July 30, 2007

3Q with Deborah Leblanc (we were neither of us math majors…)

Hey guys – I am in Birmingham with a minor family emergency so will be out of pocket for a few days. Allow Deborah LeBlanc to entertain you in my absence; her latest release is Morbid Curiousity, and tra la la there is a BOOK TRAILER for it! I love watching those dern things---YouTube for Lit Junkies. You watch it by hitting the PLAY button on the very front page of her webpage.

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

DL: I think the cover is perfect for the book. It’s dramatic, certainly eye-catching, and depicts the contrast between assumption and reality.


JJ: Your main character seems to be nothing like you. After all, your protagonist is a dewy 16, and you are the slightest bit older than that…What DO you guys have in common or, if nothing, how'd you manage to inhabit shoes so different from your own?

DL: Although I am way beyond 16, I still remember that horrid age .The societal issues that were relevant then haven’t changed over the years. My biggest challenge was getting the rhythm of the girls’ language and interaction with friends to ring true. To make that happen, I drilled my three daughters for details. 

JJ: A lot of writers read this blog how did you…find an agent?

DL: I found mine by querying 52 agents in the Guide to Literary Agents and Publishers

… sell that first book?

DL: Let the agent sweat those details. 

… come to realize you wanted to pursue writing as a career instead of a personal passion or a hobby.

DL: I do all three, so it’s all good!

JJ: What's a day in your life like?

DL: Out of bed by 5 a.m—inhale coffee—at the office usually by 6—go through emails, check to-do list, take care of the priorities for the day—and write/research in between.—back home around 6, slam dunk dinner, talk to my daughters on the phone to check in…write until 9 or ten—then collapse in a heap.

JJ: You write page turners with a supernatural edge, and action is your specialty…I hear you have trouble with your Joe-Schmoe-makes-breakfast scenes. How do you approach writing about the every day dull stuff that happens between action?

DL: To me, the hardest thing to write is about every day folks because lives can truly be boring. I just have to make sure that average Joe winds up in a not-so-average situation to keep things moving at a good, fast pace.

JJ: As a Southern writer, I think everything is about locationlocationlocation. How did growing up in Louisiana influence your work?'

DL: My Cajun heritage and the culture are so filled with unique folklore and special quirks, it’s easy to make the setting and the people in it colorful.

JJ:How important is location to you as a writer, or, a better way to say that might be, could these books be set anywhere else?

DL: My books will probably always have a Cajun flair to them. I might be able to set the story in Chicago, but the main character will probably revolve around a Cajun visiting that city.

JJ: What writers influenced your work and how and why?

DL: I enjoy Jodie Picoult’s work because she’s remarkable at characterization—James Lee Burke because his depiction of ‘Southern” is spot on—and Dean Koontz simply because, to me, he knows how to tell a good story.

JJ: Good choices….I just went on a Picoult backlist marathon--- she had several I had not read and I tore through three in a row. I know you blog both on your own website and on Murder She Writes. Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?

DL: I’ve been told that readers enjoy insight into the lives of the writers they read….so I blog…but it does sap a lot of energy out of me. Besides, I prefer telling a story over talking about myself any day.

JJ: Can you talk a little about the significance of your title and how you came up with it?

DL: The title of my books always come to me before the story is fleshed out in my head. In fact, the titles usually help mold the story. We all carry some form of morbid curiosity, (if we didn’t, we’d never have to worry about rubber-neckers at accident scenes!) so I thought it would make for a catchy title.

JJ: What's the weirdest thing you have ever done to try to promote your work or get the word out about a specific book?

DL: Was interviewed in a voodoo bar, cameras, lights, makeup, the whole ball of wax, by a television host.

JJ: How did you research the magical systems in your latest release? Books and google? Or did you get hands on?

DL: Most of my research on Chaos Magic and sigils was done over the internet, which in turn led me to people who actually practice it, and I was able to interview them in depth.
JJ: Do you think of yourself as a Southern writer, and what does that MEAN to you?

DL: I think of myself as a Louisiana writer, which is a bit different than being a Southern writer. Cajuns have a different rhythm to their language and lifestyle, in my opinion, than a typical Southerner. You know, now that I think about it, though, I don’t know that there really is a typical Southerner. Folks from Mississippi are certainly different from those in Georgia, and those from Georgia different from folks in Alabama….You’ve gotta love that great hodge-podge of nuances!

Posted by joshilyn at July 30, 2007 8:36 AM

Amen, Deborah - I don't believe there is a typical Southerner although we have some common characteristics. Besides the differences among Southern states, even folks in parts of Alabama are different from folks in other parts of Alabama and I'm sure that's true for Louisiana, Missisippi and Georgia as well.

Joshilyn, I hope your family emergency is indeed minor and mainly provides a good excuse for visiting.

Posted by: Deborah P at July 30, 2007 12:20 PM

Deborah and her books rock. I look forward to this one too. And check out Murder She Writes, it's one of my favorite blogs.

Posted by: Cele at July 30, 2007 12:24 PM

I hope your family emergency works out with all well.

I love sense of place in a book. I like to feel like I now know a place I've never been before in real life a bit better--I get that especially strongly in your books, Joshilyn. I'm getting a better appreciation of my own place as I get older, too. It's not Southern, but it is loaded with unique culture that quite possibly is incomprehensible to an outsider.

Posted by: amy at July 30, 2007 12:48 PM

Am I the only person that went and googled "Chaos Magic" immediately after reading this entry?

It's absolutely fascinating what happens to physics once it leaves the domain of science and gets dropped into popular culture.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at July 30, 2007 1:04 PM

Hope all is well Tulip...

Posted by: Amy-Go at July 31, 2007 2:03 AM

Joss, I hope things are ok with your family.

Deborah, the book sounds good!
PS...Me too re: Koontz.

Posted by: DebR at July 31, 2007 9:38 AM