WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN is a Literary fiction/women’s fiction by Lynn Steward. And, Lynn shall be answering my five little questions…
There’s always one part of a novel that asks more of us than the rest, which part of your novel was the hardest for you to write?
The first chapter! I thought I would breeze through the first draft as the synopsis was written and I knew where the story was going. However, I struggled to find a way to get started, and introduce readers to Dana’s emotional state and the backstory in vol. 1, A Very Good Life. It all came together at that moment in Farm Street Church, bringing with it a new character and mentor, Father Macaulay!
Tell us about the cover… Who designed it? What was the process like? Any cute little tidbits that tie just right?
One of the joys of self-publishing for me is the total creative control, I purchase photography and my graphic artist designs the cover. I knew instantly that the girl on the horse reflected Dana’s personal story, and something she was wearing gave me the idea that drove the plot to the crisis or major turning point. I also wanted to be sure that the cover conveyed that this was a New York story, so placing the horse in Central Park with buildings in the background was important.
Sometimes, words don’t come out the way we mean, what’s the weirdest typo you’ve ever made?
I can’t recall. I think my proofreader would be able to answer that!
We’ve all fantasised about this at some point, so who do you imagine playing the lead characters in a movie of your book?
I’m currently pitching The Dana McGarry Series as a TV pilot and have given this much thought!
Dana: Felicity Jones ~ Mark: a serious Ben Stiller ~ Brett: an obnoxious John Krasinski ~ Dana’s mother: Blythe Danner ~ Mark’s daughter: Kiernan Shipka
Lastly, if you could set foot anywhere in the world at any era, where and when would you most like to visit?
When Henry James was discovering Paris in 1875.
Great answers. That is an interesting cast list, wish you all the best on your pitch.
As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.
Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.
Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.