Denise Liebig is the award-winning author of The Dear Maude Trilogy. A true fan of historical fiction, she spends her free time researching historical events and writing about the possibilities. Denise also enjoys spending time in the present with her husband and three kids.
Visit her website at: http://www.deniseliebig.com
1) First I want to thank you Denise for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing was what you wanted to do in life? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Hi, Jimmetta! You’re welcome, and thank you. It’s a pleasure being here. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and, when I was young, I dreamt of being a published author, along with a few other childhood dreams like being a nurse, a photographer for National Geographic, a cartoonist, and the list goes on. But, as I grew older, writing was a constant that followed me through college and career choices that finally brought me to where I am today, writing fiction. I guess the simple answer is writing. Not only do I love writing, but I’m compelled to do it. I think most writers would agree that once you get into a routine of writing, it becomes addicting.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
Sure. I’ve written a series of books called The Dear Maude Trilogy as well as a novelette called Remembering Skye. All of my books involve some form of historical fiction with a bit of romance, fantasy, and /or sci-fi thrown into the mix. I call it “Historical Fiction with a Twist.” You can find more about me and my books on my website: http://www.deniseliebig.com, as well most online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, etc.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you weave together and the characters that you have created? Is writing in historical fiction more of a challenge than writing in any other genre because of the accuracy that you have to have based on whatever time period you’re telling your story from?
My inspiration comes from my family experiences and the stories my folks told me when I was growing up. My dad was a WWII vet and my mom grew up during The Depression, so they shared many things about life when they were younger and how much different the world was back then. For my trilogy, I also was inspired by a silent film festival I watched in which the host spoke of how movie goers lacked the modern conveniences of A/C, comfortable seating, etc. The contrast of past and present fascinates me and is a big inspiration in my writing.
Absolutely. The research is really time consuming. Fortunately, I enjoy it and am a bit of a research nerd. Sometimes, though, I wish I could just write a straight forward, modern-day story. I tried that once, but it soon morphed into a time travel tale. I think my mind just works that way.
4) What does your writing routine look like? Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
Generally, I think about what I want to write while getting ready for my day. So, by the time I sit down, I have an idea of the direction I want to go. I don’t have a strict schedule yet, but I’m working toward it. I’m still a stay-at-home mom, so my days aren’t quite my own yet. They’re getting there, though.
No. I’m not an outliner. I might have a rough idea of the beginning and end of a story, but getting there is the fun part of the journey for me. Generally, it takes a few months for the first few drafts, but finishing it depends on the amount of research I have to do. It could take anywhere from six months to a year or more to go from first word to published book. I’m working on a ghost story, which is in the final research stage. I hope to have it out this spring.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally? Who is your favorite author, and what would be your favorite book of theirs? What book are you currently reading?
That would have to be The Education of Little Tree. It’s such a sweet story, and I loved Little Tree. It made me cry.
It’s a tie between Mary Stewart and Agatha Christie. Aside from their novels, I also like the story of their lives. Mary Stewart wasn’t able to have kids, so her books were her children. Agatha Christie’s disappearance has always fascinated me. I don’t have a favorite Agatha Christie book, but her Tommy & Tuppence novels are among my favorite. As far as Mary Stewart’s novels go, I have yet to read one I don’t like. The Crystal Cave was my first, so if I had to choose a favorite, it would be that.
Since I’m working on my current novel, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction, and I’m researching online. I don’t have anything specific that I’m reading.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Honestly, hitting the publish button for my first book, Dear Maude, has to be the most significant. It was the culmination of many years of research and writing. It was a great feeling to finally hit that button. Second to that would be the nice reviews and words of encouragement that I receive from people who’ve read my books. It always makes my day when people take a trip into the world I’ve created for my characters, then tell me about it.
I see myself writing and publishing more books, and, hopefully, introducing my books to as many new readers as I can. I’d also like to travel to new places and write about the historical aspects I discover along the way.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional publishing versus self-publishing?
It’s never fun, but I think that it’s been a good thing, and in most cases, a good learning experience. I don’t see rejection as a negative thing or a “No.” I just see it as a “Not now.” For an independent author like me, having a platform on which to publish my books has been wonderful. I appreciate being able to self-publish and gather a team of great artists, editors, and marketers around me to support and assist me in that effort. This industry is always changing, however, and we have to change along with it if we want to survive. As it evolves, I think the writers are becoming savvier and are publishing more quality books that are both affordable and entertaining. Marketing is huge and an important part of that evolution. I appreciate meeting people like you who support independents and draw attention to our work!
8) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
No. I don’t think it’s ever too late; in fact, I think the older the person is, the more experience and connections he/she has to draw upon. I don’t think so. I know many successful authors who didn’t start writing until they retired from their other careers.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and read back over your work just for the sheer joy of seeing how wonderful the story is that you’ve just created?
I’ve never tried to read my books for fun, and I don’t know if I could. It’s difficult to read my own stuff without being critical of it, wanting to make changes to it, or wishing that I’d written it differently. So, I don’t think I could read it for fun.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Good question. I haven’t really analyzed the “why” behind my writing or how it might represent me in some way. I write because I feel like I have characters that want to live, and it’s my job to tell their stories. While I’m writing, I put myself into my protagonists’ shoes. Then, eventually, they fall down some sort of rabbit hole and try to find their “normal” again. I think life is like that. Regardless of the hand we’re dealt, we’re all looking for love, happiness, truth, etc. My approach to their problems and resolutions lends my personal authenticity to the story, but I still feel as if they’re telling me their story, and I’m just the transcriber.
For me, writing is the best way I can communicate in a way that’s the most effective and makes the most sense. It’s not just an expression but a means of communication that, I hope, connects with people.