Hi Libby, Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me today! Let's get right to it.
1. You have written romantic comedies, mysteries for young adults and one historical - is any genre a favorite over any other?
Whatever I’m writing at the moment is my favorite! When I’m writing romantic comedies, I start thinking to myself, “Wow, I should just write these all the time.” Then I get an itch to write something more serious, and I start thinking, “Hmm, this is where my strength is, in these brooding tales.” Maybe I need to see a psychiatrist!
2. I don't think you need to see a psychiatrist! I think it is great that you love whatever it is you are writing - I think this is reflected in your books! You are trained as a singer and performed on stage before becoming a writer - if money were not an issue, what would your dream job be?
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still write fiction. When I came to that realization years ago, I knew I had found my calling.
3. What do you feel your strengths are and how have they helped your writing?
A vivid imagination, a sense of humor, some keen powers of observation, and, of course, my stunning physical beauty – these are all my strengths. Seriously, the first three items in that list help me as a writer for obvious reasons. I think being able to observe people and puzzle out motivations helps an awful lot. I also think being able to think of “what if” questions (vivid imagination) helps launch stories. Other than that, writing is a craft and it takes lots of practice to hone one’s skills. I also do some freelance editing and that has helped me tremendously—seeing what does and doesn’t work in other manuscripts.
4. What do you feel your weaknesses are as a writer and how have you overcome them?
My weakness as a writer is I care too much. Seriously, my weakness is probably a tendency to “gild the lily.” By that I mean to overwrite, to use two adjectives when one (or none) would do. Often when I edit, I end up cutting a lot of “gilt” from the book. I need to perfect the art of gilt-free writing.
5. If you could have written any book in history, what would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I have some favorite books, books that I’ve read and re-read because I absolutely adore them. But to think of having written them myself seems so. . . presumptuous, I guess. Here’s one that I re-read last year and recommend highly – the Pulitzer-prize-winning Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Such a beautiful book, filled with inspiration and serenity and, well, godliness. It’s not a comedy but a serious book, a trip through memory. As a writer, when I finish a book like that, I do sigh and think, “I wish I could write like this.”
6. Has there ever been a book that you have "faked" reading?
Please do not tell my high school teachers, but I did not read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. But that didn’t stop me from writing papers about them.
7. While writing, do you have any "must haves" or favorite places that help to facilitate the process?
I’m fortunate to have a small office in my house that overlooks the back yard where we have a garden complete with bird bath. I love to sit at my desk and watch the birds frolic in the bath. My office also contains various mementoes that cheer me – framed copies of my book covers, funny little gifts from my kids, three very romantic prints of pre-Raphaelite paintings. That room is my favorite and most comfortable writing spot. But I can pretty much write anywhere if the muse visits me with inspiration. My only “must have” is a computer. I can no longer write longhand. I become too impatient.
8. What question have you never been asked in an interview but wished you were?
Question: Why should I buy your books?
Answer: Because they’re engrossing stories about people you’ll recognize—folks with the same insecurities most of us have faced at one point or another—who go on incredible personal journeys of self-discovery—sometimes funny, sometimes difficult and filled with sorrow—but always ending up the better for their struggles. And. . . if you don’t buy my books, I will be very, very, very sad. Extremely sad. And my publishers will be sadder. And when they’re sad, they don’t like to buy manuscripts from me. That have this amazingly silly preoccupation with numbers—numbers of books sold. I know, I know—it’s preposterous. But that’s the way of the publishing world. So if you want to see more books from me, well . . . please, oh please oh please oh please, buy a copy of My Own Personal Soap Opera. And other books by me. Buy multiple copies. Give them away as gifts. Leave them on subways or trains and buy fresh copies. Thank you.
Okay readers - We want to make Libby's publishers happy - so get out there and buy her books!
MY OWN PERSONAL SOAP OPERA
BY LIBBY MALIN
IN STORES APRIL 2010
Is life stranger than fiction, or vice versa?
Frankie McNally has found the perfect solution for life’s perplexing problems: as head writer for the daytime soap Lust for Life, she works them out on the air!
Meanwhile, Frankie’s being courted simultaneously by the dashing older man sent in to save the show’s sagging ratings and by the soap’s totally hot leading man. And just when Frankie thinks the plot couldn’t get more complicated, a jewel thief starts copying the show’s storyline-a development that could send the show’s ratings soaring, if it doesn’t get Frankie arrested first...
In her signature blending of the hilarious with the poignant, Libby Malin’s latest light-hearted novel combines the best of life and of fiction into an entertaining and incredibly satisfying read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Libby Malin is published in women’s fiction, including Fire Me, and is an Edgar nominated YA mystery writer. She’s worked in public relations, as an education reform advocate, and was a member of the Vermont Commission on Women. She lives with her husband and three children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For more information please visit http://www.libbysbooks.com/.
Ok - I can hear all of you asking - What about the giveaway?
A big thank you to Danielle and Sourcebooks for allowing me to giveaway 2 copies of My Own Personal Soap Opera! This giveaway is open to US/Canada and will end Apr 23.
To enter: Please visit Libby at one of the following places - Libby's Books, Libby's Books Blog, Lunch Reads or her daughter's blog - Bedford Square, and tell me something you learn. Please leave an email address with your comment. Must do this to enter.
For an additional entry, sign up to be a Google Friend follower (and if you already are - just let me know).