Interview with L. Darby Gibbs

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My family moved around so much, crossing the country three times by the time I was seven, so I am influenced by several parts of the U.S. I lived my early years in New England and almost as long in southern California as a teenager. Then I moved north with my husband and lived in the Northwest for several years. All of these places influence my writing. I love the woods of New England and the mountains of the northwest. I have many memories of New York City and can see myself building a story that could live in that city of abundant life. The rigor of the eastern seaboard and its puritan ethic is embedded in my psyche, and the relaxation and slow warmth of the west coast demands I look about myself and examine the world.
When did you first start writing?
I think every author writes at a very young age. I know I was telling stories as soon as I could talk. Words fascinated me from the beginning. I have loved to read since my elementary years. But I realized writing was important to me when I was in my teens. I wrote poetry all the time then, but never considered my writing to be professional. I felt that truly fine writing came with age and experience, and I didn't expect to become a "writer" until I had gathered enough material and skill. That kind of expression came in my thirties.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love ornery characters that challenge others to have backbone, to move forward in life when challenges hit hard, to think things through. Mick and Emily, a husband and wife team, are introduced in the first book, In Times Passed. They have a lot of influence on the other characters, but the two are not the main characters. In Next Time We Meet, Mick and Emily are front and center learning the ropes of living in a time more than two hundred years ahead of their own. They are also learning the art of the Jump and moving about in time trying to find a niche to call their own. Their strong characters carry them through the rough spots as they work to solve the mysterious disappearance of a man they never met who is important to the family and friends who live in the 2280s. Much of my father is in the character Mick. They both are sensitive, demanding men. Emily is what I imagine my maternal grandmother would have been like had I known her. She died just before I was born. But my father spoke of her often, a strong woman and a gentle lady.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Several things motivated me to become an indie writer: uncertainty, control, ease, desire, turning 50 years old. I am a quiet person, once very shy, and I could always talk myself out of attempting to publish my work. I like to do things myself. It gives me pleasure but also provides the means for me to take responsibility for how things turn out. I don't like having bad results that are the cause of someone else's poor effort. If I fail, it should be because of my actions. So when indie publishing arrived, it seemed designed just for me. I can control the production, the product and the marketing of that product. It is easy if one is willing to follow good advice and follow it down to the smallest detail. Indie publishing fulfills my desire to put my stories out there for others to enjoy. And then I turned 50 and realized, I had better get hopping on publishing, one way or the other. My books were sitting in my computer, so with no excuses to fall back on, I became an indie author.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is designed with the independent author in mind. It supports the writer with clear advice about how to prepare the manuscript for publishing, but Smashwords doesn't stop there. It offers marketing guidance, contacts for cover design, editing, formatting, etc.; nothing is left for the author to struggle with but his or her own writing. There is a community of writers that now fit in this indie publishing geography, and we help each other. I mentioned before that I was once very shy, and I still approach interaction slowly. Smashwords gives the most reticent author no excuse. Encouragement is part of their publishing practice. Who wouldn't feel comfortable when authors are helping authors, when the philosophy is about publishing, not about the business of me making profit from your sweat. Does Smashwords profit from my effort, certainly, and they should, but Smashwords makes sure I profit, too, and at full value.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When my first book went live, I grinned for days. That was joyful. But that happens at the end of the writing process. The greatest joy is in the writing, the interaction of characters in an original, authentic manner. Creation is a joy for me. I sit back in my chair and blow out the deep breath I just drew in and feel content.
What do your fans mean to you?
My readers give me affirmation. When I get a tweet that someone is reading my book and loving it, it makes my soul rattle. I received a tweet joking about poor Quixote's efforts to deal with Misty; what a fun moment it was to hear a character that grew from my writing receiving humorous sympathy. Fans of my writing provide the pat on the back, the shared grin, the breath of success every writer wants.
What are you working on next?
I just finished That's the Trouble with Time and am now embarking on my first fiction novel (I've been writing Science Fiction exclusively). My characters are three retired ladies who have supported each other much of their lives. They have suffered the usual catastrophe's of being wives, mothers and employees, but it is the events that come with the twilight years that give their friendship the greatest challenge.
Who are your favorite authors?
Robert Heinlein and Connie Willis. They hold my attention and make me think. But I could list numerous others. But these two are the first to come to mind.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Most of the time, I just have no other choice; work calls, bills demand I work, and the neighbors next door have five dogs which refuse to sleep past six o'clock. But when I have the choice to rise or not, the anticipation of a good story to read or to write will roll me out of bed faster than a ship tipping and slipping on the edge of a mammoth wave.
Published 2015-10-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

That's the Trouble with Time
Series: Students of Jump, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 115,930. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Book 4 of Students of Jump: When a student of jump taking his first solo time traveling assignment meets up with a determined renegade fighting the world government for freedom from oppression, he finds losing his jump unit is just one problem he has to fix, quickly followed by how he can protect his heart from being the next thing he loses, especially when she keeps throwing it back at him.
A Jump in Time Makes Three
Series: Students of Jump. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 212,630. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Save money by buying the Students of Jump series, books 1 - 3, in this box set. Book 1: In Times Passed - Brent jumps into the past to get away from his present. Book 2: No-Time like the Present - Misty takes the jump forward to face off with her time-traveling father. Book 3: Next Time We Meet - Mick and Emily organize their second honeymoon around a missing time jumper.
Next Time We Meet
Series: Students of Jump, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,450. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Recently trained to travel in time and set to take a honeymoon in the past, an anachronistic building contractor and his quick-witted wife find the leisure life lacks challenge, so they take on locating a missing and notably annoying physitech, placing them in the cross hairs of the kidnapping entity as they jump through time chasing clues both reliable and false.
No-Time like the Present
Series: Students of Jump, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 79,670. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
The abandoned daughter of a time traveler takes her skill of testing prototypes to their breaking point and applies it to a time jumper sent to check on her. Convincing him he must take her forward in time to demand answers from her father is easier than she expected, but finding herself instrumental in revealing what could bring her father peace and forgiveness will test her determination.
The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 10,730. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks is what I intended it to be: inspiration and framing for writing popular fiction based on proven plots and devices that create steps that are not just well formed but easily altered with new twists and turns. I have included worksheets following each framework to aid in plotting or examining.
Gardens in the Cracks & Other Stories
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 44,500. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Anthology of science fiction: 5 short stories and a novella. "Gardens in the Cracks" - Marga must come to terms with getting what she wishes. SCRAPPER - If you look deep enough, you can find a garden. "Riashu" - What is worth fighting for? "A Good Argument" - Man vs flying car. "Son Inspired" - A family business, a difference of opinion and plenty of time for things to fester.
In Times Passed
Series: Students of Jump, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 66,370. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
An accidental inventor of time travel takes his desire for anonymity back 200 years where his struggle to live as an average Joe demands he accept the expectations present at his birth and use them to recreate society and put into motion what he jumped into the past to avoid.