Cuppa and a Catch-up – An Author Interview with … Sheryn MacMunn Homewood

WEDNESDAY 16th APRIL 2014 Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Sheryn MacMunn Homewood, author to ‘Finding Out’ and currently in the process of writing her second book.

~Author Bio~

Author PhotoSheryn always dreamed of writing a book but didn’t know how to start. While dating her husband, she shared her dream to write a novel. He gave her a notebook and a pen and said “Start now.” When she became a working Mom, the book was put on hold but stayed in her mind, along with ideas for more novels.

Like all mothers, Sheryn wants her children to live their dreams, so she led by example. After a few workshops and courses on writing, long days and nights, and many rewrites, she published FINDING OUT which became an instant Amazon Kindle bestseller.

FINDING OUT hit the Bestseller lists on Amazon as #1 in Literary Fiction, #1 in Women’s Fiction Friendship, #1 Single Women Fiction, #2 in Contemporary Fiction, #3 in Romance and Top 10 in Historical Fiction.

When not behind her computer, you will find her reading her favourite authors, playing tennis, or laughing with her husband and children.

You can find out more on www.sherynmacmunn.com, www.facebook.com/sherynmacmunn, www.goodreads.com/macmunn, and follow her on Twitter @sherynmacmunn

Her second novel will be released in Fall 2014.

~Synopsis~

Finding Out

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 neighbor, 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.

Grab that cuppa and get all cosy as we catch up with Sheryn.

Big Mug

Hi Sheryn and welcome! It’s great to have you here.

Where did the inspiration behind Finding Out come from?

The inspiration for Finding Out came from missing my grandmothers and a good friend who was like a third grandmother. Their advice and life lessons had carried me through so much and then they passed away within a few years of each other. I missed them terribly. I also realized that there weren’t any books that spoke to a single woman in her thirties who had to deal with life on her own. Most fiction at the time focused on younger women just figuring out the balance between relationships and career with her friends. However, my friends and I wanted to read stories about women at that middle point of a career and relationships when major decisions need to be made that can truly affect the rest of your life. So I created a story that focused on a woman who is trying to navigate today’s world by learning about the past. It sort of brought my grandmother’s back to life.

How would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?

Finding Out was my first novel. I’m writing a second one now which should be ready by fall 2014.Finding Out  

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I always loved to read and dreamt of writing a book one day. When I started dating my husband, I told him this and he urged me to start writing immediately. Since I hadn’t written any other novels, I went to writing conferences and workshops and edited Finding Out many times. I then got married and had children, so it took years to write. Regarding books, Gone with the Wind is my favourite. I read it first when I was fourteen and have re-read it every ten years. Each time I read it, I come away with a different take about life and love. For instance, as a teenager, I thought Scarlett was amazing and Melanie was drippy and I believed that Ashley was in love with Scarlett. As an adult, I can see many of Scarlett’s flaws and that Melanie is truly the intelligent one. And that Ashley just used Scarlett for his ego boost.

How do you organise your writing time?

I have children and work full time, so my writing time has to fit between everything else going on in my life and my family’s schedule. I’ve tried to wake up early but my kids just wake up early with me, so that’s out. Now, I pick times to write every day whenever I can sneak time alone – and that can change every day. Sometimes I write before work, at lunchtime or just after putting my kids to bed. The best time is when everyone is asleep so I can take time to get into the setting of the book and then the writing flows. Unfortunately, I’ll end up writing into the early morning hours, so the next day can be exhausting.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

I can write anywhere. When I wrote Finding Out, I often sat outside with a notebook and also went to the Rose Room of the New York Public Library. I also did a lot of writing on Amtrak because I travelled to Philadelphia for business a lot. Back then I had a BlackBerry, so I would also type out scenes on that. I could type so fast on that keyboard! I can pretty much block out the rest of the world and get into my story anytime and anywhere. I’m not sure if that’s a result of being an avid reader or having noisy kids around me.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I’m a massive technology geek. I started programming computers in 1981 and worked in high tech for years. When I’m not reading or outside with my kids, I love figuring out new gadgets and all the new tools on Google. In my house, my husband sits back while I program all our devices. I love it.  

Thank you for being here today Sheryn.

~Where to find Sheryn~

Facebook

Twitter: @SherynMacMunn

Goodreads

Amazon

Finding Out

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FINDING OUT, an Indie Book of the Day Award Winner, hit the Bestseller lists on Amazon as #1 in Literary Fiction, #1 in Women’s Fiction Friendship, #1 Single Women Fiction, #2 in Contemporary Fiction, #3 in Romance and Top 10 in Historical Fiction.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Katie Gallagher

WEDNESDAY 9th APRIL 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

Today I would like to welcome the lovely Katie Gallagher, author of Catching You and the newly published Stealing Cynderella, which was released in February.

 

~Author Bio~

Katie Gallagher mage

Katie Gallagher is the author of the young adult novel, Catching You. She lives in Western PA with her husband and young daughter who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and lack of cooking skills. She loves coffee, flip flops and hates cold weather.

