Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Please Welcome Indie Author, 

Sheryn MacMunn

Author bio:
Sheryn MacMunn self-published her debut novel, Finding Out, in April 2012. It became an Amazon best-seller in two months, hitting the Contemporary Women and Contemporary Fiction list. Finding Out then hit best-seller status in the Single Women, Friendship, Romance, and Love & Romance categories as well. In addition to being a self-published author, Sheryn works full-time in advertising. Sheryn attended University of Massachusetts, Lowell and received her MBA from Simmons College School of Management. She now lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit for more information.

Personal favs:
Drink Latte
Food Pizza
Vacation DisneyWorld
TV show – ’30 Rock’ (yes, even though it’s off the air)
Movie – The Godfather

Book title:
Finding Out: A Novel

Brief synopsis of your book:
Getting dumped on the sidewalk by her live-in boyfriend of seven years and realizing that he nearly emptied their savings account is the first of Sheila Davenport's problems. At thirty-six, Sheila had thought her life was on track. But life no longer makes sense. Now she's saddled with a mortgage that's about to skyrocket, a psychotic boss, and a new employee who is unqualified and hell-bent on messing with the company's rules.

Her friends advise her to date immediately, preferably someone rich and successful, or risk being old and alone. But Sheila needs to figure out what went wrong and how she got to this place. Since Prince Charming has ruined Sheila's life, who can save her now?

Help comes unexpectedly from her elderly neighbour, Ruth Grey, who has had her own share of ups and downs. As their friendship grows, Ruth reveals her deeply moving story of survival in WWII Germany. Ruth's mesmerizing past is a powerful tale of love and revenge that provides the perspective Sheila desperately needs to put the pieces of her own life back together.

Will Sheila succeed at work or walk away? Can she save her home? And why do her friends think they have it any better?

A story of love found and lost, true friendship, and how the human spirit endures.

Current book or project you’re working on:
I have four outlines for novels but so many people have contacted me begging to know more about Ruth that I decided to write a sequel. This will take place in the year after Finding Out ends and we’ll learn more about Ruth’s life after WWII and uncover the secret to some of the mysteries in Finding Out. So far, response from my inside circle has been very positive so I’m excited.

What was the inspiration for your novel?
I realized that there weren’t any books that spoke to a single woman in her 30s who had to deal with life on her own. Most of the chick lit genre focused on younger women on the cusp of figuring out their career and finding love. I wanted to write a story about women in the middle part of her career and the decisions she needs to make to compete in the workplace. Also, I loved Sex and the City but the way those characters dated wasn’t realistic. I didn’t know women who jumped from guy to guy in one week and the women that I know in their 30s aren’t on a quest for love as they were in their 20s. So I wanted a story about women who were experiencing love in a realistic way and getting help by relying on good friends. Finding Out came out of that premise.

Do you have a favourite character from your current novel?
Ruth is my favourite character because she is an amalgam of my two grandmothers and a good friend, also named Ruth who was much older than I. I created Ruth by using the best of all three of these ladies and some of the advice that Ruth gives to Sheila is advice that I received in my lifetime. Both of my grandmothers and Ruth have passed away so writing this character was a way to keep them alive and with me forever.

If you could pick any well-known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Great question. I would choose Margaret Mitchell. I would love to see what she thinks of the behaviour of the modern women. Since Scarlett was a schemer, she may actually like Crystal. I also wonder if she would see any of Melanie in Sheila, though Melanie was always in control. It would also be interesting to see how she reacts to the war scenes since she wrote about the Civil War and its repercussions so beautifully.

What, or who, inspired you to write?
My husband inspired me to write. I had always wanted to write a novel and when I told my husband (before we were married), he gave me a notebook and a pen and said “Start now.” Then after having children, I really wanted to teach my girls to be true to themselves and live their dreams. Once again, my husband nudged me to lead by example and live my dream, so I started writing again. He also helped by taking over the parenting, cooking and cleaning when I needed to write.


What genre does your book fall into?
Women’s Fiction and Historical Fiction

Which genres do you enjoy reading?
Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction.

