Monday, June 9, 2014

Author Interview: Lynn Steward

Vonnie's Reading Corner would like to welcome debut novelist Lynn Steward. She's the author of A Very Good Life

Lynn Steward, author

      Welcome to Vonnie’s Reading Corner.  In one sentence, tells us what your book is about.
Against a 1970s New York City backdrop in the exciting worlds of art, fashion, and business, Dana McGarry, faced with swift and unwanted changes to her privileged lifestyle, is about to learn that the art of seduction will affect both her career and her marriage. 

      Why did you decide to set your book in the 1970s?
It is a period I know very well, and, as a native of Long Island, spending twenty-two years in Manhattan, I have an intimate knowledge of the location and the protagonist’s work in the fashion industry.

       What three words would describe your main character, Dana McGarry?

Determined, underestimated, sincere
       What’s your favorite line(s) from A Very Good Life?
“He was afraid that he was already being marked for preservation. Brett McGarry: husband, partner, landmark.”
“To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Polonious, you sometimes have to get your hands a little dirty to set things straight.”
“Dana’s window? More like her snow globe, Janice thought. She pictured Dana standing in a tiny glass-enclosed world, snow gently failing around her. Her world could be shaken but never broken. She was far too insulated.” 

      Are any of the characters in your book based on actual people in your life?
Only Dana’s parents, all the other characters are fictional.
      Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
I hope younger readers will enjoy learning about people and events of the period, and my contemporaries, who remember when, will hopefully bring their own memories to the story. While writing A Very Good Life, and developing the other four books in the series, I did not have a message in mind. My thoughts were focused on Dana’s story, and the many ways a life can unravel. Each reader, through the prism of their own experiences, will evaluate her choices.

      You are a very successful business woman. What inspired you to become an author?
I always enjoyed business writing and, approximately three years ago, I started developing a TV series about a young married career women in New York in the seventies. That led to creative writing and endless storytelling.

      What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Plot development and giving Dana, the protagonist, more drama and interest.  Dana’s  soft demeanor hid her fortitude and I didn’t want her to be seen as a victim.

      How do you balance your heavy work schedule?
My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., or earlier, if possible, when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. I won’t even peek at emails, I don’t want anything to distract me for at least three hours. in the afternoon or evening,  I research,  or work on marketing and promotion, another responsibility of the indie author!

Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about you and/or your book?
If you enjoyed meeting Dana McGarry in A Very Good Life, here is a peek at what’s ahead for her in  Volume Two! “April Snow.” We meet Dana in London on holiday. While shopping at Jaeger’s on Bond Street, she is inspired to create a similar women’s classic clothing boutique at B. Altman, but, once again, Helen, the junior buyer, is an impediment. Back in New York, she finds a new love interest, Mark, who introduces her to Irwin Berger, a menswear manufacturer. After Dana learns that Brooks Brothers is opening a ladies department with fashions made in the cutting rooms of menswear manufacturers, she convinces Irwin to work with her to design a private label collection of tailored clothing, using menswear fabrics, to present to senior management at B. Altman. When Mark’s daughter suffers a serious horseback riding accident, she is faced with a new heartache, and, the always resilient Dana, concentrates on her work. Dana meets a mysterious woman, Abby, in London, and she invites her to speak at a luncheon program at the Colony Club, but Abby doesn’t show. The book ends with Dana receiving a letter from Abby’s husband, and this correspondence sets the stage for Volume Three.

Thank you for answering my questions!

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an "it" girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

One Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.