~Synopsis~

 

Eighteen year old Cyn Clark is excited to start college at RMU, it’s her chance to get away from her sick mother and run of the mill suburban life. But, as soon as she arrives on campus, she begins to have doubts. Her roommate is a bitch and the campus is so huge that she can’t find any of her classes.

What if she made a big mistake coming here?

Stealing Cynderella Image

She begins to wonder if she should just go home and take classes at the community college, that is, until she meets James Lucas. From their first meeting, she felt like there was an intense connection, but was hesitant to do anything about it because of a past relationship.
James works hard to break down the walls into Cyn’s heart and is almost there, when he gets bad news from home that brings questions into their relationship. Now, Cyn isn’t sure about James and instead of talking to him about it, she makes the mistake of kissing someone else.
When James finds out, he ends the relationship and Cyn is completely devastated. And what makes it even worse, is that right after the break up, she finds out that she’s pregnant and doesn’t know what to do. How can she raise a baby on her own?

Grab your cuppa and dunk those biscuits as we catch-up with Katie Gallagher …

Cuppa and fire

Hi Katie, welcome to my blog – it’s great to have you here today

Where did you get the inspiration behind Stealing Cynderella?Stealing Cynderella Image

I guess that you could call it a fictionalized ‘ what could have been’ story of me and my husband if things had worked out with us in my junior year of college. 

How would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?

My writing has drastically improved and I’ve learned to take my time with editing and not worry about rushing the publication process.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I often asked for notebooks and books for Christmas, so that I could scribble my stories down, but I didn’t take my writing too seriously until my mother passed away when I was a young girl. Writing became my sanity.

How do you organise your writing time?

I’ve got a five month old at home, so the bulk of my writing takes place in between naps and after she’s asleep. Luckily, I have my mother in law around to help with her when she knows I’m on deadline.

Catching you imageWhere is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

Before my daughter arrived, I wrote upstairs on my husband’s desktop, but now I use the laptop downstairs, so that I can be closer to her if she needs me.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I’m in my thirties and don’t have a driver’s licence.  

Thank you for being here today Katie.

~Where to find Katie Gallagher~

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Stealing Cynderella Image

Love Missuswolf xxx

The story so far …

MONDAY 14th OCTOBER 2013

study2

Missuswolf’s StoryLand – the dream became a reality this year with my very own study! Major eeeeeekk!!

As most of you know since January 2012, I have been working on my first 80,000 word chick-lit novel. After writing the first draft during the dark, depressing months that were January and February, I have been working on the editing ever since.

Editing1

Firstly the manuscript (currently titled Little Miss Pooshoe) required editing from start to finish to tidy up any spelling mistakes, grammar errors and sentence structures. This is because a first draft is literally the words in your head being transferred straight to paper  as quickly as possible before they have a chance to disappear out of there.

A second round of editing is then needed whereby the actual text and flow of the story is looked at in more detail. This is still work in progress. The first ten chapter’s have endured this process where I scrutinise it prior to submission to an editor. These ten chapter’s have now reached the third round, where they are pulled apart chapter by chapter, sentence by sentence, word by word.

I have been lucky enough to meet a lovely lady called Kerry Ann Richardson at work, who is on her own mission to write Crime Thriller Novel’s (she is currently well into writing her second novel – well done hun!) Kerry put me in touch with a wonderful lady called Jenny Drewery, who edited her first manuscript.

I made contact with Jenny back in March and emailed her my full manuscript so she could get an idea of the full story. I then nervously submitted hard copies of the first ten chapter’s in April and, after a busy summer of moving for me and a hectic summer workload  for Jenny, the completed scripts landed on my doormat on 28th August.

Editing2

Scribbles and sentences – the first edited ten chapter’s of my manuscript

I wanted to give my refurbished manuscript the love and attention it deserves and I felt I could only do this once I had my study set up. This was so I could shut the door on the world and be alone with it; just me, my thoughts and my manuscript.

Therefore, last Monday (7th October) it finally felt right. My study is two thirds ready and at a stage where I can work in relaxation. I could make no more excuses and I anxiously bit the bullet – and opened the edited manuscript.

I prepared myself for the worst and although the pages are full of red pen, all the amendments that Jenny has suggested have really all made sense. She has looked at it from a reader’s perspective and taken out all unnecessary wording and highlighted areas that could be misinterpreted. Needless to say I have had some genuine laugh out loud moments at sentences which really don’t make sense when you apply a bit of reader’s logic.  One example involved a character and his goatee beard and how only he could pull it off. Jenny reminded me that if this was taken in the logistical context, it’s as if he is ‘pulling his beard off his face’. I whooped with hysterics for ages at that.

So the editing experience hasn’t been bad at all. I have met an amazing woman who has really helped pushed my manuscript to the next level.

