University News

Katz ’14 tells family tale in anthology

Contributing Writer
Monday, January 31, 2011

Many students aspire to be published in the future, but after only one semester at Brown, Jaclyn Katz ’14 already has her story in a book. Or at least she will when Andrea Buchanan’s anthology “Live and Let Love” — which includes Katz’s short story about her family tragedy — is released Feb. 1.

“My chapter of the book, entitled ‘Fragmented Pieces,’ is an autobiographical essay that centers on the loss of most of my immediate family and my journey to finding peace and stability in the aftermath with a new family,” Katz wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “The story is really about how I learned that families are not bound by blood, but by love.”

Originally, it was a story no one else was supposed to read.

“I’m a little apprehensive about people around me reading the story,” Katz said. “I don’t want people to treat me with pity.”

The story happened when Katz was eight years old, and Buchanan said it is the most intense story published in the book.

“At first, I wrote down my story as a way to express my emotions and sort of let things that were stirring inside me come out in a healthy way, as opposed to acting out or rebelling,” Katz said. “It was a good outlet for my emotions.”

This was when Katz was 15. Then Buchanan began working on “Live and Let Love,” and a friend said she knew a young girl with an amazing family story.

“At first, it didn’t seem like what I had could fit the book,” Katz said. But she spent the summer of 2010 working with Buchanan and her editors to make it fit.

“I had to part with some paragraphs that I think should be in the story. But I know this is not my book, this is an anthology, so I had to be cooperative. And I was, I think,” Katz said. “It was hard for me to see all of the red on my papers, but I know that this is what happens in the publishing industry, so I tried to just go with it and take their suggestions but keep things in that they cut because I knew they were vital.”

Now the story has a completely different structure. “I actually wrote this when I was 15, and because I had to go through an extensive editing process, the story is completely different,” Katz said. “I think my writing skills have improved since my sophomore year of high school.”

Katz was “incredibly professional and very quick,” Buchanan said. “She was the fastest writer I’ve ever worked with.”

And Buchanan thinks the story remains close to Katz’s original intentions.

When first approaching “Live and Let Love,” “my vision was that it was going to be love stories,” Buchanan said. “But it turns out that love comes in all shapes and sizes and forms.”

“The love story for her is recreating a family from a tragic loss,” Buchanan said.

“My family’s really supportive, and everyone’s really excited about the book,” Katz said. “It’s 10 years since the tragedy, so it’s sort of a milestone in a sense. The book is a good way to put what happened behind us.”

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