Peace Corps Writers
Talking with . . .
Jason Boog

Jason Boog . . .

An interview by John Coyne

JASON BOOG (Guatemala 2000–02) joined the Peace Corps after graduating from college. Following his tour, he went to graduate schoolPrinter friendly version and now lives in New York City where he has contributed book reviews and essays to our site. In 2006 he won the Peace Corps Writers Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award for his essay, “The Rainy Season in Guatemala.” Besides writing for us, and working full time, he has a wonderful blog for writers that we wanted you to know about, so we interviewed Jason recently about his writing and his unique and valuable blog.

Jason, some background. Where are you from in the States?

I’m from Ionia, Michigan, a little town 30-miles outside of Lansing. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in literature.

What got you into the Peace Corps?
Well, I joined Peace Corps as a poor college graduate. I knew plenty of things about literary theory and great writers, but I didn’t really know anything about how the real world worked. I wanted to help people, learn Spanish, and travel, but I had no idea what I was getting into. I joined up, and those two years broke me out of my comfortable, limited bubble. I went in dreaming about being a literature professor, I came out wanting to be a traveling journalist.
What did you do as a Volunteer?
I worked in a pilot program (sadly now suspended) called Rural Youth at Risk. I lived in the dusty eastern side of Guatemala, working in a mountain village called Miramundo to build economic opportunities for teenagers. We created a small bakery and flower nursery business, hosted community talent shows, and worked to bring a high school to the village. Until very recently, school ended at sixth grade for most of my kids.
And then you came back to do graduate work?
Right. I studied magazine writing at New York University’s graduate journalism school.
Have you published much?
So far not much. I’ve been published in magazines and newspapers. I have a few favorite places where I’ve published before: I wrote about Latino immigrants for Newsday, analyzed radio dramas for The Believer in a piece called “Skinning the Americans” and wrote about my Peace Corps experience for Abroad View Magazine. And, of course, I have published on your site, Peace Corps Writers
     Oh, also I just finished my first novel, a faux-memoir about a journalist named “Jason Boog” who uncovers a vast conspiracy behind the toy soldier industry — a strange adventure story that ends in Guatemala. I’m just beginning the tricky search for agents and publishers now.
What about your blog? Tell us about that.
It is called The Publishing Spot. I help fledgling writers find the resources they need to work in a writing world being turned upside-down by the shift from paper to web publications. I conduct practical interviews with professional authors about how they use the Internet to build community, find readers, and survive in this tough new economy for writers.
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