NPR “Morning Edition” Editor Greg Myre is first to admit, with laughter, that writing a book with his wife, FNC’s Pentagon Correspondent Jennifer Griffin, wasn’t without conflict. Together they’ve written the newly released This Burning Land, which chronicles their years living in war zones covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The book was his idea. But she went along with it. So much so that the couple spent portions of her Friday chemo appointments to cure her breast cancer putting the tome together. He’s not entirely kidding about the conflict that arose. In the book you’ll see her writing in italics to offer his and her takes on what they witnessed.
The couple was busy last week promoting the book — on Monday evening there was a private event at the home of former U.S. Rep. to the U.N. Esther Coopersmith to honor Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). On Wednesday they did a public book signing at the The Middle East Institute.
The book officially released on March 27. The couple moved from Jerusalem to Washington in 2007. “It was almost four years ago when we started working on it and it has has been in progress ever since,” Myre said. “My wife had breast cancer. We had another kid. That slowed us down a little bit.”
We caught up with Myre for more details.
1. Who came up with the idea of writing it together? It was really my idea. We were in Jerusalem, that was our fifth foreign posting. We had been in Jerusalem over seven years. We were really into the Israeli-Palestinian story. In previous postings, we’d never been able to move both our jobs together. Jennifer got a very good offer to be the Fox News Pentagon correspondent and I resigned from my job at the NYT. I came here and had a bit of a break.
2. Was it difficult making the decision to leave NYT as a foreign correspondent and move to Washington? Yeah, yeah, obviously I was well aware of the situation in the newspaper industry. Every time we had moved, it was always hard for the person who had to quit, but something always worked out better. Yeah, I was reluctant, sure.
Fox News beat the NYT. [Laughter] We always knew these things would work out from past experience. I came here and began writing the book before I had a contract. Took a little longer than I anticipated. Quite frankly I wasn’t looking too hard when I first got here. We were living in my mother-in-law’s basement because we were renovating the house. I brought the kids to school everyday and picked them up.
3. When you were traveling and living in war zones, how much did you two work together on stories, share sources, information and so forth? Entirely. You’re husband and wife. You’re used to sharing everything. We couldn’t help but share. It was never a problem. It was totally beneficial to both of us. Jennifer might be down in the Gaza strip and I might be talking in the Palestinians or in Tel Aviv talking to the Israeli military. Obviously it was informal. Maybe in a couple instances, I had to say, ‘This story is going to be in the paper tomorrow morning so you can’t use it on Fox News tonight.’ That was very, very rare. Obviously we wouldn’t steal each other scoops.
Find out about the competition between them…