   the   lessons   I   learned writing    those    books    and    apply    them    to    literary    fiction:    Silent Hearts is the result.   JBN: How to come up with a good book title?   Gwen   Florio:    Haha!   I   don’t   know.   I’ve   never   seen   one   of   my   titles accepted.    The    publisher    always    changes    it,    which    is    pretty common.   It’s   my   goal   to   one   day   see   a   book   published   with   my own title, but I’m not holding my breath.   JBN:  How do you find or make time to write?   Gwen   Florio:   You   have   to   make   time,   and   then   guard   that   time very   jealously   because   everything   –   and   in   my   case,   my   own desire   to   do   fun   things   like   hiking   or   spending   more   time   with family   and   friends,   or   simply   take   a   nap,   rather   than   write   –   works against   it.   I   generally   write   in   the   morning   before   I   go   to   work,   and on    weekends.    I’ve    also    been    lucky    enough    to    receive    some writing   residencies   at   places   that   provide   you   a   place   to   work   and stay   for   (in   my   case)   anywhere   between   two   weeks   and   a   month. Those   have   been   really   helpful,   especially   when   the   time   comes to complete a project.   JBN:        Do    you    write    more    by    logic    or    intuition,    or    some combination of the two?   Gwen   Florio:   When   I’m   working   on   a   first   draft,   that’s   mostly intuition.   But   when   the   time   comes   for   rewriting   and   editing,   then logic   must   rule.   I   have   to   turn   a   cold   eye   on   the   manuscript   and kill anything that doesn’t work.   JBN: Can you please summarize your writing process?   Gwen   Florio:   I    don’t   really   outline,   other   than   in   the   most   cursory way.   I   usually   know   how   a   book   will   begin   and   end,   but   stumble through   the   rest   of   it,   sure   most   of   the   way   that   the   whole   thing   is a   failure. Then   I   go   back   and   rewrite   it,   which   is   my   favorite   part.   I go   over   it   several   more   times,   working   on   a   different   aspect   plot, character, description, and the overall writing – each time.   JBN: Who was your first reader?   Gwen   Florio:   I   don’t   remember   –   probably   my   parents.   Certainly they   encouraged   us   to   read;   we   didn’t   have   a   television   when   I was   growing   up   because   my   parents   believed   reading   was   more important. As   an   adult,   I   began   to   write   seriously   as   a   member   of the   Rittenhouse   Writers   Group   in   Philadelphia,   and   the   members of that group became hugely important to my becoming a writer.   JBN: Does writing energize or exhaust you?   Gwen   Florio:   Both!   So   much   of   it   is   terribly   discouraging   and disheartening,    especially    when    I’m    floundering    around    in    the middle   of   the   story.   But   every   so   often,   I   write   something   that really pleases me, and those days are magic.   JBN:      If   you   could   tell   your   younger   writing   self   anything, what would be it? Gwen   Florio:   Start   sooner,   much   sooner.   I   spent   way   too   many years   wishing   I   could   be   a   writer,   rather   than   actually   writing.   I wish   I’d   been   able   to   attend   an   MFA   program;   lacking   that,   I   wish I’d    gotten    involved    with    writing    workshops    and    had    taken advantage of other resources much earlier.   JBN: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?   Gwen    Florio:    Very    interesting    question—in    an    odd    way,    yes. Certainly,   a   part   of   it   feels   mystical.   Much   (nearly   all)   of   writing   is just   plain   hard   work.   But   when   it   goes   well,   it’s   hard   not   to   credit   a special sort of grace.  
Johnson’s Billings News
Template
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Gwen Florio: the voice of Silent Hearts