Carolyn Chute was 38 when "The Beans of Egypt, Maine" was published in 1985, providing the author, who lived at poverty level, with commercial success with five hard cover printings in the first three months and almost 200,000 books sold in the first eight months.
Chute believes that writing is not writing skills but knowing how to see and tells new novelists to "tune in and notice all the details." Her own daily routine is strict; she writes 12 hours a day. Her stories are real and portray the life she has lived in rural Maine, often without electricity or an automatic flush toilet.
Chute calls herself a 'perfectionist'; she writes a first draft and assumes her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd drafts stink, never feeling as if it is perfect, even changing passages in her published copy of "The Beans of Egypt, Maine", for example.
Life changed for the Chutes and they were able to build their first home with the money Chute made on her first novel. She has now written seven novels and also appears in short story collections.