Study

Last Monday and Tuesday, I sat and transferred all the edits from paper to computer for the first three chapter’s. My intention is to do the same with the other seven chapter’s so all ten are polished to perfection before starting this whole process of editing again with the next ten chapter’s of the manuscript.

Slowly, my dream is becoming a reality. I love nothing more than sitting at my desk listening to my writing playlist (oh yeah, I made a playlist – more on that another time!) and typing away at a manuscript.

Good things certainly do come to those who wait 🙂

Have a fab day everyone.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Thank You!

THURSDAY 19th APRIL 2012

Yesterday, I took advantage of a marketing opportunity with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Self Publishing. You have the option of up to 5 days free promotion; which can be used for consecutive days or it can be used independently.

I chose the one day option to promote The Ruby of Egypt [saving the other 4 days for future creations 🙂  ]

It proved successful in more ways than one. Not only has my book been downloaded across the world now, I discovered it prompted a few sales today of both e-books and paperback. Excellent!

However, Self Promo is exhausting and even I got sick of seeing my own tweets! 

So I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who downloaded my book, Retweeted my tweets, followed me and to those who went on to buy it today. I really appreciate it.

Now to reward myself with yummy food and vino….

Love Missuswolf xxx

What Makes Writing All Worth While

SATURDAY 10th MARCH 2012

I just wanted to share a little something that made me smile and that made all the hours I poured into my writing all worth while …

Apart from the genuine pleasure I receive  when I have written a story – even getting as far as Self Publishing it and seeing those words in print, encased in a cover of their own – nothing comes close to the sheer joy of someone else appreciating your work.

That joy came in the form of a Thank You card from a girl whose Aunt bought her my book The Ruby of Egypt for her birthday.

It’s little moments like this that are so rewarding.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Novel Project 2012 – Miss Pooshoe

WEDNESDAY 29TH FEBRUARY 2012

Good Evening everyone – deadline day is here!

After setting myself a New Years challenge to write a Novel by the end of Feb, I am  now pleased to say that the Novel is now complete! Well, the first draft is anyway. In the words of Stephen King – “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” 

This is so true of this Novel; I have only just completed my first draft and I found that I really was telling myself the story. It took some twists and turns in places even I wasn’t expecting and although I had a plan (well, ok a spreadsheet – yes I do love them and I have Chapter’s broken down) the story ended in a place I did not expect. It even ended earlier than I anticipated as I found that I had reached a natural conclusion.

Truth be told i did not hit my 80k target, I am some 992 words short, and that has been with adding little sub-stories in here and there that i have remembered (and by sub-stories I mean ridiculous things said and done by myself) therefore, this Novel has aptly been named ‘Miss Pooshoe.’

A bit of a random name yet it is relevant and I am hoping the title will intrigue readers and pull them in.

Although I originally set a target of 80k words, as this is an average word count to aim for by publishers, however I have learnt along this journey that word count isn’t everything.

View Mike Wells’ story regarding his novel ‘Wild Child’, which he was asked to add 15,000 extra words to by his first literary agent, because of some rules in relation to the cost of paper and cardboard boxes. He did this and after it was read by his readers, they had to admit that it ruined the story. This lead to him self publishing the book and its’ success is a story in itself; an inspirational one for any writer starting out – a moral that a word limit really isn’t everything and to perservere.

However, a word count is a nice target to set your sight on to motivate you, just don’t let it stop you from going with the natural flow of the story.

Stop if you feel it is going nowhere. Have a break and go back to it. It’s amazing what ideas you come up with in that break, especially if you take a drive out – you may be surprised what you come across in a half hour trip out in the car.)

So, after two months of trying to make time nearly every day (bar a few) to write; Miss Pooshoe has completed first draft stage.

But what now?

Well, she is getting entered into a competition for the end of March so I need to edit the first two Chapter’s first for this.

Depending on the competition outcome, if unsuccussful I will then send this off to Literary Agents to see if anyone would like to represent me and get this thing published.

If not, I will resort to Self Publishing.

So, for now, Miss Pooshoe is getting put to bed for a couple of weeks before I  do the editing – the part like Mr King says where you take out all the bits that aren’t the story. This will no doubt affect my word count and may see it plummet!

Oh well, a story is a story.

On to the next challenge….

Love Missuswolf xxx

Novel Project 2012 – Another milestone reached!!

SUNDAY 12th FEBRUARY 2012

Well ladies and gents, I am proud to announce that I have hit 60,000 words – yes I am now three quarters of the way through writing my first ever novel whoppeeee!

Although I must admit I was naughty and I did not contribute anything towards it yesterday, after having six days off work and then going back on a ten-hour early shift I somehow managed to just eat my tea before snoozing on the settee.

Not very productive at all tut tut.

However, it is only the third day since January 01st that I have not written anything. I have made up for it tonight despite being at work for ten hours again I have pushed through the pain barrier and achieved one of my goals!

For those who know me, there is a scene I am about to write involving the main female character getting rather drunk at a social club party and an unsuspecting males shirt.

Love Missuswolf xxx