Saint Augustine, the Christian theologian and philosopher once said: “The world is a book. And those who do not travel read only a page.”
This sentiment echoes through the work of Jennifer Chapin who blends her love of the publishing industry with travel, philosophy, and a little magic.
By day, Chapin is a publishing consultant at TellWell whose main role is to inspire people to trust their work and take the leap of faith into self-publishing. By night, Chapin takes those leaps herself – travelling in her mind to ancient civilizations and fleshing out characters on paper.
Chapin has just published her second book, The Poet and The Angel, which is connected to her current role at TellWell in that, as she brings the poet’s voice back to life and onto the page, she encourages authors to do the same with their voices. The novella also resonates with her former career in the non-profit sector.
“I have long been committed to the areas of social and environmental justice, through my pen and through being outspoken on issues that are of concern to me. Federico Garcia Lorca’s [the ‘Poet’] character resonates with me completely. I understand his defense of the downtrodden and I share his commitment to speaking out against tyranny,” said Chapin.
An avid traveller and photographer, Chapin weaves her first-hand experiences into her prose to successfully transport the reader to a new place. But don’t flag this as a fluffy travel novel. Chapin uses her writing as a vehicle to discuss bigger issues: freedom, tyranny and the truth.
“We are facing a time when ‘false news’ predominates headlines, where the power of truth is being suppressed, and when writers are being silenced either through death or incarceration. Jamal Khashoggi, the writer murdered in Istanbul by the Saudi Regime and left in an unmarked grave, like Lorca, is one of the most recent.”
Chapin believes that a free society depends on the freedom of expression, and it is this higher purpose that she uses to motivate herself, and her authors. “I have always been committed to the absolute prerogative of writers to speak their truth, and I have been outspoken in their defense when they are attacked,” said Chapin.
Many writers choose to self-publishing process as a way to express themselves freely. By working with a self-publishing company like TellWell, authors are able to drive the entire creative process. They are also responsible for the sale, distribution, and marketing of their product.
Jennifer explains the benefits of this creative freedom both to potential clients at TellWell, and in her work.
The Poet and The Angel is about a story that breaches generations as the ‘angel’ is a girl of eight who lives in contemporary Spain. She is the only one who sees Lorca’s wounded spirit huddled in a square in the heart of Granada, and she befriends him. It is a relationship that heals them both.
But it is more than that.
Andalusia, where Lorca was raised, was once the seat of Arab rule from 711-1492. Al Andalus is brought back to life in this book. Cordoba, Spain, in the 900’s was an enlightened society in the areas of medicine, astronomy, mathematics, the arts and sciences at a time when Europe was emerging from the dark ages. It is said that the transfer of knowledge from Al-Andalus to the rest of Europe contributed significantly towards the flowering of the Renaissance.
Mosques stood next to synagogues and churches, as all three of the great religions co-created this world together. Scholars and nobility from Europe and Baghdad flocked to the feet of the great ones who resided there. It was the Inquisition that ultimately brought this world to an end.
“We currently live in an age of fractiousness, with one religion pitted against the other. Therefore, I bring this period to life to remind all of us that we have been presented with a model in history where cohesion existed.”
Chapin is employing all that she has learned from time at TelllWell to creatively market her book. She was recently interviewed on public radio in the larger context of incarcerated writers and poets and the need to protect free speech. In October this year, she plans to take the book to Paris and then to Granada, Spain, where Lorca was executed.
But Chapin will always travel home, and return to her office at TellWell, where she will share her new knowledge about the self-publishing process with authors who are ready to take that leap.
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