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Matthew Schipani starts his professional career as a child protective social worker in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. He follows his dream to become a lawyer, and through skill and dedication, he ends up becoming the first openly gay attorney general of Massachusetts. Although Schipani’s story is one of pure fiction, real-life attorney Scott Chapman has drawn on some of his own experiences in writing his first novel — “Leaves of Red and Gold.” An openly gay attorney who works for the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, Chapman writes an interesting, humorous and suspenseful account of Schipani’s professional life, as well as his successes and failures in his personal quest for love. The climax of the book comes as Schipani is being stalked by a person from his past that wants to harm him. Although Chapman doesn’t conduct his first book signing for “Leaves of Red and Gold” until Nov. 21 — at Edwards in Springfield, Mass. — several readers have already rated it a five-star novel. “A superb lawyer and love story … I couldn’t put it down!” a female lawyer from Western Massachusetts wrote on the Barnes & Noble review Web site. “I was mesmerized by the main character and had to find out what happened to him! I recommend you go out and get this right away!” Other reviews include a man from Cambridge, Mass., who wrote: “I enjoyed this book a lot … you really end up caring about the main character and what happens to him! It is great to see a gay character who is ‘normal’, professional and loving….when is the movie coming out!?!” A man from Boston called Chapman’s book “a great gay legal thriller.” “It is great to see a gay character with character,” the man wrote. “I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to not only gay but straight people interested in an interesting and exciting story!” A graduate of Western New England College School of Law, Chapman has been an attorney in the state since 1994, when he started out practicing in Cambridge, later accepting a job with DSS. Working in the area of juvenile justice has always been of interest of Chapman, who is also the father of a 7-year-old son with his long-time partner. “These cases don’t always work out the way you want,” Chapman said of working for DSS. “But 99 percent of the people who work here care about children. They want to make sure the children are safe. It is very important work because the children are the future for all of us.”

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