Double Out and Back by Lisa Lipkind Leibow




About the Author:


Born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, Lisa had a flare for drama. As a child, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered on any given day anything from airplane pilot to zookeeper. She left her home town in 1984 to attend George Washington University in Washington, DC. She studied radio-television communications where she loved writing, directing, and performing, as well as public policy and regulation of mass media and telecommunications. After college she sought a "practical" career by going to law school.

Prior to pursuing the literary dream of novel writing, Lisa practiced law for over a decade, drafting legal briefs and memoranda much like the young attorney in her debut novel. This professional environment was the inspiration for the characters and settings in Double Out and Back.

After being stuck at her office on 9/11, a month-long siege on metro Washington, DC by a sniper, and discovering that the other parents at her twins’ preschool thought her au pair was her sons’ mom, Lisa could hear these words echoing in her ears. "If I knew this was what it was going to be like to have it all, I would have settled for less." (Lily Tomlin: The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe)

Lisa didn't really settle for less. She settled for different, and traded the billable hour lifestyle for fiction writing. Making up stories is much more fun than negotiating contracts, attending hearings, and deciphering statutes and regulations for clients. More than that, it has given her an excuse to pretend to be anyone from airplane pilot to zookeeper!

Lisa's work can be seen in the Pisgah Review. Her debut novel is scheduled to release in 2009 by Red Rose Publishing (mainstream fiction).

Lisa lives and writes in Northern Virginia with her husband, three children, a couch potato of a dog, and two red-eared slider turtles.

You can visit Lisa Lipkind Leibow at www.LLLeibow.com and http://www.lisaleibow.blogspot.com/

About the Book:

Not every woman who rides the fertility treatment roller coaster winds up like Octomom!

Who will find friends, family, and fertility?

Three women’s lives are intricately intertwined, as Amelia Schwartz and Summer Curtis struggle with the complex dynamics of intrafamily embryo adoption, and Chandy Markum strives to make her patients’ dreams a reality.

After more than a decade, of mourning her parents’ deaths, anal-retentive Amelia Schwartz decides to take control of her life, pursuing single motherhood via embryo adoption. While her fertility doctor, Chandy, is preoccupied with the destruction of the cosmopolitan Cape Town of her youth and her first love in apartheid-torn South Africa, believing all is lost, her niece, a young, married, overachieving attorney Summer Curtis, juggles zealous career ambitions, demanding bosses, and friction with her husband over family and fertility issues. They must confront the painful reality that, no matter what technology humans devise to manipulate reproduction, prolong life, and construct family units, they have not yet mastered control over their beginnings and endings.

Thrown all into this is one story that can make or break. Are you up to it?


I was lucky enough to get the author to agree to an interview. Here's what she had to say:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Sure! I’m happy to share a blurb about Double Out and Back.

Not every woman who rides the fertility treatment roller coaster winds up like Octomom!
Who will find friends, family, and fertility?
Three women’s lives are intricately intertwined, as Amelia Schwartz and Summer Curtis struggle with the complex dynamics of intrafamily embryo adoption, and Chandy Markum strives to make her patients’ dreams a reality.
After more than a decade, of mourning her parents’ deaths, anal-retentive Amelia Schwartz decides to take control of her life, pursuing single motherhood via embryo adoption. While her fertility doctor, Chandy, is preoccupied with the destruction of the cosmopolitan Cape Town of her youth and her first love in apartheid-torn South Africa, believing all is lost, her niece, a young, married, overachieving attorney Summer Curtis, juggles zealous career ambitions, demanding bosses, and friction with her husband over family and fertility issues. They must confront the painful reality that, no matter what technology humans devise to manipulate reproduction, prolong life, and construct family units, they have not yet mastered control over their beginnings and endings.
Thrown all into this is one story that can make or break. Are you up to it?


Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

I'm fascinated by the way construction of family-units is changing through technical advances in reproductive medicine and through evolving societal norms. When I was putting the finishing touches on this book and preparing to shop it around, Liza Mundy’s non-fiction work, Everything Conceivable came out. I was excited, because Double Out and Back explores from a literary perspective many of the same issues she examined as a journalist. Apparently, my publisher, too, was intrigued by these issues. I hope readers will enjoy the read.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My biggest supporter is my husband. He has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I agonized over leaving my law practice a few years back. He reminded me that nothing is a permanent decision. If I left and changed my mind, I could always go back. While he has always supported my writing efforts, respecting the time it takes from other pursuits, he used to view my writing as a hobby, likening my time at writer’s workshops and retreats to his poker nights and occasional trips to Atlantic City. I suppose, in a way, he was right, because he enjoys poker. Now that I have had some success, and my work has appeared in literary journals and the tremendous excitement over the publication of my debut novel, my biggest supporter is celebrating with me and urging me to keep writing.

