Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. April Snow is volume two in the Dana McGarry Series. Volume one, A Very Good Life, was published in March 2014.
Q: Please tell us about April Snow, and what inspired you to write it.
A: April Snow is the second novel in a five book series featuring Dana McGarry. A Very Good Life, my debut novel and book one, was published in March 2014.
In April Snow, Dana McGarry, separated from her cheating husband, is laser-focused on her new job as a buyer at a leading New York City department store of the 1970s, B. Altman. But in order to achieve success, she must free herself from more than a bad marriage. She is smothered by overly-protective family and friends and becomes discouraged when the Old Guard at the store rejects her brainchild: The English Shop, a boutique that will set B. Altman apart from mainstream retailing. No stranger to innovation and risk, Dana is determined to stand her ground. She finds both mentor and love interest in the dynamic Mark Tepper, a businessman from the Upper West Side who suggests a bold fashion move to make The English Shop a reality. Her exciting new world is shattered in a New York minute, however, when a life is threatened, a heart is broken, and a secret is revealed. Although set in the 1970s, Dana McGarry’s personal story and determination to make her mark as an independent woman transcends any period.
My inspiration: I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project. But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York and the fashion industry in the 1970s because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working in the fashion world, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! The plots intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry, needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the series into a novels.
Q: What themes do you explore in April Snow?
A: Quest for identity and self-reliance.
Q: Why do you write?
A: After two careers in competitive, fast-paced industries, I have found writing to be the most relaxing and pleasant work I have known. Ideas for stories develop as I research real life female characters in the worlds of fashion, art, and business and events in the archives of newspapers and magazines. Once a flicker of a story is sparked, I can spend endless enjoyable hours developing plots and characters on the page.
Q: How picky are you with language?
A: I don’t allow myself to stress over grammar or language, although I frequently reference The Chicago Manual of Style and try to get it right. I have an excellent editor and proofreader.
Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
A: Pleasantly so!
Q: What is your worst time as a writer?
A: When I see “rewrite” in the subject of my editor’s email.
Q: Your best?
A: When the reviewer wants to see the next book.
Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
A: At the moment, no. I have the synopses and outlines completed for the remaining three books in the Dana McGarry series and I look forward to finishing the manuscripts.
Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
A: I spent eighteen months researching every detail of the period for A Very Good Life, and was I humbled by this review: “Lynn Steward highlights the nuances of 70s life in New York City that are rarely featured in books or in films set in that decade. It is a New York story told in New York style.” –Ask a New Yorker
Q: Is writing an obsession to you?
A: Every day, and for many hours, I am either writing, marketing, researching, or promoting the Dana McGarry series, so, yes, I’d say I’m obsessed!
Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
A: I am certainly influenced by my life and work in Manhattan. I would say the story is autobiographical in feeling but not in fact.
Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?
A: I often read author interviews in The Paris Review, and I believe that is true and the reason why writers like solitude. They don’t want distractions to invade their story’s world.
Q: Where is your book available?
Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?