Friday, July 13, 2012

Libby Grandy Interview Re Desert Soliloquy

Hi readers and writers,
Libby Grandy has recently published a suspense novel, Desert Soliloquy.  Here is an interview with her about this new book, which I highly enjoyed.  Cheers,

LH: How did you become a writer, Libby?

LG: I loved English in school, but most of my writing was in the area of journalism. I didn’t attempt fiction until I was in my forties. I took a creative writing class and began writing short stories. One of those short stories became a novel, because I fell in love with the main character—Lydia, an eighty-year-old woman. 

LH: What is your favorite thing you’ve written?

LG: I have to choose my novel, Lydia, the second book in my women’s fiction trilogy. The character is a compilation of all the wonderful women in my life. I also loved writing the sequel to LydiaTrue Abundance. I plan to publish the first book of the trilogy, Promises to Keep, a ghost story, in the spring of 2013.

LH: You blog about writing a great deal. What kinds of resources will writers find on your blog?

LG: Writers will find suggestions about writing and marketing in my blogs, but I have full-length articles on my website. They cover subjects such as researching agents, critique groups, guidelines for first-time writers, self-publishing, writing tips, etc. Several of the articles have been published in Writers’ Journal, so I have to assume editors found them helpful. 

LH; In your novel, Desert Soliloquy, you keep the story grounded in the characters but at the same time, you weave in a lot of very current ideas about mining, industry, finances. How did you get up to speed on these topics?

LG: My husband and Google. My two best friends. My husband has worked in both law enforcement and aerospace and really helped with the central plot in Desert Soliloquy

LH: Do you outline your novel before you start or do you write in part to find out what’s going to happen in the story line?

LG: I write from “the seat of my pants,” and hope that the next chapter will come. It might not be comfortable for some writers, but I love not knowing for sure what is going to happen next. Sometimes it surprises me, and that’s always exciting. I worry about plot details after I’ve gotten the main story down. My weekly critique group often has invaluable suggestions.

LH: The setting for the story is in the desert, and I wonder if you used specific locales and buildings that you researched in the story?

LG: There is a renovated silver mining “ghost town” in the high desert of California. I fell in love with Calico the first time my husband and I visited the town. I incorporated the historical facts in regard to Calico into the novel. Anyone visiting the ghost town will recognize the locations from Desert Soliloquy.

I remember sitting in the town’s old cemetery around noontime, leaning against a tombstone, typing on my laptop. I suddenly realized a woman was staring down at me. She said, “Are you from LA?” I had to laugh. Apparently if you are sitting in the middle of the desert in a cemetery in the hot sun, on a laptop, you must be from LA. I explained I was from a small town thirty miles east of LA. I believe she was a bit disappointed.

LH: A part of the novel hinges on development of a love triangle involving the heroine. She is not a twenty-something but a mature woman. Did you encounter resistance to using a mature woman in this plot?

LG: Since the main character is a mature woman, the love triangle simply developed naturally. Young readers need to know that mature love can be just as emotionally and physically passionate as young love. The relationships between the two young characters and the older characters provide a window into both worlds.

LH: As in most suspense novels, sophisticated medical knowledge and weapons know-how were required to write the book. How did you learn about these topics?

LG: I wish I could say that I interviewed prominent doctors and military men, but the truth is, again, my resources were basically Google and my husband.

LH: Did you have an agent? Tell us about publishing this book.

LG: I have had two agents over the past few years, one for my ghost story, Promises to Keep, the first book of my women’s fiction trilogy and the other for my mystery, Desert Soliloquy. Both had been agents for many years and were sure that they would have no trouble selling the stories. Unfortunately, it was when the economy began to go downhill, and neither could get anyone to read the manuscripts. My agent for Desert Soliloquy was basically told that the companies she had successfully sold manuscripts to in the past were not reading work from new writers. Both agents have semi-retired, in the sense that they still represent their old clients but are not taking on new ones.

I have to say, however, it was a wonderful experience working with them. They were so helpful and supportive of my writing and my stories. The last agent pointed out a flaw in one part of the Desert Soliloquy plot, which was easily fixable. She also taught me to lose the unnecessary adverbs. I will always be grateful to her for that. I just recently talked to both of them, and they are thrilled that I’ve published Desert Soliloquy

Last year, I began researching self-publishing, using Mark Levine’s book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, as my guide. I finally decided on CreateSpace, and it has been a wonderful experience. I plan to publish one book a year with them for the next four years—my trilogy and the manuscript I’m presently working on.

LH: What tips do you have for the blog readers about marketing?

LG: I believe it is very important for writers to begin building their platform and brand long before their first book is published. Having a website and/or blog is essential. Join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all social media venues possible. Brand your name, not your book. Who is going to remember the word “soliloquy,” let alone be able to spell it? Hopefully, they will remember Libby Grandy when my other books become available.

Most of all, focus on the word “social” when you begin marketing your book through the social media. Use the venues to support other writers. Enjoy meeting new people through your marketing. 

This is a very exciting time for writers but don’t get so caught up in the marketing process that you forget to do what you love to do best—write!


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