BIW Member Interview
Greta Browne, mother of three and grandmother of three, lives in Bethlehem, PA, with her husband and two cats. She is a therapist, a chaplain, a peace and justice activist, and a writer in a line of writing women. She lived in China and Brazil as a child and in Niger as well as the United States as an adult.
Moe When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Greta Browne: As a young teenager I thought of myself as a writer, and secretly named myself Inky because of the smudges from the fountain pen that I loved to use. Living in the boondocks of Brazil as the daughter of missionaries, I avidly consumed books that came in boxes and barrels from the churches that supported missionary families. Lorna Doone, Girl of the Limberlost, The Book of Knowledge A – Z, these helped create my mental universe, and somehow I was aware of the authors that nurtured my imagination. Wasn’t writing the noblest of occupations!
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
Greta Browne: One of the first things I learned about writing was that for me real life trumps writing, as long as life is engaging and rewarding. A second learning was that wonderful things happen when I make myself spend the time it takes to write an idea or story all the way to the end. I learn so much; my imagination leaps to new places; I understand myself better. My third lesson would have to be that I’m not as great a writer as I thought when I was 14, but I don’t have to be great to make it worthwhile, and I can work at honing my skills and developing my art.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Greta Browne: I am working on my life record as a basis for memoirs I hope to write, and on a novel that allows me to travel with my characters on their futuristic sailboat, between the U.S. and my beloved Brazil, without increasing my carbon footprint.
Moe: What is your favorite writing related book?
Greta Browne: I love to read about writers and am often inspired by their stories and lives. For a couple of years, long ago, I read from The Letters of Virginia Woolf. I learned about her loneliness as well as the importance of the friendships she was able to maintain.
Moe: What is your favorite writing website?
Greta Browne: Other than BIW, I don’t use the internet much for my writing tips. I suppose I could access writing magazines online instead of reading them at the library.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip to pass along?
Greta Browne: I found that at first I was shy about sending in comments and sharing my observations with the listserv, especially when no one acknowledged them. But I persevered and now I feel entitled to welcome people, congratulate them, and tell them (briefly) what’s going on in my writing life.