Monday, November 19, 2012


Today on NOVELS ON THE RUN I have an interview with the AWESOME, funny , LIBBA BRAY....Wooot!!!

Hi Libba, thankyou very much for answering my Q & A’s for me. I am Michelle from Novels On The Run, an Australian book blog. I have been doing my usual ‘nerd alert’ research into authors and the interviews they have already given. You have left no stone unturned. I love your vibrant personality that shines through almost 3D and your enthusiasm is very catchy.

I caught it. 

I have just plopped down the library and picked up Beauty Queens, I do LOVE the cover it is so appealing. Hubby was gawking at the kini ( we call bikinis’, kini’s when they are teeny, I was looking at the lip sticks all Ramboed up , very cool cover.

Your latest release, The Diviners, is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I have watched a lot of vids of interviews you have given and also you giving your spiel on Beauty Queens, complete with island background. I have read loads of interviews you have given. You have lived in many ways. I have learnt a lot from your words. 

Ooo, yes!
 You better believe it, the villain is eeeeEEeeeeeeeeep!
I bet this trailer got you all Curious George!

Ok, on to the Q & A’s, *whispers* just quietly I am rather nervous about interviewing you so I grabbed a quick gin with Evie beforehand. The girl knows how to accessorize with a hip flask.

Michelle:  What 10 words describe Libba Bray the author?

LB: Dear God, what is that weird woman on about now?

Michelle:  Beauty Queens the book was inspired from a lunch date with David Levithan. He called you up, had the idea , said the magic words ‘let’s do lunch’, gave you one sentence, and you ran with it, tucked it under your arm and Beauty Queens was born.

During my ‘nerd alert’ research I have come across many admirers of this piece of work you did. For those who haven’t read the book I can say it contains beauty queens, plane crash, survival, pirates and some guns. What song do you think best captures the book?

LB: The Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves by The Eurythmics. 

I do believe this is a perfect choice.

Michelle:  The Gemma Doyle trilogy you stated was a Victorian Buffy the Vampire Slayer, type of read. Well, just that sentence made me excited and intrigued. What paranormal character, be it vampire, witch, you name it , could you see yourself reincarnated into if that was possible, and why? Thinking about your own personality, what would be a great match for you.

LB: I suppose whatever supernatural character likes to eat snacks and make up nonsense songs to irritate family and friends.

Michelle:  The Diviners, I am absolutely entranced with this book. I have met some key players and your villain. OMG! This character is an uber villain. When writing villains, how do you bring out your inner villain?

LB: Why, Michelle…what makes you think it’s only an inner villain? * raises eyebrow * I think the most important thing to remember when writing villains is that villains never think of themselves as villains. They always have some justification for what they’re doing, some way of convincing themselves that what they’re doing is right and good and necessary. That’s what makes them so fascinating, because don’t we all have that capacity within us?

I feel like I need to throw in a , 'mwah ha ha ha haaaaaa' at this point, and rub my hands together.

1920's Cloche hat
Michelle:  1920’s the flapper era, speakeasies, parties, prohibition. I don’t know a lot about the 1920’s, nor have I read a paranormal book set in this era. Wow! I have been googling bits and pieces to see what they look like e.g cloche. I am rapidly filling my notebook ready for my review. The detail is beautiful and the writing and characters are entrancing. I take my cloche off to you. Evie is such a rebel for the era and the lads you have written, Michael, Jericho, Sam all different and captivating to read. How long did it take you to write this book? Your words are not wasted. I am loving it will be a 4 book series.

LB: Well, thank you very much. I started thinking about the book about four years ago. (Thinking and doodling and sketching things out is all a part of the writing process for me.) I was working on other books at the time, but the “back burner” part of my brain was adding thoughts/ideas to the DIVINERS pile. I did a little preliminary research on the 1920s and I read some of 1920s literature—F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker. About two years ago, I sketched out a basic storyline and a series Bible, so to speak—characters, basic storyline threads, character arcs, back story. That’s always a joke as I cannot outline, and everything I put down usually goes out the window once I start writing in earnest. But I guess I need a false sense of control to get started.

Then I dove into heavier research, toggling between research and writing as the story began to take shape and all of the surprising turns came up, as they always do. (This is why I tend to think of any form of outlining as a very fluid road map; I am, and probably always will be, someone who likes to write and see what form the story takes.) It took me about a year to write the book, and it changed quite a bit in the writing. Now I’m curious to see what surprises I’ll find in books two, three, and four.

Michelle:  Where were you and what were you doing when the idea for this book came to mind?

LB: There was no thunderclap moment. It sort of took hazy shape over a period of about a year—enough for me to want to stick with it. I will say that I had been very disturbed by a lot of what my country was doing post-9/11: illegal wire-tapping, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, the Iraq War, and I wanted to find a way to write about those things that I found disturbing and at odds with what America purports to be about. When I began to do the research on the 1920s, I found parallels between the politics of that time period and my own. That was probably the moment that crystallized my desire to write the series that would become THE DIVINERS. That’s as close as I come to a “thunderclap” moment, I suppose.

Michelle:  The research for the 1920’s in itself would have been quite a trip. Did you buy yourself anything from the era as a momento for writing The Diviners?

LB: Oh, you are a clever girl—you see right through to my crafty little heart. In the interest of “research,” I now own a flapper dress, some shoes, patterned stockings, and a cloche. Let’s just call it “Method writing.” is something I would do:)

Michelle:  Are you able to give us a non spoiler quote from book 2. No names necessary?