Your biggest critic?

I am my own biggest critic. I could write and re-write the same story for my entire lifetime if left to my own devices. Every time I read one of my stories, I see ways to make it better, to tweak it, to enhance a character, a setting, to improve a phrase.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Over the years, American Heart Association, Susan B. Komen and Avon Breast Cancer Research, Parent Teacher Association, City Year For a Day, and causes that impact women, youth, family, and the environment, through volunteer efforts, walks, road races, servathons, and donations. However, in conjunction with my debut novel and its close ties to those dealing with infertility, I’d like to point readers to an organization called RESOLVE. It is a support group and information source for couples and individuals dealing with infertility. If you would like more information about how you can help, or how this organization can help you, please visit their website www.Resolve.org

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

One ritual I follow when finishing a piece of work is to record myself reading the piece aloud and then listen back to it. When I live with the prose day in day out for months (sometimes years), I become so close to the text, that reading aloud at one stretch helps me to slow down and find room for improvement. The added step of listening back to it helps to hear repetitions, adjust rhythm and pacing of the prose—that is, once I get over being annoyed hearing my own voice. After that, I persistently fuss over the text, obsessing until my editor tells me it’s time to let go.

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

The wonderful writers in my critique group have influenced me throughout my career as a writer. They inspire me, push me to improve my craft, give me great ideas to add to my writer’s toolkit, and amaze me by bravely sharing their own early drafts with me.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

My family is the most important thing in my life right now. After all, my husband and children are the ones I feel most guilty about neglecting when I get so lost in the fictive dream that crafting a novel induces that we wind up with take-out for dinner!

What are you currently working on?

I have several projects at varying stages of development. I am perpetually almost finished with a second novel. It’s a tale of modern feminism beginning in pre-revolutionary Iran—a land of contradictions, where mini-skirted women with college degrees face arranged marriages. In addition, the first draft of a young adult fantasy novel is awaiting my attention, and two or three other concepts are in the research phase, which means I’m reading everything I can on the subjects, conducting interviews, and visiting locations.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

My advice to writers: Focus on learning the craft, first. If you are writing fiction, have a completed manuscript, before you even think about approaching an agent or publisher. You have to write because you love to write. Very few ever can quit their day job for this.

I would also advise them to write some short stories, too. Not only will it help to have a smaller palette to work on and a chance to complete something on a smaller scale. It will also allow a writer to hone her craft. It’s a great lesson to learn that every word must count. Every detail focused on in the plot should serve a purpose. Learn to read like a writer.

If a writer starts to lose momentum on her marathon of novel writing, take a workshop, read a book about writing style, plotting, and character development – anything to get creative juices flowing again.

I advise any aspiring novelist to take the time to analyze the novels she loves. Deconstruct them to learn what makes them work.

Join a critique group. Not only will you benefit from gaining feedback on your writing and learning from other writer’s challenges as they tackle their own plots, but it will enforce a regular deadline to have another chapter or excerpt completed. It will help you to keep up the momentum. AFTER you have a completed manuscript or story, then and only then test the waters in the publishing world. You can’t market a novel manuscript you haven’t yet written.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

I’m heavily influenced by what I love to read. I have so many literary heroes, I could write volumes on the subject. I’ll share a few with you here.

I’m in awe of Alice Munro’s ability to sum up an entire lifetime in a sentence. I love the quirky characters of John Irving , the vivid, detailed descriptions of Ayn Rand, and the strong, pithy dialogue of Ernest Hemingway. I admire the character driven fiction of Julia Glass and the expertly plotted tales of Steven King. I admire the boldness of Barbara Kingsolver to tackle multiple, first-person points-of-view in one novel, and Amy Tan’s ability to carry me to a time and place I’ve never been and make it seem real to me.

What are some of your long term goals?

