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 At Any Given Time, the fifth book in the Students of Jump series. I've been working on a fantasy novel between edits, so I'll be focusing on that novel full time. At this point, I think it is a standalone novel. It has a misunderstanding, a negotiation, palace intrigue, magic and an interrogating dragon.
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 2018-03-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dira's Dragon
Series: Solstice Dragon World, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 109,500. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
If you keep track of every nuance of his word choice, bargaining with a dragon holds no concern. But Dira learns too late one should consider even the smallest reference before agreeing to a binding contract with a dragon. Brundar assures her increasing her skills in survival was a deliberate focus in the negotiations. What negotiations? It was all of a two-minute discussion!
Dragon Bone Ridge
Series: Solstice Dragon World, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 130,740. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
When Nyle invades Maribelle's nap at Dragon Bone Ridge with a request she locate his missing dragon parts, she's hard to convince. His request will have to join her currently growing list: keep Lady Cadris entertained, maintain the account books for father’s store, and figure out why there's a young man watching the customer traffic entering their shop.
The Dragon Question
Series: Solstice Dragon World, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 118,120. Language: English. Published: August 31, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
The Dragon King is dying, all for want of an answer. Researcher Shennon Trelor, intent on hunting out the reasons for a long-standing war, never expected to be dragged in front of the terrifying king to answer the question that might save him. But the Dragon King doesn't know what question to ask, any more than Shennon knows how to answer. Time is running out. Which question? Which answer?
At Any Given Time
Series: Students of Jump, Book 5. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 73,620. Language: English. Published: March 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » General
When a time traveler finds herself stuck in a 17-century Sicilian catacomb, she must extend her stay pretending she’s a Capuchin brother. Leaving a hint for the retrieval team to find her was easy compared to dealing with a stalker who thinks she’s horning in on his territory, her custom-engineered companion’s sulky behavior & the S&R jumper who decided to try out his new prototype for her rescue.
The Heart of Lal
Series: Standing Stone, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,850. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Wielder school’s out for the summer, but Jahl, Donya and Rouen can’t seem to get a quiet moment anywhere. Jahl’s certain Donya is up to some sort of mischief. Rouen has received a mysterious package from the young twai wielder they met in Carolan Faire last year. Soon the three friends are racing along the Naigan River. From there its one mad dash after another. Read it because magic is twisty.
The Shifter Shard
Series: Standing Stone, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 110,430. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Romance » New adult
Wielder Pratter agrees to travel to Carolan Faire to pick up an apprentice whose master died suddenly and bring him to the wielder school. Simple enough until he learns that wielders are being attacked, their powers of wielding essence stolen from them. Before he can even get his first night’s sleep in the dead master’s house, someone enters through the locked doors. By noon, no one is safe.
The Sharded Boy
Series: Standing Stone, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 114,270. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Jahl Pratter can tap into the magic essence in An Faire stone like blood from a vein. Wielding it could just as easily lead to the end of all wielders.
That's the Trouble with Time
Series: Students of Jump, Book 4. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 116,520. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Quinn Riley needs to be approved for his solo time jump. He’s selected his grandmother’s best friend, a woman who went missing after her last mission. Sarra Marsh has a busy life avoiding the pSychSo officers and generally making life difficult for the oppressive government the renegades are trying to overthrow. Quinn has to survive his solo time jump. Is it worth it if Sarra doesn’t?
A Jump in Time Makes Three
Series: Students of Jump. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 212,930. 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: $4.99 USD. Words: 77,390. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Give a man a new heart, a forty-year-old body and a time travel machine, and he’d go after Genghis Kahn. Pearl Harbor 1941, the epidemic of 2074, the Great Exhibition of 1841, the Romantic Road…. Mick had an agenda. It might have been easier to go after Kahn, but beggars can’t be choosers. Read the third installment of the Students of Jump because it’s the heart behind every act that counts.
No-Time Like the Present
Series: Students of Jump, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 79,990. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Misty never was one to go along with anyone’s plan. Poor Quixote, he could see the swing heading his way, and he didn’t even duck. He always was a sucker for a woman in distress. “If you’re not here to make things better, than don’t be coming around in the first place.” “You aren’t part of the plan.” “The plan doesn’t exist without me!” Read this 2nd book in the Students of Jump series.
The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,790. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks contains nineteen frameworks, broken into three types: • traditional (ex. dream vision) • fairy tale (ex. sleeping beauty) • character-design (ex. code hero). Each framework is followed by a worksheet to help the writer develop the initial idea into a plot. Included in each description are suggestions about how to tweak for freshness.
In Times Passed
Series: Students of Jump, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 62,790. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
Time is the answer, but Brent didn’t know that. With a bad habit of making adjustments to machines bearing patent protect seals, he was bound to get caught up in a moment. He claimed he intended to build the time machine. Liar. But it offered a way out. A timely escape. The landing was easy, the walk, a pleasant spring time in New Hampshire, but it was the woman that changed everything.