Spreading love

Spreading love

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Welcome.... Lisa Lipkind Leibow
Red Rose Publishing Author Lisa Lipkind Leibow took time from Memorial Day to drop by and discuss her latest book, Double Out and Back. The book will soon be released by Red Rose Publishing.
K.T.: What is your reason for writing books?
LLL: I write fiction. Most of my projects are book-length. I write novels because I tend to think on a grand scale and I love the challenge of weaving together a lengthy plot with large casts of characters. However, I write short stories, too. My short story, Lessons From a Squirrel can be found in the Winter 2008 issue of the Pisgah Review.
KT: What is your favorite genre to write about?
LLL: I don’t consider myself a genre writer. So, this is a difficult question for me to answer. Double Out and Back is mainstream fiction. It has some elements of historical fiction, multicultural fiction, chick lit, and dark romance. I guess if I had to classify it, I’d call it smart Women’s fiction.
KT: Tell us about your writing process?
LLL: 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.
KT: Who are some of your influences as an author?
LLL: I’m heavily influenced by what I love to read. I have so many literary heroes, I could write volumes on the subject. I’ll share a few with you here. 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.
KT: Do you see yourself writing books forever?
LLL: I’m not one to think in absolutes. I see myself writing until my muse stops courting me and until writing ceases to satisfy my need for a creative outlet. Since I can’t imagine when that day might arrive, I guess that’s as close to hoping to write “forever” as I’ll admit.
KT: What makes this book so intriguing?
LLL: What’s striking about Double Out and Back is that it explores from a literary perspective, some of the social issues faced by a generation that has more options than ever when it comes to starting a family. What fascinates me is that when it comes right down to it, even with the technological advancements in reproduction and healthcare, families still must rely on one another to thrive.
KT: Anything else you're working on?
LLL: I routinely share that I am 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.
KT: Give us an 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.
“Now? What is it?” she asked.
Summer untangled herself from him and pulled up the patchwork quilt. Jeremy swallowed hard, but still he said nothing.
Summer said, “Tell me. It can’t be that bad.” She combed his dark bangs with her fingers.
He cleared his throat.
“Jeremy, tell me. You’re making me nervous,” she said.
“Okay,” he said, “here goes.” He cleared his throat again, and then said, “Summer, I've never told you that,” his speech accelerated, “I’m adopted.”
“What?” she asked.
“I’m adopted,” he repeated. “That’s why I want us to have a baby so badly.”
She released a chuckle, feeling a great sense of relief. “That’s your big secret? Oh, Jeremy, you had me scared out of my mind.” She moved closer to him. “I was thinking, some horrible disease, or you used to be a woman,” she said and then laughed, adding, “I guess I wonder, though, why you didn’t tell me before.”
Jeremy’s face looked pale and tense. His normally sonorous voice became tinny. “I remember when I was five years old. Two neighbors from down the street, both mothers of big families. Between them they had nine children. They gossiped on the playground at my school while I was bouncing up and down on a seesaw with my friend. Maybe they didn’t know I was there, but I heard them clear as anything. They were talking about a local couple planning to adopt a baby and one said, ‘I would rather be childless than to adopt someone else’s problem.’ Problem! Can you believe it? I was only five, but I knew I was adopted. From that day on, I vowed never to tell anyone. It’s none of their business.”
Summer pressed her hand against Jeremy’s shoulder, guiding him to rest on the bed again. He didn’t budge. She kissed him and asked, “Adopted?”
“Yes,” he confirmed.
“So you’re telling me now? As foreplay?” she asked, laughing aloud.
Then he relaxed into a smile and said, “I know it may not seem like such a big deal, but it is to me. I really want to have a baby so I can know someone who is part of me. I want my children to feel certain they're wanted. Plus, I've never had the experience of knowing someone biologically related to me. You need to be sure, too.” He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. “I have no idea what’s in my genes. Hell, someday our kids could look like…like the jolly green giant – nothing like either one of us. You would wonder, right?” Jeremy retreated.
“That doesn’t matter to me.” Summer scooted closer to him. She contemplated how seriously Jeremy took this. How could he worry about this when having a child was years away? Summer felt positive she would be concerned about giving birth to a healthy baby when the time came, and not how much the baby looked like her or Jeremy.
Jeremy’s confession brought them closer together. He shared with her what he believed to be his deepest, most intimate secret. Jeremy smiled, revealing clean, white teeth. The top two front teeth overlapped just enough to make him look real, not like an airbrushed GQ type. Summer’s freckled nose rested against Jeremy’s nose. When she looked into his eyes from that vantage point, she spied his heavy, neat eyebrows. His chin felt smooth against her chin.
Jeremy smiled. “The thought of you having my baby just thrills me. We could have a son or daughter with your gorgeous eyes, silky hair, and my golf swing; or with your long legs, my black hair and flair for logic. It's phenomenal no matter how I imagine it. Plus, whoever our baby is, that little boy or girl will be the first person biologically related to me I’ll ever meet. It’ll be great.” He looked unsure for a moment. “Don’t you think?”
Summer realized that being privy to Jeremy’s secret – something that shouldn’t even have been a secret – added pressure to give her husband a baby, and soon. She stared at the window, unable to meet his gaze as she spoke. She hoped they could finally stop talking and get back to sex.
“I look forward to being the one to give you that dream,” she said.
Although she didn’t verbalize it, what she really meant was that she looked forward to it someday. This was not the first time he had pressured her to have a baby. So far she had been successful in postponing the baby question until after she graduated from law school, after she passed the Bar, and now she made the excuse of waiting to achieve partnership at Intamin, Whalom and Cobb.
Deviously, she distracted her husband from reproduction with seduction. She pressed herself against him and kissed him deeply. Over Jeremy’s shoulder, she peeked at her left ring finger, which showed off a spectacular oval diamond set in a platinum ring. It symbolized their love.
She took pride in being married to Jeremy, a handsome, intelligent man with a fantastic future at one of the largest CPA firms in the world. For her, finding a good husband had been as important a goal as making partner. With diamond and diaphragm firmly in place, even with their lips locked together, the corners of her mouth floated into a smile.
To learn more about me and my upcoming novel, visit me on my website, http://www.lisalipkindleibow.com/ and at Red Rose Publishing, http://redrosepublishing.com/bookstore/product_info.php?cPath=62_92&products_id=402


