Friday, October 2, 2015

Author Spotlight: Andrea Chapin



Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend a reading of The Tutor and have dinner with the author, Ms. Andrea Chapin. The Tutor is a work of historical fiction that explores the possibility of Shakespeare having a muse, a woman named Katherine de L'Isle, who helps him develop his writing. Chapin's story gives an account of what the Bard might have been up to during his "lost years."

It is always lovely to meet the writer behind the book, but it was even more exciting to meet a fellow Amherst College alum! (Side note: There's a novel with the same name as my college?) I love learning about creative writing jobs outside of academia, so I was very excited to speak with Andrea about her longtime work as a "book doctor." I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently, editors often tell writers to find one in order to polish up their manuscript. According to Andrea, her job is to take books apart and put them back together again. (Much like her character, Katherine!) Sounds like a lot of fun!

Andrea and a few of the other of the published writers sitting around the table spoke about their publishing experience; it's always interesting to learn about the process, so I kept a keen ear to the conversation. We always hear that publishing is a crazy world, but their stories made me understand just how crazy we're talking. Publishers taking on a book and then quitting the company, orphaning their eager writers. The constant fear of having the advance money taken away. Publishers leaving authors hanging for months without a word.  Of course, the rest of us unpublished writers listened with bated breath, hoping wishing praying to one day have the chance to experience these "book publishing problems."

Check out Andrea's new book, The Tutor!