Writing beginning in high school here at North, Lindsey J. Palmer ‘01 is publishing her third novel, Otherwise Engaged, a coming-of-age story about a recently engaged couple. She will visit Newtonville Books in Newton Centre for the book launch on February 26, 2019.
The launch will include a reading followed by a Q&A session. Palmer, who lives in Brooklyn, said that she decided to hold the launch in Newton because it is her hometown, and many of her friends and family members live in Newton.
For aspiring writers in high school, Palmer said that students should write about what interests them. “If you don’t find your writing compelling, you’re not going to have a motivation to keep writing. Your motivation should come from within.”
According to Palmer, classes at North shaped her childhood and career. “I had the privilege to take an AP Literature class in my senior year with a teacher named Thomas DePeter. He was an amazing teacher, and he gave all sorts of unusual and interesting reading assignments. His class exposed me to all types of literature.”
Former English teacher and lacrosse coach DePeter taught at North for 35 years. He passed away in 2009. North and South compete in an annual lacrosse game, the DePeter Cup, named in his memory.
Palmer said that the process of writing a novel can be daunting and requires motivation. “You need to go into a book with a drive, or you’ll lose interest in the story and stop writing.”
Nonetheless, she said that she really likes writing. “It’s really fun, and it’s great to explore a concept through the sheen of fiction. I really like reporting the truth, and there’s so much creativity and freedom that comes with being a writer.”
According to Palmer, there are methods to make the writing process less stressful. “It doesn’t get easier. Many-a-time, it’s just you and the blank page, but part of the process is just knowing when to step away. When you’re not happy with how things are coming together, or if you don’t know how to do something, step away from the writing.” She added that trying something different helps, too. “Whenever I’m stuck, I try something new. Often, that’s what ends up working.”
Palmer’s interest in writing continued throughout her college education at UPenn and her early career. “I also had somewhat of an interest in journalism,” she said. Palmer carried that interest into college as an English major, senior editor for the newspaper at UPenn, and intern at several magazine publications. During these early ventures, she said that she affirmed her passion for writing.
After she graduated, Palmer worked as a magazine publisher before she taught English at a public school in Manhattan. Palmer said that her teaching experience taught her to stick with the writing process. “Watching students work hard on their college essays was inspiring. We were together in our struggles, and their enthusiasm for writing really prompted me to write more.”
Palmer said that she has grown to appreciate and enjoy writing throughout her experiences.“It gives you a sense of self. My writing comes from looking back at my experiences, and the process of doing so is great because I get to look at things differently.”