Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Lisa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
A: Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here. Before I started writing novels, I practiced law for over a decade, drafting legal briefs and memoranda much like the young attorney in my novel.
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).
That’s when I decided to trade in the billable hour lifestyle and become a recovering attorney/aspiring novelist. Making up stories is much more fun than negotiating contracts, attending hearings, and deciphering statutes and regulations for clients.
The release of Double Out and Back is momentous, because I finally can delete “aspiring” from my title. It’s official! I’m now Lisa Lipkind Leibow, novelist.
As for how long I have been writing? I have always had a very vivid imagination and a hunger to be creative in my writing. In high school and college if I could opt for a paper instead of an exam, I’d do it. I love to research and write. Of course, for years, while I worked as an attorney, much of my writing was in legalese. Once I decided to get back to creative writing, I had to relearn how to write in English. I have been writing in English and honing my fiction-writing craft for six years, now.
Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
A: I would love to tell you about my book. Here’s a blurb.
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?
I wrote Double Out and Back because I became curious and fascinated with the sociological and societal impacts of assisted reproductive technologies. There are so many different ways we can start families these days, ranging from good old fashioned sex, and adoption, to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, donated eggs, sperm, or embryos. Children may grow up in homes with a mother and father, single parents, or same-sex parents. Women can give birth to babies not biologically related to them, and the list goes on. I wanted to explore these issues from a literary perspective.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
A: The biggest challenge for me was to hone the structure of the multiple plot lines. As this was my first novel, there were times I feared I had taken on too large a task. I played around with telling Amelia’s, Summer’s, and Chandy’s stories separately, but in tandem – a trilogy. Next, I tried to force the plot into a rigid structure where I had a pattern of Amelia’s chapter, Summer’s chapter, Chandy’s chapter. When it came down to it, in the end, I let the plot unfold as it needed, without holding it to a rigid mold. I have received praise as to the way the stories are intertwined. I hope readers will enjoy the complexity of the tale.
Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?
A: Please refer to my website www.LLLeibow.com. It includes a biography, headshot, as well as a cover, blurb, video trailer, and excerpt of Double Out and Back. You will also find a contact page, information on my short stories, along with upcoming appearances and events.
Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
A: I have spoken to a couple of book clubs and I’m available to meet with or call-into interested book clubs. I plan to hold readings as part of Women in the Arts, dates to be determined. I also will be appearing at a Red Rose Publishing Book Signing on September 12th, from 1-3 p.m. in Albany, New York. So, if you’re in the Albany area, stop by at the Borders Bookstore at the Crossgates Mall. I may be featured on some blogtalk radio during my virtual book tour. I’m available for radio and television interviews. Anyone interested, feel free to contact me.
Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
A: I secured my first publishing deal as an un-agented author. However, I’m currently seeking representation for my second novel.
Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?
A: I like to consider the e-book release as a sneak preview. The print book will be released at a later date. So, the virtual book tour I am on this month is my media blitz. Pump Up Your Book is helping me to get the word out. By the time the print book hits distribution, I hope everyone will be waiting for Double Out and Back.
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
A: I have several projects at various phases of development: a second novel I’m perpetually almost finished, a first draft of a young adult fantasy novel in need of my attention, and two concepts for novels in research phase.
Q: Thank you for your interview, Lisa. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
A: There is no need to thank me. It was my pleasure. I really enjoyed it. The best place to buy my book is at www.RedRosePublishing.com. It is also available at All Romance, Fictionwise, Book Strand, Mobipocket, My Bookstore And More, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
Readers can find me on the web at www.LLLeibow.com. There, you will find links to my blog, Lisa Leibow’s Fodder for Fiction, a group blog I write with four other fabulous authors, Roses of Prose, and options to follow me on Twitter, and join me on Facebook and Goodreads.
Lisa Lipkind Leibow is the author of bestselling novel Double Out and Back.
Her work has appeared in The Pisgah Review.
She lives and writes in Northern Virginia with her husband, three sons, a clumber spaniel named Bosco, and two red-eared sliders.