Monday, April 04, 2016

A.M. Leibowitz joins me for an interview.

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing A.M. Leibowitz, author of An Act of Devotion.

Hi, A.M., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

I’m an author and editor by day, a spouse, parent, and activist by night. An Act of Devotion is my fourth novel. It was inspired by the work many of my fellow activists are doing. I usually write literary LGBTQ+ fiction with relational themes (love, friendship, family). This is my first genuine romance.
Which of your characters gave you the hardest time about not following your initial plans?

In An Act of Devotion, it was AJ. I had conceived him as a confident, strong character whose actions were born almost out of self-righteousness. I think he hated me for that, ha! He didn’t want to talk to me at all. Interestingly, I chose to use that instead of fighting it. I went back to an earlier short story I’d written about him as a teenager, and sure enough, he was right about who he is. He ends up being the person everyone talks to, but he won’t open up with them, and it leads to the main tension in the novel.

What is the strangest job you ever had and have you used it in a book?

My jobs have always been pretty “normal.” However, I did use a lot of my own experiences as a graduate assistant in shaping Adam’s campus job in An Act of Devotion. A number of the tasks he’s assigned are ones I had to perform, and they were just as ridiculous as they sound.

How obsessive are you about small factual details in your stories? ie. do you research which side the gas tank is on in your hero's car of choice, before you have him fill it up...?

“Obsessive” may be an understatement. For Anthem, I spent hours (no exaggeration) mapping out public transportation routes in Boston and checking the times to make sure those details fit. In Passing on Faith, I have a character with hemophilia. For reasons, I was already knowledgeable about it, but I needed to get certain details right (such as whether or not a person could go swimming with a mediport). I’m working on a short story about drag racing, and I watched an old “educational” video several times.

What is the nicest thing ever said about your work in a review?

I had a reviewer thank me for not leaving the m/f scene off-page when my MC was bisexual. That was really important to me because while I understand M/M “purists,” I often feel like that can be at the expense of reality. Since I write realistic fiction featuring bisexual characters, I don’t want to gloss over those details—especially since there are still people who doubt bisexual men even exist.

If you had all the time and really informed beta readers to help you get it right, what characters or genre would you like to write that you haven't quite tackled yet?

I’ve never written science fiction, in part because I think I’d be lousy at it even though I enjoy reading it. But I suppose if I had endless time and a great beta reader, I might want to venture into outer space.

Thank you for such interesting answers to my questions A.M., I hope my readers have enjoyed it as much as I did and that they go and buy your book.

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