LB: Okay. I’ll play. Here’s a little something for you:

“Why, Lillian! Your manners,” Miss Addie tsked. She turned to the young man with a polite smile and patted his arm. “We’re keeping out the dead, my dear. For as long as we can.”

Of course, that could all change tomorrow. 

Woot!! Libba played:)

Michelle:  Going Bovine won 2010 Michael L. Printz Award. For those that do not understand this award, could you please tell us what it means and do you remember what you were doing when you found out? Congratulations !

LB: Thank you very much. Being awarded the Printz Award was a life-changing moment for sure. I’m still gobsmacked by it. The Michael L. Printz for Excellence in Young Adult Literature is a literary award given by librarians to the book deemed to be the best of that year. So I was very grateful and deeply honored that GOING BOVINE was selected for it.

I remember very clearly where I was and what I was doing that day. It was a very cold day in January. My best friend from Boston was visiting, and we had dragged our children to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see a photographic exhibit on rock ‘n’ roll. It was the last day of the exhibit, and it was incredibly crowded. The kids were cranky. I was trying to squeeze through and see these amazing photographs of some of my rock ‘n’ roll idols.

Now, I am notorious for never answering my cell phone. My husband says it’s pointless for me to own one. But I was expecting a call from a pal about meeting up for dinner and happened to have it in my hand when it rang with a strange number. I answered it to find Cheryl Karp Ward, the Chair of the Printz committee, on the other end telling me I had won. I believe my incredibly intelligent reply was, “Shut up! It did not!” And then I had to sit down because I thought I was going to faint. My son is looking at me going, “What’s wrong? Are you okay? And can I go buy something in the gift shop?” And I’m waving at him going, “Nothing. I’m fine. Yes, buy Bono. It’s all good!” I happened to be looking at a photograph of The Ramones. When I first moved to New York City, I used to see Joey Ramone walking around my neighborhood sometimes, and whenever I did, I’d always feel like that was a lucky day. So it felt very sweet and right to be staring at Joey at that moment.

Michelle:   If you had a magic phone that you could use to invite 4 people/characters fictional or non fictional to lunch you are curious to meet , eat burritos and shoot the breeze, who would they be and why?

LB: What a fun question! I’m going with:

1. Stephen Sondheim—Sondheim’s explorations of the human condition are always fascinating and deep. And he manages to do it in song.

2. Alan Moore—I love Moore’s insane creativity. And WATCHMEN is just brilliant.

3. Maya Angelou—I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS was a huge book for me when I was young. And she’s an inspiration.

4. Joss Whedon—Because he’s Joss Whedon.

Number 4 really does not need a reason :)

Michelle: I love Evie so much in The Diviners, such a spirited girl ( no pun intended with that hip flask) . What song says Evie to you?

LB: Funny, I was just asked this. But I’m going to give YOU a different song just to mix things up. Maybe Bessie Smith’s “Me and My Gin.”

Michelle:  I have to now ask a song that befits Jericho. I know it can be a little hard, but sometimes authors have something that springs to mind.

LB: Argh. Unfortunately, I don’t have something springing to mind. (Although I do make a playlist for every book that I write.) What song would you choose?

I have thought about it and I have trouble, maybe the readers could think of one. I was trying to think 1920's song, but then a modern one could do it???

Michelle: Your free time, you like to people watch, by yourself and walk around New York City ( I just want to visit NYC...dreeeeaammmm). Have you ever found one of your characters in your people watching?

LB: Yes! Once I was in a restaurant and I had the most fascinating-looking waiter. He seemed like a sort of Dickensian rock star to my mind: tall, rail-thin, heavily kohled eyes, and he had these amazing tattoos running up the length of the inside of his arms—macabre poppies on long stalks. I really wanted to know the story behind those tattoos. He became the physical inspiration for the Poppy Warriors in REBEL ANGELS. See? I’m not daydreaming and people watching; I’m RESEARCHING!

Michelle: You graduated from the University of Texas in 1988 with a degree in theatre. As a playwright you headed to New York with $600.00 in a shoe and a punchbowl. Have you written any plays? Would you in the future write one of your books into a play?

Beauty Queens could be a hoot, just sayin’ :) 

LB: Yeah…that punchbowl ended up being an end table for a few years. I just threw a towel over the box and put a lamp on it. I have written five-and-a-half plays. Three were produced and two were in the endless cycle of staged readings. Now they all take up space inside a drawer…which is probably where they should stay for the good of humanity. BEAUTY QUEENS would make a fun musical, wouldn’t it? I can just envision a number called, “My Boobs Are Fake but These Bullets Are Real, Sucka!” I’ll get right on that.

I think you should! I can see it in my head now. In the words of Tim Gunn on Project Runway, 'Make it work.'

Michelle:  Thank you Libba for your time and writing such wonderful YA stories. If you are ever in Australia on a book tour, head towards Queensland as after watching your vids with some of your signings, it would be a real treat to attend one of yours.

LB: Thanks, Michelle! It was a pleasure:) 


  1. I now want to check out Beauty Queens. Wonderful interview matey

    1. Thankyou...errrrr...did you check out the!!! in the vid:D


  2. Ha! Yes! I would have lunch with Joss Whedon too! (Who wouldn't, right?) Great interview :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  3. Man, Libba Bray is just pure awesome! What I wouldn't give to see inside the workings of her mind!

    Excellent interview Michelle!!!! You always write the most perfect questions----I never know what you'll ask someone next!

    1. Hi Rach,

      Thanks! Interview Q's are hard work for me. Love the answers I get from authors:D

      Thanks for dropping by!



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