What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
I’ve always been an avid reader. In Kindergarten, I remember checking out the same book from the school library for weeks on end. I enjoyed the comfort of really getting to know a story. The librarian finally told me that I had to pick another book. However, the first book that really affected me was a story about Helen Keller that my second grade teacher read to her class every year. Reading about Annie Sullivan’s determination to teach Helen was inspiring to me. Then when Helen was able to communicate, she didn’t let people keep her from doing what she wanted to do because she was different. She received an excellent education, travelled, and met the most interesting people of her time. She is definitely one of my idols. When my teacher retired years later, she gave that book to me. I still have it on my shelf.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Emily Giffin inspires me because she portrays women’s relationships in a true and honest light. She tackles issues that are sometimes hard to look at such as friendship and infidelity without turning it into a farce.
2) Margaret Mitchell because she wrote Gone With The Wind, my favourite book of all time.
3) Katie Jacobs because she writes about women who are dealing with difficulties head on. She also draws her readers into her stories so well that I sometimes felt as I was actually in the scenes. That’s not easy to do.

Have you ever had a book you enjoy re-reading?
Gone With The Wind. I read it every ten years. Because the story encompasses life, war and love, my attitude toward the story changes every time I read it. The love stories take on new meaning from when I read it at 14, 24, 34, and after being married. I used to think Scarlett was wonderful and Melanie was the fool. Now I see how wonderful Melanie is and how Scarlett is impetuous. Also, the effects on war take on meaning as I’ve grown and have children of my own.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Yes, but only a book that I know and love. While writing Finding Out, I continually re-read Comfort Food by Katie Jacobs. The way Katie weaves her characters together is seamless. I also enjoy the way Katie brings not only her characters to life but the way I feel as if I am in the actual setting. I guess you could say that Comfort Food was almost like a text book for me.

The process:

How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
Finding Out is my first novel so I guess I’d have to say it’s my favourite, too. 

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
I could write anytime, anywhere. I’ve written at home, Starbucks, on a bench outside my local library. I even typed scenes into my BlackBerry. The only reason that I don’t write more often is lack of time.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Finding time was always a challenge because I work full time and have children. But I carved out time whenever I could by creating a schedule for the weekends and writing on the train while I commuted back and forth from work.
2) Researching WWII to make sure that the details were correct. I went to lectures and heard survivors of WWII who had hidden in attics or had been sent to live with strangers so they could avoid being sent to concentration camps. Some never saw their families again. I also developed a timeline of events in Germany during the years 1938 – 1945 to make sure that I accurately represented what was happening to the Jews during that time. One example of a mistake that I avoided involved a scene where I had a man and his wife wearing the yellow Star of David in 1938. However, Jews in Germany weren’t required to wear the star until 1941.  I was able to correct that mistake and others in the book.
3) Cutting out parts of the story was the hardest. I had written scenes that I thought were wonderful but when I was editing the book, those scenes didn’t move the story forward. It’s a hard thing to leave something ‘behind’ but sometimes it has to be done so the novel doesn’t suffer.

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
Try to write every day. By writing every day, your writing will get better and the nuances of the book will come to light. When that happens the story can take its own twists and turns which is magical.

Do you have any tricks, outlines, or methods that help you overcome writer’s block?
The best trick that I had to overcome writer’s block was to just start writing on a new page and tear it up if the writing is bad. After a few crumpled pages are on the floor, I’ve usually warmed up and the words flow.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route.
The most important thing that I’ve learned in the self-publishing world is to take it day by day because promoting a book is a full time job. When Finding Out hit the bestseller lists shortly after publication, I didn’t have a plan to keep the momentum going. So I learned to reach out to other self-published author which has been a blessing. I also share what I’ve learned with other writers which is equally as important. The best tools for this are Facebook and Twitter but make sure you have a plan or else you’ll waste a lot of time.

How can people connect with you?


Where can readers find your book? 

Amazon Paperback


Barnes & Noble Paperback

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