The writer talks #MeToo, John McLaughlin, and her late grandmother’s New York City brothel.
In her forthright memoir, Finding My Way, former White House staffer Robin F. Schepper reckons with family secrets, #MeToo, and the search for authenticity. This isn’t your typical inside-the-Beltway tell-all, though. Rather, it is a deeply personal account of Schepper’s unconventional upbringing on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, her quest to find her biological father, and her experiences in the male-dominated political sphere as she zigzagged into the highest levels of American government — ultimately becoming the first executive director of Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative, Let’s Move!
I recently caught up with Schepper while she was in Washington, DC, for her politico-studded book party on Capitol Hill.
In Finding My Way, you describe how Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh cracked something open in you.
Questions of nature vs. nurture run throughout “Finding My Way,” the memoir of a woman who rose to work in the Obama White House
SunLit: As you mention in the prologue, you’ve come a long way. What made you decide that this was the point in your life to write your memoir?
Robin Schepper: I have been writing short stories for about 20 years. I took a creative writing class after we adopted our second child because I needed some intellectual stimulation in between changing diapers. But, every time I worked on the story arc, I did not like the ending.
When I got my DNA results back from Ancestry.com and 23 and Me I realized that the person I thought was my biological father could not have been my father because the genetic make-up was not 100% German. When I was contacted by my paternal first cousin and we figured out who my dad was, I knew I finally had the final chapter of my book. I finally had the answers to my lifelong quest. I thought that sharing my journey to find him as well as navigating life on my own would be an interesting story to others.
When Robin Schepper’s second child was little, she felt like all she was doing was changing diapers and speaking in baby talk.
“I needed some intellectual stimulation,” she said.
That led her to a creative writing course where she wrote several short stories about her life — as she put it, her “origin story.” When Schepper shared those stories with friends, they repeatedly encouraged her to expand on them in a book.
During the stay-at-home days early on in the pandemic, Schepper got around to stringing those stories together into a memoir, which is slated for release on April 18.
Schepper’s book, “Finding My Way: A Memoir of Family, Identity and Political Ambition” chronicles her lifelong search for a dad she didn’t know and everything that happened along the way, including her work on presidential campaigns, helping plan several Olympic Games and a job in the White House.
Learn more about who I am and why I wrote my memoir..
Listen to the prologue and learn more about the memoir.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2023
Colorado Author’s Memoir, Finding My Way: A Memoir of Family, Identity and Political Ambition Released Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Local author, Robin Schepper, released her memoir today called, “Finding My Way: A Memoir of Family, Identity and Political Ambition” published by Girl Friday Books. A deeply personal memoir about finding family and belonging. The book has already been reviewed positively. Robin has scheduled book events in Denver and Steamboat Springs and is planning more in Vail, Aspen, Grand Junction, Washington, DC, New York City, Seattle, Madison, and Green Bay. The audiobook was also released today. More detailed information can be found at https://robinfschepperauthor.com.
“I hope this book inspires others to tell their stories and live a life of transparency and authenticity. The more we are honest about our life, the more we can accept that life is not a straight line,” said author Robin F. Schepper.
The deeply personal memoir is about finding family and belonging from former White House staffer Robin F. Schepper. Growing up torn between her single Pan Am–stewardess mom and brothel-owning grandmother in 1960s New York City, Robin F. Schepper never imagined that she’d one day have an office in the East Wing of the White House. Her childhood in a German American neighborhood on the Upper East Side was peppered with half-truths, from the family secrets surrounding her grandmother’s immigration to deceptions about her biological father.
In a world of self-absorbed adults, Robin largely raised herself: she secured a scholarship to a prestigious private school and worked several jobs as a teenager to pay her own living expenses before finally escaping to California for college. Street-smart and undeniably driven, once in the professional world Robin quickly ascended in the male-dominated political sphere, traveling the globe while being subjected to sexual harassment and assaults that echoed obstacles her mother and grandmother had faced. Through it all, Robin searched for her biological father. She felt that if she could understand why he abandoned her, she could free herself from secrets, lies, and shame. Robin eventually ascended to work for the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and, in the meantime, created her own family by adopting two sons from Kazakhstan. Intimate and captivating, Finding My Way follows an ambitious woman who reached the highest pinnacles of a political career while simultaneously fulfilling her own quest to heal from family trauma and discover her identity.
Reviews and endorsements have already been received for the memoir:
· "Written with gravitas, the memoir Finding My Way is about leading a purposeful life and imparting knowledge with dignity and honesty.” – Clarion Review
· “This was a well-done memoir; it was engaging, and I was invested in the story that was told. There was never a moment that I was bored. It had a great writing style and I appreciated how honest the journey was. I really enjoyed reading this as it was so well done and (the author) knew how to tell a story.” – Kathryn McLeer, NetGalley
· “I couldn’t put it down. Robin Schepper’s life story weaves a personal history of growing up in New York City in the 1970s, a lifetime [spent] searching for her biological father until Ancestry.com and 23andMe provided her with answers, and [a career] at the highest level of American politics, breaking down barriers for women in that field for my generation.” —Sweta Chakraborty, president, US operations, of We Don’t Have Time and climate, behavioral scientist
· “Finding My Way is more than a book. It is storytelling from an author who brings readers into her closest circle of friends, sharing the details of her life that [give her] questions, challenge her values, and demonstrate her capacity to achieve and willingness to love in spite of the obstacles in her path from her earliest days of childhood. Schepper trusts her readers with her story the way so many . . . in her family, community, and profession have trusted her. We’re all the better for knowing her story and will be less fearful of our own because of her courage.” —Kiki McLean, public affairs and political strategist
Robin has already been on the podcast, Madame Policy and is expected to be in the Colorado Sun and on its podcast last this week, as well at the Qwerty podcast, The Steamboat Pilot covered the book back in January.
The author is available for book events, speeches, and interviews. Send inquiries through the author’s website platform:https://robinfschepperauthor.com/contact or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In. For more than thirty years, Robin served at the highest levels of American politics and government. I worked on four presidential campaigns and in the Clinton White House, was staff director for the Senate Democratic Technology and Communications Committee under Senator Tom Daschle and served in the Obama White as the first executive director of Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative, Let’s Move! She advises numerous non-profits and helped draft policy reports for the Bipartisan Policy Center. She now lives in Colorado.