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First Chapters: Counterfeit (with Special Guests, Bestselling Author Kirstin Chen and Executive Editor Jessica Williams

Abigail sits down for a first chapter analysis of the bestselling and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, COUNTERFEIT. She takes a deep dive into the first chapter analysis—and she enthusiastically welcomes the author and editor of the book to join her in this dissection and discussion. 

KIRSTIN CHEN is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels. Counterfeit, her latest and the book discussed in this episode, has sold the translation rights in seven languages and television rights have been optioned by Sony Pictures. Kirstin holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. 

JESSICA WILLIAMS is an editor at William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. She edits a range of fiction and nonfiction projects and is most interested in upmarket/literary fiction and narrative nonfiction/memoir with cultural underpinnings. Jessica completed a master’s in comparative literature at Georgetown University and worked at a literary and scouting agency in New York.

Together, these women discuss how COUNTERFEIT’s first pages set up expectations for the story’s big picture. They use the seven key questions to ask about a first chapter in order to determine its strengths. (These questions are pulled from Paula Munier’s book, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS.)

Afterwards, Abigail, Kirstin, and Jessica discuss how the first chapter, (seen as one scene) works on a scene (or small picture) level. 

Full of wisdom, this episode includes additional discussion on invaluable writing and editing advice, like:

  • Why to connect theme and plot twists in a story 
  • How to use your POV to create tension in the narrative and plot 
  • Why you shouldn’t get down on yourself if your manuscript needs multiple drafts

Plus, more!  


Follow Us:

Abigail Perry: [email protected] | Twitter and IG: @abigailkperry 

Kirstin Chen: | Twitter: @kirstin_chen | IG: kirstin.chen

Jessica Williams: @JWillsNYC


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