Paperback Writer welcomes our guest author today, Lisa Lipkind Leibow, author of the mainstream novel, Double Out and Back (Red Rose Publishing, August 2009), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in September on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About the Book: 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?
Hi Lisa Lipkind Leibow,
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
While I worked as an attorney and my husband and I set out to try to have a baby, I listened carefully to the warnings and advice from my doctors. I have always had an extremely vivid imagination. And, if anyone who has ever been a patient, understands the information physicians must disclose every time they prescribe a treatment or medication. My wheels started to turn. Soon, I found myself ruminating over what would it be like if ALL of these remote-chance risks happened?
Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
Double Out and Back came to me as I wrote it. I had a general idea of where the plot would take me, but not a detailed outline. I wrote scenes as they came to me, and later went back and wove together all of the pieces of the puzzle in the best way I could. Once I took a look at the whole picture, I weeded out parts that didn’t serve the plot, and added more where I saw holes. There are so many layers. Every time I added something new or subtracted a segment, I combed through the entire manuscript again to make sure that new information was consistent with what comes before or after. I learned so much from this process, and I am building my current works-in-progress with more of an outline. I am constantly adding new tools to my writer’s toolkit and pushing myself to delve deeper into the craft of writing fiction.
Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
Funny you should ask me that. I actually thought I knew the end of the story when I set out. However, when it came down to it, the ending turned out to be completely different from what I initially envisioned.
Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?
I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters before I set out to animate them in a written scene. I “interview” them and craft detailed back stories for them. Much of this never makes it into the story. But knowing a character’s motivations and how they would react in a given situation based on their past experiences helps me to make a character come alive on the page when I drop them into the plot.
For me, writing fiction is a lot like method acting. A director might give an actor a five minute explanation of what his motivations should be to utter one line of dialogue. And these motivations permeate the performance, coming through with facial expression, posture, gesticulations, and inflection of the actor’s voice. Someone watching the performance can infer a lot about an actor’s motivations and emotions without a lengthy narrative explaining where he’s coming from. When I write prose, I work hard to balance dialogue and narrative to give the reader a vivid, sensory experience with realistic, fully-drawn characters.
Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
This is nothing I set out to do. However, in retrospect, I suppose each of the main characters carries some of me with her. For example, I gave Summer a career as an attorney, because I knew that world. I gave Amelia a sentimental longing for the past, because I, too, miss my relatives who are no longer around. Finally, I probably projected some of my fears of empty nest-syndrome onto Chandy. These are just some of the little qualities and influences of my own psyche that unintentionally permeate almost every character I write.
Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?
This is a really difficult question. I am so close to the manuscript, the plot, the characters, choosing a favorite part is almost impossible. I can tell you, however, my favorite parts to write were those set in South Africa. It gave me a chance to hone my skills at researching and writing historical fiction, to bring to life a place and time I did not experience firsthand. I think I did okay, too. On at least two occasions, when I discussed my book with them, readers have been surprised I don’t have a South African accent!
Q: When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
One of the biggest challenges for me in writing a story is figuring out when I’m finished. In fact, I could probably have spent lifetime writing and rewriting Double Out and Back, tinkering with the prose in an unending quest to perfect it. However, there came a point when my characters seemed to shout, “Leave us alone!” That is when I decided the novel must be done. It is then, and only then, I wrote The End at the bottom, and started to shop the manuscript.
Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
Across the globe, publishers, literary agents, and bookstores are struggling to anticipate and manage the rapidly changing business of books. The biggest challenge for me was to chart a course for targeting queries to agents and publishers who might take a chance on a first time author in this industry in transition. I spent so much time honing my creative writing skills. Shifting gears to business-mode to market the work takes a completely different set of skills. I struggle to toggle my brain between business-mode to creative-mode.
Q: What has been the best part about being published?
My favorite part about being published is contact with readers. I have already had the pleasure of participating in a couple of book club discussions of my book. It is always a thrill for me to hear others discussing and analyzing the actions of my characters as if they were real people. It means I have done my job! I have been contacted by several other book clubs to join them. I’m looking forward to it.
Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?
Do whatever you can to achieve your goals, but realize that some things are beyond your control. This is the meta-message or theme of Double Out and Back.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
I routinely share that I’m perpetually almost-finished with my second novel. I also have a first draft of a young adult fantasy novel awaiting my attention, as well as several other projects in the research phase.
Q: Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
The blog hosts on this tour have asked fascinating questions and have made me think about my writing life in a whole new way! My initial excitement over this tour, related to the premiere of Double Out and Back as an e-book (print book is coming soon). I’m hoping it’s an effective way to reach my audience. Blog readers are the most likely readers of electronic books on e-readers, iPhones, handheld devices, or your computer screen. However, I’m having so much fun, I may do it again to promote the print release!
Q: Where can readers find a copy of your book?
The best place to purchase Double Out and Back is at Red Rose Publishing. It is (or soon will be) also available at Fictionwise, All Romance, Book Stand, Mobipocket, My Bookstore and More, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
Q: Do you have a website for readers to go to?
Sure. I hope readers will visit me at http://www.LLLeibow.com. I also have a blog Lisa Leibow’s Fodder for Fiction, and contribute regularly to a group blog The Roses of Prose. I’m so glad you invited me to be a guest at Paperback Writer. This has been great.
Thank you, Lisa Lipkind Leibow for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.