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Nothing But Love for You

Jul 31, 2009
by Shannon McGregor, '05

Alumna Diana Briggs working with author on book about love

Shared interests and a chance contact with award-winning author John Bowe have led Diana Briggs, ‘07, down a promising editorial career path with a job working on his upcoming book.

“If someone had told me two months ago that I’d be in Hayes, Kan., I would not have believed them,” she said.

Small-town Kansas is exactly where Diana Briggs found herself this past spring. She spent most of February and March passing through towns in the American West, stopping in each long enough to gather love stories. That’s right, she’s talking to people about love.

Briggs was recruited by Bowe to interview people for his upcoming book, “Mine: Americans Talk About Love.” The book is due out in time for Valentine’s Day 2010.

Bowe is the co-editor of “Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs” and author of “Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy.” It might seem like a leap from slave labor to love, but it was Bowe’s book on that subject that brought him and Briggs together.

After seeing his appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Briggs Googled Bowe and found an interview with him. She e-mailed the interviewer, and a few days later, received an e-mail from Bowe himself. He became a mentor for Briggs, who at the time was working with the Ritz Carlton in an effort to get fair-trade products into the hotel.

“I got a hold of him to see what he was into,” Briggs recalled. “He wanted me to help him with this book he was starting.”

She flew to New York to meet up with Bowe, who promised to make it worth her time if she stuck with him. Next thing she knew, Briggs was on a plane to Colorado, set to return a month or so later. After the Rocky Mountain state, she followed roads to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

In each town she’d hit up coffee shops, post fliers about the book with her phone number, and wait.

“For the most part it’s a feeling,” Briggs said. “I’d strike up a conversation with someone, tell them what I’m doing, and it turns into the best interview — conversation, really.”

When she ran into trouble in Kansas, where no one seemed to be biting on the love-story line, she just walked into a thrift store and shouted, “Does anyone have any love stories?”

“When you’re yourself with someone, they’ll do anything for you,” Briggs said. “I still talk to a lot of people that I’ve interviewed. I can’t tear myself away to find out what’s happening next in their love lives.”

After a few short weeks at home in Venice, Fla., she was back out on the road again to New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee in a search for more love stories.

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