Sparring with Rembrandt
by Monroe Katz
Some years back, I walked into a Napa Valley College classroom to take a class in creative writing given by Paul Chutkow. I knew I wanted to write, but I was not sure exactly what I wanted to write about and I certainly didn’t know if I had anything to say that would matter to a reader.
Right away, though, Paul recognized a talent for writing in me, and he took me under his wing and guided me through the process of writing fiction. Paul edited every single word I wrote, he made suggestions and corrections, and all the while I felt the presence of a man with a big heart who gave freely of his time and experience. Paul was my severest critic -- he does not suffer fools gladly -- but he was also my biggest fan, always in my corner, always ready to inspire and encourage me. Now when I see “Birgitte's War” on bookshelves, and when I talk about the book in schools, in libraries and civic groups, I always say a silent “thank you” to Paul.
-- Elsebeth Schoenberger, author “Birgitte's War.” Published by Silverado Books.
My first novel, “Sparring with Rembrandt,” was the first book published by Silverado Books, under the direction of Paul Chutkow. Prior to publication, the story was subjected to rigorous pruning to make it blossom. After several rewrites, akin to the aging process of wine, the book was sent to a prominent editor in New York for fine tuning and to ensure uniformity of style without tampering with the voice. Formatting, cover photography and printing were also done to perfection by professionals who care. I will use Silverado Books for my next novel.
-- Dr. Monroe Katz, author of “Sparring With Rembrandt.” Published by Silverado Books.
I can think of no better teacher or coach on any writing or book publishing project than Paul Chutkow.
I started with an idea and, with Paul's active input at every step, published “Spirit in Metal” 14 months later. Paul pushed me, stretched me, encouraged me, and inspired me in a process that was incredibly challenging and rewarding. Then we did it again with "Appellation Napa Valley."
-- Richard Mendelson, author and preeminent wine lawyer. Both of those books were published by Val de Grace Books, Napa, California. For more information, see: www.valdegracebooks.com.
Paul Chutkow, the founder of Silverado Books, is an author and journalist who has taught writing at the American College of Paris, the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and Napa College. His many books include Robert Mondavi’s best-selling memoir “Harvests of Joy,” the acclaimed biography of the legendary French actor Gerard Depardieu, “Visa, The Power of an Idea,” and his recent dog story and personal memoir, “Zelda, The Queen of Paris.” For more information, please visit his website: www.paulchutkow.com. Email him at:
Paul Chutkow is the most dedicated and skilled teacher I’ve ever had the good fortune to learn from. Without his tireless support, “Our Political Nature” -- and my dream of publishing this book -- would never have found its way to success.
It was almost always easy to understand Paul’s advice because it simply resonated with my own intuition. It was obvious that his suggestions reflected his rich experience as an international journalist, author, and commentator on politics, business and culture. He knows what works, and what doesn’t, both in writing and in the strange world of publishing.
Perhaps more than anything, Paul is a master storyteller, with a remarkable ability to hook readers from the first sentence and keep their attention as he guides them through a journey. He is a natural teacher of the principles that create truly excellent writing.
-- Avi Tuschman, author of “Our Political Nature.” Published by Prometheus Books.
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The Art of Writing, The Joy of Reading