HALLIE EPHRON: Cindy Wolfe Boynton's new weekly Literary New England Internet radio program came roaring out of the gate in December.
Already her Internet radio program has hosted literary lights like Nathaniel Philbrick, Chris Bohjalian and Jenna Blum, and upcoming guests include Anita Diamant, Elinor Lipman, and Hillary Jordan!
I’ll be on it, live this coming Monday, Jan. 16, talking about the fun and craft of suspense writing, as well as giving away copies of my latest, Come and Find Me.
The show broadcasts every Monday at 8 PM EST. It can be streamed from this site. Archived episodes are there, too.
Cindy, welcome to Jungle Red! Tell us about the show. How did it come about?
CINDY WOLFE BOYNTON: I love books. I love to travel. And I love New England. And I'd written a multimedia Literary New England travel app for iPhones, etc.
That turned out to be just The. Best Project. Ever. The app (which will be released within the next few months) includes destinations related to classic books and authors (like the Mark Twain House (photo on right) or where E.B. White wrote “Charlotte’s Web), and that inspired, contemporary books and authors (like The Perfect Storm’s Gloucester harbor or Wally Lamb’s Three Rivers).
Writing it gave me the chance to reach out to, and interview, some of my favorite authors, as well as countless book lovers like myself. I thought, “Boy, I’d love to do something more with this.” So, the Literary New England Radio Show was born. And I have a ball putting it together.
HALLIE: What is it about New England that makes it so rich in literary talent?
CINDY: Alison Hawthorne Deming, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great-granddaughter, answered that question perfectly on my Jan. 9 show. when she talked about New England’s history as a place where people practice “high thinking and plain living.”
Our nation started here. Stories have been lived and told here not just since the Mayflower landed in 1620, but for centuries before. There is a great, palpable sense of belonging that I believe draws and inspires people. That sense of place and history and life—lived in every imaginable circumstance and time—is a powerful thing.
HALLIE: What have you discovered so far about the pleasures and pitfalls of being an on-air, live interviewer?
CINDY: I’m a better writer than I am a talker, so that’s a challenge. My mouth often can’t keep up with my brain, so being cognizant of that—speaking slowly and clearly; not getting ahead of myself—can be a challenge. I mean, what literary lover wouldn’t get giddy talking with Chris Bohjalian, Jenna Blum or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great-granddaughter?
HALLIE: Tell us about the path you took to get to your own radio show?
CINDY: I’ve been a journalist pretty much all of my life. I got my first reporting job when I was 18, after walking into the newsroom of my town’s small, daily newspaper and telling the editor that not hiring me would be a huge mistake. What nerve I had! I think at that point, I had written two journalistic articles—both for my high school newspaper. But I woke up that morning sure I wanted to be a reporter, and that it didn’t matter no real training. I was smart. I was clever. I could figure it out.
HALLIE: I love it! Sheer chutzpah.
CINDY: Instead of throwing me out of the newsroom, the editor gave me a shot to prove myself—and I guess I did. Since then, I’ve freelanced for papers like The New York Times and the Boston Globe. I teach English and journalism. I also write poetry and am a playwright and solo performer.
In fact, I’m currently staging and performing the one-act, one-woman play I wrote last year about taking care of my mother with Parkinson’s disease, called Right Time to Say I Love You.
HALLIE: Wow! Where can we see you perform?
CINDY: I'm gearing up right now to perform it in the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Winter One-Act Competition at the end of this month! So if you’re near Manhattan, please come and vote for me!
HALLIE: Tell us about some of the guests you have lined up for future shows?
CINDY: Hillary Jordan will be live on the show Jan. 30 to talk about When She Woke, which is the January Literary New England Book Club book. Andres Dubus III—National Book Award finalist for House of Sand and Fog—will be on in February to talk about the paperback release of his memoir Townie, as will Alan Lightman to talk about his new novel “Mr g.”
The Feb. 13 episode will be dedicated to romance novels, including New England authors who write some of the more steamy ones, so that will be really fun.
HALLIE: What are you hoping Literary New England will look like a year from now?
CINDY: Right now, my focus is on the product—on creating the most interesting and dynamic show possible each week that showcases all aspects of literary New England. It’s tremendously exciting. There are so many possibilities -- being picked up by, and aired on, traditional
radio; doing regular, live broadcasts from bookstores and great literary sites; having the show be financially self-sufficient. Financial support is from donations made via our website.
HALLIE: Well, I'll be tuned in, that's for sure! Cindy will be checking in today to chat, so please chime in!