Every time we get a story at BoomerCafé about a baby boomer reinventing himself or herself, we smile. Because that’s what our generation is doing en masse. This is one about Lynn Steward’s journey, not just from New York to Chicago, but from businesswoman to author, culminating in her first novel, A Very Good Life (Volume 1).
About five years ago, I labeled a personal file as “Act Three,” and filled it with creative ideas for a new work-interest, and I’ve had a lot!
I first enjoyed an exciting career in New York’s fashion industry, then later, via a circuitous route on the way to opening my own boutique Shop for Pappagallo, I established a successful real estate business in Chicago. But I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, was something to explore during this next phase.
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 in the seventies 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, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. So I was overwhelmed with ideas, and created a TV series designed to run for five seasons. Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingled 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 needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to write a novel.
So now, while I still hope to see the stories alive on the big screen, I tremendously enjoy daily researching and writing historical fiction. It puts me out of my comfort zone, ready to welcome new challenges. My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, everything is peaceful, and there are no interruptions.
For at least three hours a day, I am again at home in New York City in the 1970s, creating a life for thirty-year-old Dana, and her family and friends: attending parties at Café des Artistes with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, a business meeting with Estée Lauder, and Rosamond Bernier’s art lectures. At the same time, raising important questions that are relevant at every age, then and now: how does one find balance and meaning in the daily routines of life? How does one stop counting the candles, a single year or event, and instead, value the tapestry of life?
This quest for self-fulfillment is a universal theme everyone can identify.