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English professor Laurie Frankel publishes first novel, “The Atlas of Love”

“Until you actually write a novel, you really don’t know if you can write a novel,” said Puget Sound professor Laurie Frankel, who published her first novel, titled “The Atlas of Love” on Aug. 17 of this year.

According to Frankel, the novel is a light, literary story about family and friendship. The plot follows three graduate students who are joined together to raise a baby, and details the challenges they face along the way.

An on-campus Coffee Conversation with Frankel was  held Thursday, Sep. 23 in the Trimble Forum where the author discussed her novel and her general writing process with those in attendance.

This weekend, Frankel will travel to Portland for a similar event. She also has plans to travel to San Francisco, Maryland and Pacific Lutheran University to further discuss her new novel.

Unlike most authors, Frankel only submitted her novel to one editor before publishing, re-writing and editing.

“I wrote the first chapter over twelve times to satisfy my editor,” she said. “It was difficult to raise the stakes without going into it too slowly. I would definitely say that the second half of the book is better than the first half.”

“The Atlas of Love” was completed over a duration of  five and a half summers.

“Seattle is just the best place in the world during the summertime. The weather is perfect, and it stays light out forever,”  said Frankel.

Because Frankel saves most of her writing for the summer break, she is always more than willing to begin working when the time comes.

“I feel so blessed that I don’t need any convincing to want to write. By June I am so excited about having this finite period of time to just focus on writing alone,” said Frankel.

Frankel is about one hundred pages into her current project, which she described as very different from “The Atlas of Love.” Without wanting to give too much away,  she did  mention that this novel deals with technology, death, and love.

“You should write about what you read, and vice versa,” said Frankel. Frankel’s favorite authors include David Mitchell, Chris Cleave, Barbara King and William Shakespeare.

“I mostly read fiction… actually I read all the fiction I can get my hands on, though I am also into reading theater,” said Frankel.

At the University of Puget Sound, Frankel teaches Introduction to English Studies as well as Ideas On Stage.

Whether in the summer months or year-round, Frankel always encourages her  students to “write  a  lot  and read always.”

“Atlas of Love” (St. Martin’s Press) is currently available for purchase at the campus bookstore.