DIANA GRILLO grew up in a struggling, Italian immigrant family while living in a wealthy suburb in Westchester County, New York. The neighborhood’s substantial wealth and social status starkly contrasted with her family’s, making Diana feel as though she never quite belonged. She became a mother at a very young age and worked her way through college while raising a son and daughter.
After graduating with a B.S. from Mercy College, Diana worked as a paralegal and social worker. Now retired, Diana currently lives in Cave Creek, Arizona with her husband where she has taken up writing short stories.
The sharp socio-economic contrasts of her youth and her tenacious journey into adulthood have inspired much of her work. Clearly, her realistic grasp on the struggles of the family is worth celebrating. Diana is a member of the Arizona Authors’ Association. Her short story Mr. Anderson is featured in a Vinculinc Anthology, Boundless, Stories By Authors Destined To Soar. Diana’s radio interview can be found on speakuptalkradio.com under the author series.
To learn more, visit Diana’s website.
Biggest literary influencers:
Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson
Last book read:
No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The book that changed your life:
Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories. This book changed my life because I loved her short stories and she inspired me to become a short story writer. The characters are vivid and complex and there is always a moral issue tucked into each story.
Your favorite literary character:
Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis… can you imagine waking up as a bug?
Currently working on:
I’m currently working on more short stories to publish a second edition of my book.
Words to live by:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Keep writing, and believe in yourself.
“With generally spare, visual language, Diana Grillo’s stories depict simple, circumscribed lives which belie the complicated pain and anger that fester underneath. The characters and their environments depict the power struggles and shifts that occur over time in families; the feelings of entrapment; and the street wise survival skills that sometimes allow for freedom. What these people assume may not be correct but it derives from the abuse and anguish they have experienced; determines their world view; and affects their future behavior and choices, perhaps leading to a tolerance of abuse. The “tear” examined under a microscope aptly describes the totality of this very special collection.”
–Ginger E. Benlifer, Ph.D.
“Through a series of well-written vignettes, Ms. Grillo captures the feelings and fantasies of a girl growing up abused and neglected in suburban America. She introduces us to events and people that impacted the life of both the young girl and the adult woman. These include a brutal, cheap father who repeatedly beat her and denied her and her family necessities as well as pleasures; a neurotic mother who blabbed the girl’s personal business to virtually everyone she knew; a crooked first husband and a work-avoiding, spoiled-brat second one. This sadness was sometimes tempered by friendliness in others (a kind landlady, a polite gangster, several sensitive friends and colleagues), but that the brutality took a toll on her characters is undeniable. While written in both the first and third person (using different names), it is obvious to any reader that this journey was entirely personal, and it is a marvelous trip for the reader to take.”