K.T. Bishop said...

Thank you for stopping by and discussing your book. I enjoyed the interview.

Obe said...

Excellent inteview. Lisa your crafting ideas are awesome. I know this will hit the best seller list in no time. Awesome congratulations on your debute novel!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! "smart women's fiction" sounds like a great tagline to use, Lisa! Can't wait to learn more about your book. When's it due out?

Fiona Vance

Sandy said...

K.T., you did a great interview.

Lisa, your book will be interesting to read. The subject is a tough one. My sister and brother-in-law adopted a baby girl expecting to give her a better environment than she would grow up in otherwise. At that time, they believed environment played the most important part in raising a child. It turned out genetics played a huge part in how a child turned out.

Their baby turned out to be a twin to her biological mother and step-sister. Their daughter is in her late thirties and they have to help her constantly. She is a high school drop out in spite of all the opportunities she had.

One of their daughter's has a Masters in social welfare, and the daughter has done very well, too.

Unfortunately, their adopted daughter's daughter (their granddaughter is like her mother)and even though my sister has talked and convinced her to stay in school and graduate from high school. She finally made it this year, but at the same she has had a baby out of wedlock.

Adoption can be risky, but I've heard some great success stories, too.

Katie Hines said...

I'm not a genre writer, either. I have a ya novel I'm working on and two chapter books as well as my middle grade novel, "Guardian," which is due out soon.

Lisa L. Leibow said...

K.T., Nan, Fiona, Sandy, and Katie,

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm having a great time here, so far!

Nan, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my crafting ideas. Maybe you found something new for your writer's tool box.

I might just use that tag line, Fiona. Thanks for the suggestion.

It sounds like a difficult experience. Personally, I believe nature and nurture work hand in hand. However, you might find it interesting to discover that "giving birth" via assisted reproductive technologies doesn't necessarily mean you are biologically related to your child.

Katie, it's nice to find another "genre-less" (is that a word?) author, here.

Thanks again for visiting. The novel is expected to release later this summer. Keep an eye out for it on the www.RedRosePublishing.com

Sandy said...


It was a difficult experience for the whole family, especially the other children. Their adopted was into drugs, sex, and booze. My sister and brother-in-law loved this child the same as their own, but it just wasn't enough. When she asked to find her birth mother they did that hoping that it would help her. She was living in a drug house, so they decided it wouldn't benefit her to meet her birth mother then. A couple years later, the birth mother was in a better spot in her life and they did meet.

I knew one parent wouldn't be related to the child in the reproductive proces. Does that apply to both? I would think it would depend on how they did it.

Lisa, I'm looking forward to reading your book

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Hi, Sandy.

Thanks for coming back for a second visit. To answer your question: There are many different options for couples and women dealing with infertility. Depending upon the option, a baby biologically related to one parent, the other parent, both parents, or neither parent. Among the options, Donor eggs, donor sperm, in vitro fertilization using a couple's own sperm and egg, as well as what I have called embryo adoption.

Even with all of these medical options, nothing is ever a sure thing.

I'm glad your looking forward to reading Double Out and Back.


Sandy said...


Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law are too old to want more children. They are busy with grandchildren now. Smile.

We had a neighbor use in vitro, and their son doesn't look like either one of them. They have brown straight hair and brown eyes. He's got blue eyes and curly black hair. Smile. He's a good kid though. He's tall and lanky, and in another few years he'll be a real heartbreaker. Grin.

K.T. Bishop said...

I thought this was my blog.

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Very funny, KT!

This has been a wonderful, lively discussion. I had a fantastic time visiting (and taking over) your blog for the Memorial Day Festival.

Thank you so much for having me. You have a great audience and you're a gracious host.

Take care,


Donna M. McDine said...

Terrific interview. Best wishes for your continued success. I especially enjoy learning about you interviewing your characters. Clever.

Donna McDine