Monday, March 05, 2012

Interview with Abby Luby, author of "Nuclear Romance"


About Abby Luby

Abby LubbyAbby Luby is a freelance journalist who, for over ten years, has covered nuclear power, particularly issues surrounding the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Her articles have appeared in The New York Daily News, The Villager, The Westchester Guardian, The Real Deal, SolveClimateNews, The North County News and the Record Review. She also writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal, The Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Time, Valley Table Magazine, Roll Magazine, Hearst publications HealthyLivingCT, Living@HomeCT covering news, art, food and health. She teaches writing and literature at Marist College.
To find out more about Abby visit http://www.abbylu.com
To find out more about Nuclear Romance visit http://nuclearromance.wordpress.com
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Abby Luby.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I am a single parent with a 20 year old son in college. I am an active journalist for publications in Westchester County, New York, an area immediately north of New York City. I teach writing and literature at two area colleges. I have been writing all my life: when I was about nine, I loved writing poetry and kept a journal/diary, but the entries were intermittent. The writing bug came years after I graduated college when I wrote a guest column in a local newspaper about the impracticality of the area’s evacuation plan should there be an accident at the neighborhood nuclear plant. I’ve been a professional journalist for the past 15 years.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A:  Nuclear Romance is a story about how the tragic death of a 7-year old girl after swimming at a beach across from a nuclear power plant sets off a chain of events that involve a sports journalist, an anti-nuclear activist, a grieving mother and her son. A young woman reporter falls prey to a callous plant executive whose job depends on keeping the multi-billion dollar nuclear company viable. Set in the Northeast, unraveling the cause of the girl’s death coincides with growing anti-nuclear sentiment which escalates after highly radioactive steam escapes from the plant, forcing a mass evacuation. I wrote this book because I wanted to create a story that would be both intriguing about real people the reader could identify with while presenting the complicated, often hard to understand technology of nuclear reactors and the culture of the nuclear industry. As a journalist I reported on the aging nuclear power plant located 5 miles from my home. Since the plant had (and has) a history of accidents, as a parent I worried about what safety measures, and how the evacuation plan would work. My professional and personal involvement planted the seeds for the novel, Nuclear Romance.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? 
A: Nuclear Romance is my first novel and writing it took me about four years. I was regularly reporting on the Indian Point nuclear power plant for the New York Daily News when I started to write the novel. The challenge was the story line in Nuclear Romance would boomeranging off the latest news and swing like an energized pendulum, constantly changing and evolving.  With every turn of the creative imagination, the characters were forming and re-forming until finally, they became distinct voices, moved with their own body language, fell in love when they weren’t supposed to, got angry, sad, cried and laughed. As news stories broke about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima last year, I had to weave the unpredictable and fanciful story lines of my book with the raw, realism of the news. Sometimes it was like mixing oil and water.


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: I do not have a formal press kit just yet. I have made use of the many online social media sites. My blog, www.nuclearromance.wordpress.com, tells where you can buy the book, gives chapter excerpts and directs you to my relevant news articles, opinion pieces and other blog sites that feature my articles.  

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: Shortly after my book was published, I was interviewed by a few local radio stations. One such interview is on my web site: http://www.abbylu.com/media/show_2472721.mp3
An outreach to local libraries for me to present readings from Nuclear Romance are being arranged as well as to book reviewers and groups interested in the dangers of nuclear power.

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 do not have a literary agent, but I do have a publicist/agent: Steve Kent of Kent Communications. The age old model of using literary agents as an avenue to get published is dramatically disappearing because of the eBook revolution. For centuries some of the best writers have had to endure constant rejections by agents who claimed to know what would “sell.” JK Rowling is a good example. Although there are wonderful agents, writers wait six months to ayear just to get a standard reply without knowing if they are accepted, leading to deep frustration which, sadly, could squelch a writer’s spirit and a confidence to keep creating. Also, having an agent does not ensure getting published.
As a writer today you can self promote your book with a good amount of success via social networking, but it is considerably time consuming. I do a fair amount on my own to get the word out and understand that publicizing a book can be a full time job.


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: A media blitz was prepared before Nuclear Romance  was published and was a campaign that included outreach to radio and TV talk show hosts who were concerned with nuclear power issues, book reviewers and environmental groups that might be interested in posting information about the book on their websites. My already existing web site, www.abbylu.com was updated with information about Nuclear Romance, and there was considerable outreach to listserves, Facebook and Twitter which listed links to information about the book and where it could be purchased. 

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes. One has already started that, so far, seems to be headed in the Magic Realism and message genre.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Abby Luby. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Certainly and thanks for this opportunity to be interviewed. Readers can find me at:

They can purchase the book at:



http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/abby-luby/nuclear-romance/_/R-400000000000000523121

About Nuclear Romance

Nuclear RomanceIn Nuclear Romance, a debut novel by New York journalist and writer Abby Luby, the tragic death of a 7-year old girl – after swimming at a beach across from a nuclear power plant – sets off a chain of events that involve a sports journalist, an anti-nuclear activist, a grieving mother and her son.A young woman reporter falls prey to a callous plant executive whose job depends on keeping the multi-billion dollar nuclear corporation viable. Set in the US Northeast, the terrifying story that unravels the cause of the girl’s death coincides with growing local anti-nuclear sentiment. The tension escalates after highly radioactive steam escapes from the plant, forcing a mass evacuation.
This novel grips readers’ imaginations with the tension and fear that surround many of today’s nuclear power plants, especially powerful in the aftermath ofJapan’s recent and still unfolding nuclear disaster.

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