Interview with Sheryn MacMunn

Why did you write Finding Out?
There weren’t many books that spoke to women over the age of thirty about dealing with real life. Most of the books focus on younger women who are just figuring out the balance between relationships and career or older women who leave everything behind when a relationship ends which - although a fun read - isn't realistic. My friends and I want to read stories about women at that middle point in life when major decisions need to be made about relationships, careers, and the competition that exists. Also, we loved Sex and the City but we were beyond the storyline of women jumping from guy to guy. I decided to write a story about women who were experiencing life in a more realistic way and getting real help from friends. Finding Out came out of that premise.
How would you describe your book?
My books are for women who have lived full lives and understand the power of friendship. Although love is a main topic in my book, my character’s lives are not dictated by it. The women have full lives and learn to take care of themselves by dealing with very difficult circumstances with dignity and self-respect.
How did you come up with your characters?
Ruth is the person that people seem to love. It makes sense. Ruth is Sheila's savior with common sense advice and, let's face it, she always has food! So I wanted to share how this wonderful character found her way into the story.

While I was writing Finding Out, I was stuck on a certain storyline. Sheila needed to figure out her love life, and I wanted her to go on a date. But when I wrote the scene, it wouldn’t work. It was as if Sheila was rebelling because she didn’t want to be on the date. It was very frustrating. So I went to a two-day writer’s workshop at my local library and asked the fellow writers what to do. That's when someone suggested using someone else's romance to teach Sheila about love. I instantly had a breakthrough.

In my life, I had three strong female role models (in addition to my mother) who gave me advice about life. My Nana, Virginia; my Grammy, Rose; and my good friend, Ruth with whom I worked for years. Each of these women lived through the depression and WWII so whenever I had a problem, they always seemed to have the most perfect advice, especially about relationships.

By the time I was writing Finding Out, each of these amazing women had passed away, and I missed each of them terribly. I can truly say that I think of them every day. I was lucky to have spent hours talking with each of them over many meals, on the phone, and in letters. As a result, they live in my heart.

So, I decided to combine the best of each woman to create the 'fairy godmother' for Sheila.

From Virginia (who has a character named after her), I chose her sense of style and dressmaking. In our family, the dresses were always handmade and received many compliments. Virginia was also an amazing cook. Every Sunday we went to her house, or another family member's, for homemade Italian cooking. The character, Senita Scalese, is also a good cook and is named after my great-grandmother.

From Ruth, I chose to create the storyline about WWII. Ruth was held in Germany during the war. For her, the stories that she told were like many others so she didn't dwell on it. I did a lot of research for the WWII segment of the story, including contacting some survivors of the war who were hidden as children. I also included Ruth's relationship advice about dating and marriage.

From Rose, I took some of her greatest quotes of all time, such as "Your education has been neglected." I heard that phrase when I didn't know a piece of history or the different patterns on Spode china. The red couch in the story (and the image on the book cover) also represents my Grammy because she had a red velvet couch in her home. The last time I was with her, I looked at that couch as I walked out the door and thought of all the memories that couch held. I didn't know that would be the last I would see my grandmother alive.

All three women also had careers that were fulfilling and gave them great pride. Each was married for many decades and put their families first, which gave me the basis to be the person I am today.

They were truly from the 'greatest generation,' and I am so thankful for their wisdom. I’m also grateful that I reached out to other writers for advice and took their suggestions. Writing a novel is like taking a trip to a foreign land. You need to have a plan but sometimes, if you go off the beaten path, you can uncover something wonderful and unexpected.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love historical fiction and women’s literature. I'm now reading ALL THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS by Adriana Trigiani which is hard to put down. I would have to say THE PARIS WIFE by Paula Mclain was one of my most recent favorite reads as well as ME AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPhone is my eReader of choice because I can download novels to my Kindle App as well as iBooks. Plus, it's always with me so I don't have to weigh down my tote with books because my computer and heels are heavy enough.
Published 2016-07-02.
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Books by This Author

Finding Out
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 83,670. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner - Fiction - Historical - Event/Era Category Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Book Awards Honorable Mention Genre Fiction Amazon’s #1 Literary Fiction Best Seller, #2 Women's Historical Fiction Best Seller, #1 Women’s Fiction Friendship Best Seller, and #1 Single Women Categories Best Seller