Kat's Blog

Kat's Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome Lisa Lipkind Leibow!

Today we have the amazing Lisa Lipkind Leibow with us. Make sure you stick around because at the end she's going to be offering a contest.

1: Lisa thank you for being here. First thing we’d all like to know is when you first began writing?

I’ve been writing fiction during every possible moment for about six years, and dabbling in it for as long as I can remember before that.

2: You have a law degree and worked for several years in a successful law firm. What inspired you to leave law and write?

There wasn’t just ONE event that prompted me to change my life, but an accumulation of many strong messages. After being stuck at my office on 9/11, a month-long siege on metro Washington, DC by a sniper, and discovering that the other parents at my twins' preschool thought my au pair was my sons' mom, I could hear these words echoing in my ears. "If I knew this was what it was going to be like to have it all, I would have settled for less." (Lily Tomlin: The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe).
When it came down to it, I didn't really settle for less. I settled for different, and traded the billable hour lifestyle for fiction writing. Making up stories is much more fun than negotiating contracts, attending hearings, and deciphering statutes and regulations for clients.

3: Are you currently working on anything?

I have several projects at various phases of development: a second novel in search of a publishing home, a middle grade high-fantasy novel being reviewed by my critique partners (I wrote this for pure fun when I needed a break from the more serious subject matter I usually deal with), a new literary novel I’m in the midst of a first draft, and yet another novel in research phase. Part of my creative process requires letting a manuscript rest to give some distance before revising. I use the time while I’m resting from one project to work on another.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when you are not writing?

My life is filled with the happy chaos of my husband, children, and a menagerie of pets. They amuse me to no end. But when I have some “me” time, I try to stay active by biking, jogging, and doing yoga. I really need to counteract all of the sitting that crafting good fiction requires.

5: Which authors do you enjoy most reading?

I have diverse taste in reading. I enjoy reading fiction with a strong voice and unique perspective. I love quality women’s fiction, mainstream fiction, historical, and literary fiction. I read and love so many authors, it’s difficult to narrow it down. However, here are some of those I consider the masters. I’m in awe of Alice Munro’s ability to sum up an entire lifetime in a sentence. I love the quirky characters of John Irving, the vivid, detailed descriptions of Ayn Rand, and the strong, pithy dialogue of Ernest Hemingway. I admire the character driven fiction of Julia Glass and the expertly plotted tales of Steven King. I admire the boldness of Barbara Kingsolver to tackle multiple, first-person points-of-view in one novel, and Amy Tan’s ability to carry me to a time and place I’ve never been and make it seem real to me.

6: Are you currently reading anything?

I’m in the middle of reading Roots by Alex Haley. I’m also reading a nonfiction book called The Omnivore’s Dilemma. My book club chooses a nonfiction every once in a while.

7: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Focus on learning the craft, first. If you’re writing fiction, have a completed manuscript, before you even think about approaching an agent or publisher. You have to write because you love to write. Very few ever can quit their day job for this.
I would also advise you to write some short stories, too. Not only will it help to have a smaller palette to work on and a chance to complete something on a smaller scale. It will also allow you to hone your craft. It’s a great lesson to learn that every word must count. Every detail focused on in the plot should serve a purpose. Learn to read like a writer.
If a writer starts to lose momentum on her marathon of novel writing, take a workshop, read a book about writing style, plotting, and character development – anything to get creative juices flowing again.

I advise any aspiring novelist to take the time to analyze the novels you love. Deconstruct them to learn what makes them work.

Join a critique group. Not only will you benefit from gaining feedback on your writing and learning from other writer’s challenges as they tackle their own plots, but it will enforce a regular deadline to have another chapter or excerpt completed. It will help you to keep up the momentum. AFTER you have a completed manuscript or story, then and only then test the waters in the publishing world. You can’t market a novel manuscript you haven’t yet written.

8: Your debut novel with Red Rose, Double Out And Back is currently available. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s about?

