It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Julie Ryan McGue, author of Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging.
About Julie Ryan McGue:
JULIE RYAN McGUE is an American writer. Her award-winning memoir, Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging released in May 2021. It is about the five-year search that she and her twin sister undertook to find their birth relatives. On her weekly blog, “That Girl This Life,” Julie writes about finding out who you are, where you come from, and making sense of it. Her work has appeared in the Story Circle Network Journal, Brevity, Imprint, Adoption.com, Lifetime Adoption, Adoption & Beyond, and Severance Magazine. Personal essays appear in several anthologies: REAL WOMEN WRITE: Seeing Through Her Eyes, and Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis.
Julie holds a B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University, and a M. M. in Marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business, Northwestern University. She splits her time between NW Indiana and Sarasota, Florida. Julie is currently working on a second memoir and a collection of personal essays. She served multiple terms on the Board for the Midwest Adoption Center and currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for American Family Building.
Julie is adopted. She is also a twin. Because their adoption was closed, she and her sister lack both a health history and their adoption papers—which becomes an issue for Julie when, at forty-eight years old, she finds herself facing several serious health issues.
To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie first needs the support of her sister. The twins talk things over, and make a pact: Julie will approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters will split the costs involved in locating their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents aren’t happy that their daughters want to locate their birth parents—and that is only the first of many obstacles Julie will come up against as she digs into her background.
Julie’s search for her birth relatives spans eight years and involves a search agency, a PI, a confidential intermediary, a judge, an adoption agency, a social worker, and a genealogist. By journey’s end, what began as a simple desire for a family medical history has evolved into a complicated quest—one that unearths secrets, lies, and family members that are literally right next door.