Jessica Vieira | Opinion Editor
Eastern Connecticut State University’s Book Club read Catastrophe Theory by Rebecca Lowry Warchut as their first book this semester and rated it a four out of five stars! The novel is about a mother and daughter who need to travel to a hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida for cancer treatment – A location shared by a hurricane zone and a museum dedicated to Salvador Dalí. There, they meet face to face with their past, future, and a category five hurricane. The read was exceptional, with clever wit and relatable charm throughout the book. The plot is chock full of twists and turns, with chapters that fly by and keep you on the edge of your seat. All this leading to a satisfying, feel-good ending.
On Thursday, March 2nd, 2023, Rebecca Lowry Warchut visited Eastern to talk to the University’s Book Club and student body about her book. Warchut is a local author who lives and writes in West Hartford, and teaches writing and social studies in Simsbury, Connecticut. She’d wanted to write her whole life but did not start her novel until she was in her 30s. Writing Catastrophe Theory took two years and was published in 2022. She said that she writes in “the pockets of the day” before her kids wake up, and when they go to sleep.
Right upon walking into the auditorium for the event, Warchut was open and welcoming, and made an effort to converse with individuals in the audience as they entered. She was very passionate and outgoing, and a huge fan of Salvador Dalí. The event began with a presentation that Warchut put together. It started with background on the life and art of Dalí, which connects characters to each other both in the past and the present within her novel. She's a very cool person, and engaged with the audience through the whole event. It was a very comfortable atmosphere that she created and she's so relatable. She is very humble about her achievements and just by listening to her speak about her work you can tell that she's so grateful and passionate about this book and her work.
Warchut explained that every setting in her book is based on someplace real. She said that one of her favorite things to do is find places that don't seem real, like the Dalí museum she wrote about, which is the only place in St. Petersburg, Florida built to withstand category 5 hurricanes. The otherworldly banyan trees featured in the book are also real and very popular tourist attractions. Warchut said that she loves to write about those places in her books because they feel so whimsical and fake, but you can find them in real life. These little details give her novel a unique quality that you don’t find very often in stories.
After the presentation, Warchut spoke about what motivates her. She advocates for just going out and starting your goal, and affirming to yourself that you can. She’s a big believer in mantras and says that a big contributor to her motivation and success was repeating affirmations to herself like "I am a New York Times Bestselling Author." Many motivational quotes you find say that it's never too late to start working towards your goals, and while that is true for Warchut in that she is a successful author who started writing later in her life, in her presentation, she preached that it's never too early. She said that though she's grateful for her success, she regrets not starting earlier, and told the audience that there's no better time to start than now.
Now, she’s working on another separate novel, and thinking about expanding the Catastrophe theory story with a prequel and a sequel. Catastrophe Theory is available in paperback and eBook. To learn more, you can follow Rebecca on TikTok or Instagram @rebeccalowrywarchut or go to www.rebeccalowrywarchut.com.