Q: Hello, Ms. Leibow, and welcome. Please briefly introduce yourself.
A: Hello to you, too. Please, call me Lisa. It’s great to be here. For quite some time I’ve been introducing myself as Lisa Lipkind Leibow, recovering attorney/aspiring novelist. Now that my debut novel has released and hit the Red Rose Publishing bestseller list, I get to delete “aspiring” and move things around a bit. My new introduction is, “Hello, I’m Lisa Lipkind Leibow bestselling author.” This has been a very exciting time!
Q: You’re currently on virtual tour with your book Double Out and Back. Will you tell us about the book?
A: I’m thrilled to share the blurb for Double Out and Back. Thanks for asking.
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?
Q: Double Out and Back has the huge focus of the rollercoaster of fertility treatments and embryo adoption. What brought about this subject being so special to you that you wrote a novel about it?
A: My husband and I rode the roller coaster of fertility treatments together with a great outcome. However, as we underwent treatment, I listened carefully to every warning and statistical possibilities our doctors shared with us. Since I have a vivid imagination, I started to wonder about what it would be like if everything our doctor warned of actually happened?
I wrote Double Out and Back because as I pondered the possibilities, I became curious and fascinated with the sociological and societal impacts of assisted reproductive technologies. There are so many different ways we can start families these days, ranging from good old fashioned sex and adoption, to artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and donated eggs, sperm, or embryos. Children may grow up in homes with a mother and father, single parents, or same-sex parents. Women can give birth to babies not biologically related to them, and the list goes on. I wanted to explore these issues from a literary perspective.
Q: What kind of research did you do for your book?
A: Let’s see, my novel is complex. Infertility is just one aspect I needed to research to ensure veracity. Readers of Double Out and Back will be transported to several settings including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Cape Town, South Africa. They will be introduced to characters with diverse careers including law, medicine, marketing, and winemaking. To make the infertility-related experiences believable, my research included reading books and periodicals, interviewing experts and those who have undergone treatments for infertility or who have adopted children, and participating in on-line discussions at various support groups like the ones at www.Resolve.org.
To bring my settings to life, I visited locations in the U.S. However, I created much of the world in South Africa by gleaning information from books, internet research, virtual tours, travel guides, museums, and interviews with South African immigrants in the U.S. I hope I’ll get to visit South Africa soon.
Further, I have the huge advantage of living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress, as well as a multitude of university libraries provide collections of information without parallel in the world. I’m lucky I’m able to access information and view artifacts to stimulate both my intellectual curiosity and my muse.
Q: What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?
A: From a book-lover’s perspective, I hope my characters will live on in a reader’s mind long after they turn the last page. Personally, I define a good novel by whether I experience an indescribable emptiness as I reach the last page—not wanting the story to end. My goal was to craft a novel that would evoke that feeling. From a thematic perspective, if there is one lesson for Double Out and Back to teach, it would have to be, do whatever you can to achieve your goals, but realize that some things are beyond your control. This is the meta-message of Double Out and Back.
Q: Will you tell us a bit about your decision to change from the nine to five life to the fiction writing life?
A: Ha! Perhaps if practicing law were a mere nine-to-five job, I would never have made the change!
All kidding aside, different professional-life/family-life divisions of responsibility have worked well at any given moment in my life. While I was a mother-of-one, and an attorney, day care suited my family fine. My husband and I took turns working late and coming home in time to pick up our son. Once the twins came along, we opted for a live-in Au Pair. This gave us more flexibility and some extra help around the house for our busy family.
However, a series of events over which I had no control prompted me to reevaluate everything I ever thought I wanted. First, I was stuck at my office on 9/11, drove home that day with a clear view of the smoke-filled sky over the Pentagon, and in the aftermath, commuted to work past tanks patrolling the streets of our Capitol.
Right on the heels of this tragedy, anthrax scares spread across the nation, not only frightening everyone around, but severely impacting the means and ability to easily transport pleadings and other documents to and from courthouses and government agencies, as well as the way I opened my own personal mail at home.
Just when the world seemed to approach normal, Washington, DC suffered during a sniper’s month-long siege on the area. I was living in a world gone mad. It was around this time, I attended an event at my twins’ preschool, where the other parents thought my au pair was my children’s mother. Ouch!
All of these events compounded, weighing heavily on my mind. I agonized for over a year about what I should be doing with my life. My husband finally said to me, “If you want to try to stay home, then try it! Nothing is a permanent decision. If you miss practicing law, you can always go back.”
I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom. However, here I was. While I loved working as my children’s new au pair, as they viewed it. I craved intellectual stimulation and a creative outlet. I started to jot down ideas that grew into character studies, developed into vivid descriptions, and blossomed into plot-explorations. Soon, my muse started shouting, “write-on!” There was no turning back.
I’m glad I travelled this path, because the fiction-writing lifestyle provides more flexibility to spend time with family. Moreover, making up stories is much more fun than negotiating contracts, attending hearings, and deciphering statutes and regulations for clients.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Sure. Double Out and Back is available now at www.RedRosePublishing.com 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 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.
Also, if any of your readers plan to be in the Albany, New York area on September 12, from 1:00-3:00 in the afternoon, stop by to join me and other select Red Rose Publishing authors for a book signing at Borders Books in the Crossgates Mall. It should be a blast!
Finally, I can’t thank you enough for having me as a guest here. I really enjoyed this Q&A.
Q: Thank you so much for your time. Best wishes to your success with Double Out and Back.