Scenes from Author Night

Friends of CPFA/Artplace held its annual author event in Cheshire, CT to benefit Art Heals. Each year an author comes to speak about their book and writing craft. It’s a wonderful opportunity to listen to the author speak and read from their novel. Attendees also get to ask questions and have a chance to meet the author.


This year’s author, Emily Arsenault, is a New York Times Notable author who grew up in Cheshire. She is the author of several novels. Her most recent is The Evening Spider. Emily’s others books include, What Strange Creatures, Miss Me When I’m Gone, In Search of the Rose Notes, and The Broken Teaglass.


This particular evening, Arsenault discussed why she started writing. She said, “I started writing because there was nothing good on tv that night.”  At the age of 10, she was desperately bored and didn’t have a good book to read. So, she thought she would start a story. With the encouragement of her teacher, she continued to write and fell in love with it.

Her latest novel, The Evening Spider, is part historical fiction, suspense, and super natural. Each of the women narrators are new mothers who happened to live in the same house 100 years apart. The story starts out with an experience that Emily herself had while living in her current home as a new mom. It unsettled her and it also become the launching point for her novel.

The book explores societal truths about motherhood in the 19th century and today. In talking about motherhood, Arsenault said, “early parenthood changes your wiring both positively and negatively. The early months of parenthood really messes with your brain. Writing about it made me feel better.”

A common theme weaves its way through all of her books. She wants us to know that we need to come to the truth about our past. “We learn to live with our ghosts,” said Arsenault.


The goal of this fundraiser is to support Art Heals. It’s a free community outreach program for any Cheshire adult resident experiencing medical, emotional difficulty, or physical difficulties. The art teachers visit in the client’s home for 4 to 6 art lessons. Each visit includes all of the art supplies and lasts about an hour and a half. When the project is complete, it is also framed at no charge by area framers. The clients can choose from the following mediums: acrylic, collage, pencil, watercolor, colored pencil, mask making, multimedia, oil painting, and pen and ink.

“In our experience at Artsplace, we have found that art can have a healing impact on the spirit. If one is diagnosed with a debilitating illness or injury leaving them home-bound…being creative can give new enthusiasm for life.” Joan Pilacarczk, Director of Art Classes at Artsplace.


Some of Cheshire’s past authors have been Katharine Weber, Suzanne Strempek Shea, Chris Bohjalian, Elinor Lipman, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Stewart O’Nan, Amy Bloom, Brunonia Barry, Lisa Genova, Laura Harrington, Carol Wallace, Suzanne Palmieri, and Courtney Febbroriello.

Looking forward to next year’s author event! Can’t wait to see who it will be!


For more information on Friends of Artsplace, visit their website at

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