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The NAMW Virtual Book Club presents:

Julie Ryan McGue and
Barbara Linn Probst

Choosing the path that’s right for you

May 6, 2021

Featuring two authors in conversation about their new books, why they chose to write their stories as memoir and fiction—as well as practical guidelines for helping you make your own choices.

We’re pleased to welcome our guests:

In this practical, informative webinar, Julie and Barbara will guide NAMW members through the choices they made in deciding whether and how to write memoir or fiction. In Julie’s memoir, Twice a Daughter, her character develops serious health issues that cause her to research her closed adoption. In Barbara’s novel, The Sound Between the Notes, her fictional protagonist is an adoptee with a health issue that threatens her passion for music.

With adoption as a common thread in both their books, the authors will discuss the choices they made in translating their experiences onto the printed page. They will offer practical guidelines, concrete examples, slides, and a handout. 

What you will learn:

When you have a story to tell that draws on your own experience, do you write it as a memoir or as fiction?  The best memoirs read like fiction, and the best fiction feels as real and true as if it actually happened.

In this webinar, two authors share how they began with a common theme—adoption, identity, belonging, and what it means to be a daughter—and brought their stories to life in different ways, one through memoir and the other through fiction. The program will guide participants through the steps for deciding which path is best for them and how to follow it skillfully. The presentation will cover:

  • choices and inflection points
  • challenges and benefits
  • similarities and differences
  • how, why, when, and in what ways you can use different aspects of your story

About Julie Ryan McGue:

Julie is an author, a domestic adoptee, and an identical twin. She writes extensively about finding out who you are, where you belong, and making sense of it. Her debut memoir Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging will be released in May 2021. It is the story of her five-year search for birth relatives. Her weekly blogs That Girl, This Life and monthly column at The Beacher focus on identity, family, and life’s quirky moments.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Julie received a BA from Indiana University in Psychology. She earned a MM in Marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business, Northwestern University. She has served multiple terms on the Board of the Midwest Adoption Center and is an active member of the American Adoption Congress.

To learn more about Julie’s work, please visit her website or Amazon page

About Barbara Linn Probst:

Barbara is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction whose debut novel Queen of the Owls (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Queen of the Owls was selected as one of the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother and was featured in Parade Magazine, Ms, Magazine, Bustle, Pop Sugar, and Entertainment Weekly. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, was short-listed for both the First Horizon and the $2500 Grand Prize.

Barbara’s second book, The Sound Between the Notes (April 2021 explores timeless questions of identity and belonging through the unique perspective of a musician and is the recipient of a rare starred review from Kirkus, given only to books “of remarkable merit.” Barbara has a PhD in clinical social work and is a former therapist, researcher, teacher, and advocate, as well as a “serious amateur” pianist.

To learn more about Barbara’s work, please visit her website or Amazon page.

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