I have four novels in various stages of development, from percolating idea, to research and development, to manuscript-in-progress. My long term goals include completing these novels.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

So far, the completion and publication of Double Out and Back is my greatest achievement as an author. Crafting a novel is a marathon.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

During critiques of my works in progress, critique partners have been impressed with and complimented the vividness of my characters. Likewise, when I’m asked to provide feedback on another writer’s work, I usually can pinpoint areas where the prose can become more specific to the character being portrayed, and make suggestions to improve the narrative to reveal details about a character’s observations, and inner-world. So, I’d have to say that character development is my biggest strength.

Biggest weakness?

Early drafts of my work tend to contain too much evidence that I am a recovering attorney. Crossing over from writing legalese, to writing fiction proved challenging. I kept providing too much detailed information—drawing conclusions for the reader after showing a plot point in an active scene. I work hard to weed out these spots where I spoon-feed information to the reader and trust that the active scene speaks for itself.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

What’s striking about Double Out and Back is that it explores from a literary perspective, some of the social issues faced by a generation that has more options than ever when it comes to starting a family. What fascinates me is that when it comes right down to it, even with the technological advancements in reproduction and healthcare, families still must rely on one another to thrive.

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

Recently, my answer has changed to this question. I used to think I would bring my copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. But now, so long as I could rig some kind of generator to keep the battery charged, I would bring my Kindle! I would load it with not only the above volume, but with an entire library. The world of reading is changing. I’m ready for it!

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?

Definitely. Five years ago, I had just left my law practice, was struggling to get a handle on being a stay at home mother, finding a new community, and discovering that writing fiction was just the creative outlet and intellectual stimulation I needed. Today, I am rooted in a writer’s lifestyle, loving the flexibility it gives me to be a part of my children’s lives on a day to day basis, and finding success placing the stories I have written.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

The most important lesson I have learned from life so far is that :
Do whatever you can to achieve your goals, but realize that some things are beyond your control. This is the meta-message or theme of Double Out and Back.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

“Regrets? I’ve got a few. But then again, too few to mention…” Oh, sorry. That was a quote from Man of LaMancha. However, it is fitting for the way I view my life. I am an eternal optimist. I’m the kind of person who takes responsibility for my own happiness. I do have a bad day every once in a while, and I often wonder what my life might have been if I had chosen a different path. But, I can’t, with honesty, call these wonderings regrets. Instead, I see them as fodder for fiction.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

You can purchase Double Out and Back at http://www.RedRosePublishing.com and other and other e-book outlets, like Book Strand, Mobipocket, All Romance, My Book Store and More, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, and Amazon. Distribution of Double Out and Back is still in what I’m calling its “Sneak Preview,” e-book phase. The print book is coming soon. If you would like to learn more about me or my writing, visit my website at http://www.LLLeibow.com There you will find links to my individual blog, Lisa Leibow’s Fodder for Fiction, and my group blog, The Roses of Prose, and buttons to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

8 comments:

Laura Breck said...

Wow - great interview, Lisa! You've got a promising career ahead of you in fiction. Congratulations!
Laura

Donna M. McDine said...

Terrific intro and interview of Lisa. I enjoyed getting to know her. Best wishes for your continued success.

Regards,
Donna
Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Laura and Donna,
Thanks for helping me kick-off my month-long Virtual Tour with a bang.

I appreciate your kind words very much.

Enjoy the ride!

Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Lisa, it's always great to learn more about a friend.

Hugs,

Amber

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Thank you, Amber. I really appreciate you stopping by!

lmdrews said...

Lisa, Congratulations on your book release and a great interview! It's great to see a published book by a fellow Algonquin workshop classmate! I really liked your pointer about reading your novel out loud. It's something I did as well to improve the flow of certain sections in my first book - Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle. Even though it was released in August, I continue to do the same, though now I'm preparing for book talks. I read excerpts into a tape player to feel the rhythm and flow of the story before presenting them to the attendees. In addition, this process gave me the opportunity to make minor changes to my book when it went into its second and third print.
Lynda Drews
http://lyndadrews.com

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Thank you, Linda. This blog tour has been fantastic. I'm glad you decided to join in the fun. It's nice to see our writing and editing process can even help when it comes time to share the book with the public!

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Double Out and Back Virtual Tour '09 is coming to a close. I had a wonderful time. Thanks you, Zenasity for sharing your blog with me. I had a great time.

Thanks, to the wonderful fans who stopped by to read and comment.