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 Time on My Hands, 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 am working on the third book in my series Students of Jump, Time on My Hands, which features Mick and Emily who both appeared in the first two books as supporting characters. Renwick is the third important character in the work, and he debuted in the second book, No-Time Like the Present. The novel is fully drafted and going through a redraft. I am about half way through and expect to have it published by July 2014.
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 2013-09-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

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
Mick and Emily Jenkins search for a missing family friend they've never met and his kidnapper. Using a jump unit to trail Renwick Cray through time, the husband and wife team find they need each other's support more than ever, and maybe a time machine, a new heart, and immunities against disease are not enough armor to protect them from flying bullets, interference and the secrets they must keep.
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
Misty waited thirteen years for her time-hopping father to return. She went another seven years forgetting he ever existed. Misty's aunt and uncle raised her, and Uncle Mick, who believed even harder than she did that Brent Meredith would return, is dead. Then Quixote Cervantes knocks at her door announcing he was sent by her father, and Misty is determined to face the man who abandoned her.
The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 10,730. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
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: $0.99 USD. Words: 66,370. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Brent Garrett has felt manipulated by his mother since before he can remember. When he unexpectedly turns a prototype Nerg box into a time machine, stepping out of her reach and into a time without expectations is his brand of change. Meeting Miranda Jenkins, a painter who gives him temporary sleeping rights to her couch, is just the beginning. Unfortunately, even a time jumper runs out of time.