Chris Lynch, MA '91


Chris Lynch

Q.    What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the second of a four-book series for Scholastic. It is about four friends who grow up together and then all serve in the Vietnam War, one in each of the four services. If I were to give it a shorthand description, I would say it is Stand By Me meets The Deer Hunter. The first book is out next fall, and is titled I Pledge Allegiance.

Q.    Was there one person at Emerson who shifted the course of your career?

The Emerson experience that shifted the course of my career was the day I walked into [former WLP professor] Jack Gantos’s children’s writing class. I took the class in large part because it fit my schedule. But as soon as I got in, working with Jack and the students there I was transformed. I discovered the material that meant so much to me that I am still working on it today, and up until that moment I did not see it coming. This was in the final semester of my MA degree program, so I often think about how close I came to missing the boat entirely.

Q.    Are you professionally connected to other Emersonians? Could you share an example or two?

There is no instance of one fellow student aiding my career. I will, however, acknowledge the help of that entire children’s writing class. It was an incredible group: great readers, great listeners, generous spirits. I could not wait to get back to my desk every week and write more for these folks and that, combined with Jack’s deft hand at the wheel of this thing, changed everything in terms of progress that last semester and beyond.

I am still in contact with Jack, who has helped me immeasurably throughout my writing life. I also exchanged manuscripts with one of my Emerson peers, Matt Marinovich, MFA ’92, and once in awhile we get back in touch.

Q.    What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d like to give to prospective or current Emerson students about how to make the best use of what Emerson offers?

The advice I’d like to hand off to current Emersonians is, look around you; notice what you have got right there. Take advantage of what is probably the best population you will ever find in terms of fellow travelers. Get all you can from them, and give all you can to them, because you benefit both ways. And form your writing group (or whatever equivalent your discipline requires) as soon as you can and hold onto them.