Interview with J Libby

When did you first start writing?
The first thing that I remember writing was a re-write of Star Wars in which Princess Leia Organa is Our Hero. I was maybe eight and obviously already on the strong female character train. Before actually committing words to paper, there was a whole host of stories that existed in my head and that were regularly acted out using Barbie dolls, homemade paper dolls, and whatever action figures were laying around the house.
What's the story behind your latest book?
All This and Love is all about different types of love and how it gets complicated. In this case, it's complicated by everything from zombies to werewolves. The anthology started as a couple of submissions for a Halloween anthology, and when that anthology didn't get published I used the shorts as starting points for creating a collection of my own.

With the exception of the werewolf story, which was kinda requested (thanks, Helen), the type of paranormal creature encountered in any give story was very incidental. I didn't plan on what to write. It kinda happened. Except for the lack of vampires. I left those out on purpose.
Why no vampires?
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE vampires. Cut my teeth way back in the day on P.N. Elrod and Anne Rice. Unfortunately, vamps lately have gotten a little too urbane. They're all pretty and broody and tormented and super hot. Not that I mind pretty, broody, tormented, super hot vampires (I'm also a huge fan of BtVS and Angel), but there's no story there that I want to tell. Now, I do have some ideas for a few old school, Nosferatu type vampires. Something that really deals with what's monstrous about vampires, and treats them as inhuman and alien a la 30 Days of Night.
What are you working on next?
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is fast approaching and I have two partial novel outlines that I'm weighing. One features Briar Tracey, the heroine of "this, too, like water and memory," and features her crazy twin sister, Alice Ann Song. It's a story about sisters and loyalty, and relationships. Is blood really thicker than water? How do we create and define families? It's in the lead on the list of Things To Write, but there's also a novel about a smart mouthed psychokinetic, and another anthology of short stories, this time based around the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
Who are your favorite authors?
My taste in books is wide and varied. On the list of authors I will always read no matter what they write: Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Nikki Gemmell, and Linda Howard. I grew up reading romance novels (from the time that I was in middle school) and they impact my reading and writing habits probably more than I realize. That said, back in the day it was all about Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. As I've gotten older, I love Tessa Dare, Theresa Mediros, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jennifer Crusie.
Describe your desk
Right now, it's my lap or the coffee table or a storage bin turned upside down. Usually that means that there's also a pile of paper, revisions and notes and research scattered on the floor at any given time. My goal is to have a real desk. The plan is for that to happen sooner rather than later. I'm not confident that will reduce the paper trail around my desk, but it will definitely be easier on my spine.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Watts and South Central Los Angeles before we moved to Carson, CA when I was 14. Because of where we lived I read alot. It was my way of escaping my surroundings. I read anything and everything that I could get my hands on. In fact, I remember more about the books that I read as a child than i do certain parts of my childhood.

Mostly I read sci-fi and fantasy because what I wanted was to read things that were as far away from the reality of my neighborhood as I could get. My taste in literature definitely affected my taste in pop culture, so that the things that I loved were heavy on the sword and sorcery, space opera. All of that definitely infiltrated my writing habits. I go first towards those "not quite normal" stories. I mean, I see reality every day, and although I'm miles away from the neighborhoods I started in, I still prefer to read and write about things that really pique my imagination.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It's a confidence thing on the one hand. I don't think that traditional publishing has a place for me or the way that I write. On the other hand, it's a bullet point on my bucket list. It's a real challenge to break into publishing, and I wanted to publish before I died! The emergence of e-readers and the self-publishing markets create so many options for readers and writers alike. There are many niche genres that traditional publishing doesn't know how to or aren't willing to handle (interracial romances, for example) and self-publishing is an excellent way for those alternate literature to get out there.

My best friend's sister and mom read many small, self-published authors and they LOVE them. The stories are non-traditional, but like many things on the internet, there's an audience for them that the mainstream is unaware of. I have a friend, another writer, who has also done a self-pub and I thought, hey, why not me, too.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love reading. And I read across a lot of genres. I basically read whatever sounds interesting. I also love TV and movies. Joss Whedon is my hero, and I was a huge fan of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Kdramas (Korean dramas) are also a HUGE fave of mine. I got hooked quite accidentally a few years back when I was flipping through the TV. Coffee Prince was the second drama I ever watched and became the gold standard. Han Kyul and Eun Chan forever!!!!

*ahem*

So, sci-fi/fantasy television. Yes, I love you Star Trek. Although I had a huge falling out with Sci-Fi (now, Syfy) channel when they cancelled Farscape, so I never got into BSG. I have watched a few episodes and if I ever get a chance to settle down and watch it, I have a feeling that Battlestar Galatica is going to be HUGE for me. Let me also mention that I have a weakness for Rom Com's (Yes, totes adorbs!) and cartoons. (I will be a child forever.)

I try to carve out time to go to the gym. Spinning, weight training, and yoga are my favorites.

Despite all of those solitary activities, I also have friends and I love hanging with my peeps having good conversations, drinking beer and wine.

Travel owns my soul and if I ever made the writing thing work (or won the lottery), I would live in a million different places, exploring during the days and writing during the night. Collecting passport stamps would be my other hobby if it weren't so damned expensive.
Published 2013-09-15.
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Books by This Author

All This and Love
Price: Free! Words: 22,210. Language: English. Published: September 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Love in many flavors takes center stage in All This and Love. From a wolf hunt in the catacombs beneath an unnamed city to the last kiss shared by a fallen angel and his immortal, human lover, love gets complicated by some of the things that go bump in the night. Explore lust, betrayal and star-crossed romance in five short stories in J. Libby's debut collection.