Sure! It takes the reader on the roller coaster ride of treatments for infertility through the eyes of three women.
Not every woman who rides the fertility treatment roller coaster winds up like Octomom!
Who will find friends, family, and fertility?
Three women-s lives are intricately intertwined, as Amelia Schwartz and Summer Curtis struggle with the complex dynamics of intrafamily embryo adoption, and Chandy Markum strives to make her patients- dreams a reality.

After more than a decade, of mourning her parents- deaths, anal-retentive Amelia Schwartz decides to take control of her life, pursuing single motherhood via embryo adoption. While her fertility doctor, Chandy, is preoccupied with the destruction of the cosmopolitan Cape Town of her youth and her first love in apartheid-torn South Africa, believing all is lost, her niece, a young, married, overachieving attorney Summer Curtis, juggles zealous career ambitions, demanding bosses, and friction with her husband over family and fertility issues. They must confront the painful reality that, no matter what technology humans devise to manipulate reproduction, prolong life, and construct family units, they have not yet mastered control over their beginnings and endings.
Thrown all into this is one story that can make or break. Are you up to it?

9: What inspired you to write Double Out And Back?

I’m fascinated by the way construction of family-units is changing through technical advances in reproductive medicine and through evolving societal norms. When I was putting the finishing touches on this book and preparing to shop it around, Liza Mundy’s non-fiction work, Everything Conceivable came out. I was excited, because Double Out and Back explores from a literary perspective many of the same issues she examined as a journalist. Apparently, my publisher, too, was intrigued by these issues. I hope readers will enjoy the read.

Double Out and Back Excerpt

"I'm ready!" Summer sprinted from the bathroom, where she had just rinsed her mouth with her favorite cinnamon-flavored mouthwash and inserted her diaphragm. It was probably overkill, since she also wore a birth control patch, but she refused to take any chances.
Summer sped through the condo, running through rooms all lined up in a row, from the tiny antiquated bathroom through the eat-in kitchen with her grandmother's old Formica table and vinyl chairs, then past Jeremy's hideous bachelor sofa that dominated the living room. Some people called the condo a railroad flat while others called it shotgun-style. She liked the former description better; it sounded less violent. Although, she supposed, she would have a greater chance of dodging a bullet racing through her home than she would of escaping a train barreling through it.
Summer dashed past the entrance of the small study alcove off the living room and into the bedroom where Jeremy waited. She pounced on the finest mattress and linens - her and Jeremy's sole splurge.
Eagerly, she wrapped her arms and legs around Jeremy. She expected him to return her playfulness, but tonight he pulled away from their tight embrace and held her at arm's length, his hands on her shoulders. His hair, so black it looked blue, always captivated Summer. His eyes, equally alluring in their darkness, were solemn.
"We have to talk," he said.
### End of Excerpt###I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from Double Out and Back a novel by Lisa Lipkind Leibow. If you want to learn more about her and her writing, visit her website at http://www.llleibow.com/.

It's giveaway time. Lisa Lipkind Leibow is offering to one lucky person two prizes. A free download copy of Double Out And Back and a free special edition e-cookbook, Kissin' Don't Last, Cookin' Does. All you have to do is leave a comment here on her interview and Lisa will choose a random winner tomorrow. Good Luck!


Joy said...

Hello to both of you. Lisa, you give good advice to the aspiring novelist, and it was great to learn a bit more about you and your writing life. Good luck with your projects.

ParaNovelGirl said...

Hi girls. Lisa, that excerpt left my mouth watering for more. 'We have to talk' sure can put a blast of cold air on a hot moment.

I wish you all the success and joy as an author you can get. You deserve it with all your hard work. Your name keeps popping up EVERYWHERE! Great promotions.

Kat said...

Yeah I like Lisa she's an absolute sweetie.:-)

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Thanks, everyone! You are making me feel so welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the advice and the excerpt!