Balancing single parenthood, work, anxiety, and everything else the world throws at our feet is difficult for anyone. Adding postpartum depression, divorce and domestic violence into the mix and a tale of survival emerges. In author Megan Cyrulewski’s debut memoir, Who Am I? How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, readers will follow the author through a journey of loss, pain, hope and eventually, success. Written through the eyes of a young woman who battled life’s most heart wrenching events, readers will find a gripping, unforgettable story that will leave a mark on their hearts for a very long time.
Interviewer: Christy Campbell
Give us some background on why you chose to write a memoir.
Basically, I did not pass the Bar Exam so I had to find something else to do before I was going to retake it. Everyone told me I should write a book about what happened with my postpartum, divorce and child custody battle, so that’s what I did. Lucky for me, Black Opal Books (my publisher) offered me a contract!
What kind of reaction do you hope to receive from those who your memoir?
There are two main points I want to get across: First, postpartum depression affects millions of women and nobody should be afraid nor ashamed to seek treatment; and second, emotional domestic violence is just as traumatic as physical domestic violence – it’s just harder to recognize. I want women who might be in a damaging emotional abusive relationship to read my book and know there is help out there for them.
What genre do you feel your type of book fit well into?
Hmmm…I’m not sure. Obviously a memoir but I don’t want to pick a specific target audience. I think my book could impact anyone of any age and/or gender.
Tell us about when your desire to become an author became a reality–had you always wanted to write novels?
My major in undergraduate school was in Journalism but because I wanted to move out of my parents’ house, I took the first job I could find, which was a non-profit. I stayed in that career for 8 years and then switched to law school. I loved writing my memoir and I hope it helps people who are in similar situations. I look forward to continuing my writing career and will write crime fiction novels. There have been some things that have happened since the book ended, so maybe I will have a sequel in a few years.
Are there any memoirs you’ve read through the years that have inspired you when writing your own?
I loved “Her” by Christa Parravani. Her book was my inspiration. I thought that if she had the strength to write about the death of her twin sister, then I had the strength to write my story.
With today’s demands of self-published authors, how to you balance both the writing and marketing aspects of the job?
Luckily I have a wonderful publisher; however, I’m a total Type A personality and have been marketing nonstop since I signed my contract. I’ve had to learn a lot about the marketing aspect in a short amount of time. Now that I’ve kind of got the marketing part down, I am able to balance my writing and marketing.
Are you currently working on anything new?
I’m working on a crime fiction novel. I don’t have a title yet but hopefully it will be published next year.
Share with us one thing about yourself that readers would be surprised to learn.
I share a ton of stories on my blog about my daughter, Madelyne. Most people would be surprised to learn, however, that for 30 years of my life, I never wanted kids. In fact, one of the reasons my ex-husband and I got married was because neither one of us wanted kids. I address this in my book but it definitely shocks new friends I meet on Facebook!
I see you have a blog, which is such a huge means of reaching readers and authors. What in particular compelled you to start one?
Part of my contract with my publisher was that I needed to start a website. I did some research and I learned exactly what you stated in this questions – it’s a huge mean of reaching readers and authors.
What are some topics that you are passionate about that might be featured on your blog?
I have a series on my blog called Authors Supporting Authors. I have featured 100+ authors on my site because I never turn anyone away. I blog about motherhood and Madelyne because she is hilarious! Sometimes random things put into my mind and I write a post about it.
What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don’t let anyone’s judgment deter you from writing. Keep in mind that you can’t please everybody. Feedback is good as well as constructive criticism but in the end, you have to do what is right for you. Also, get an editor. I thought I was good at grammar – until I got back my first round of edits. Now I tell everyone that an editor is an author’s gift from God!
Lastly, tell us where readers can find your book, as well as your blog.
My book is slated to release on August 2nd. You can read any updates, pertinent information or my blog on my website, www.megancyrulewski.com