Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Interview with Libby Malin, Internationally-renowned Humorous Women's Fiction Author


Q. Your book, My Own Personal Soap Opera, has been out for several weeks now. How has it been going?

A. Very well. I’ve been having lots of fun on my eco-friendly virtual book tour, and I’ve been receiving many positive comments from readers. Both of them. No, seriously, it’s been great, and I truly have been enjoying myself.


Q. Well, since you’re visiting this blog today, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

A. Thank you for asking. Not many people know my true personal story, so I'm happy to share it here today. It has great relevance to my journey as a writer.


I was born in a small village in the Hungarian Alps, orphaned at the age of five months and raised by vampiric werewolves. This is one of the reasons, by the way, that I cannot bring myself to write stories involving vampires or werewolves, no matter how much money is to be made in that field. I know, I know—authors are raking in dozens of dollars writing those tales. But for me, it would be a great sign of disrespect to my parents—Alpo and Nutella—to use their backgrounds as the basis for my profit-making. I salute the authors who write those stories, however, and mean no disrespect to them either. It is just not for me, given my upbringing.


I turned to writing comedy as soon as I could pick up a pen, which was difficult to learn considering my parents didn’t have opposable thumbs. Recognizing how their lineage could hold me back and realizing they couldn’t keep feeding me carry-out pizza purloined from the Magyar Pizzeria and Sub Stop at Buda-on-Pest, my parents sent me to a convent school at the age of seven where I learned . . . that the hills are alive. With the sound of music, no less. Who knew?


After graduation, I was heartbroken to discover that my complete assimilation into the non-vampiric-werewolf world meant I could no longer recognize my parents in a pack of wolves roaming the village. Crushed in soul and spirit, I hopped on a steamer in the Black Sea bound for America. It was a long trip.


Barely surviving a shipwreck on the Jersey shore and a subsequent mugging attempt on Jersey streets, I made my way east eventually settling in Pennsylvania where I lead a quiet writerly life, grateful for the solitude and the earthy smell of fertilized fields, which takes me back to the days of my childhood when Alpo and Nutella would carry me in a vampiric-werewolf baby tote (FDA-approved, of course) through the waving fields of Hungarian paprika plants.


Q. How did you come to write comedy and, in particular, a book featuring a soap opera head writer?

A. As you can tell, my life was hard. But there is an old French-Hungarian saying that explains much about life and how we vampiric-werewolf-raised Hungarians approach it. It has given me great comfort over the years. The saying is: Je vais cherchez du bon vin a la cave. Loosely translated, this means: Life is hard. One must laugh or one must cry. Laughing is easier. Drinking wine is good, very good. Very good indeed.


That saying has guided my life. As to soap operas, I became familiar with them at the convent school. We had a ham radio/TV setup in our dormitory. Many of the girls would gather round the flickering broadcasts coming from America telling tales of spectacular wealth and characters named Victor, Nikki, Rachel, Mac, Stefano, Hope, Bo, Kayla, Brooke and, of course, Luke and Laura. Oh, how we longed for that life and those names! It was only when I came to America that I learned these stories were not newscasts but fictional tales. I shrugged my shoulders, thought of that French-Hungarian saying, and began penning humorous women’s fiction, setting my latest novel in the world of soap operas. The rest, as they say, is history.


Q. What is My Own Personal Soap Opera about--is it your life, thinly-veiled?

A. If this blog could speak, you would hear me spitting with laughter right now. No, MOPSO is not my life--although at one time, I wished I could have been a soap opera head writer, like the book's protagonist. How proud Alpo and Nutella would have been then, eh?


At any rate, MOPSO tells the story of soap head writer Frankie McNally, who uses her show as her own personal message board to the world while dealing with multiple crises at work and home -- a leading man who broke his leg on Dancing with the Stars, staff members who all wish they were doing something else, a jewel thief imitating a story on the show, and two dashing men after her heart. By story's end, she has to decide what is most important to her in life and love.


Well, perhaps that last part is similar to my own life's journey. And, of course, there is my striking physical resemblance to the woman on the cover of the book.


Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

A. Hmm. . . well, I guess I’d like to say I’m very happy to be here. As a guest on this blog, that is. Very grateful. And I’d really, really, really like it if people would buy my books. Many people don’t know that actually buying the books helps authors live and write. It’s a crazy system, I know. But buying the books means authors get to keep itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy amounts of money, and the publishers might want to give the authors some more teensy-weensy bits of money to keep writing books. I’d really appreciate the support. More importantly, Alpo and Nutella would appreciate it. They are now in a Home for Old Vampiric Werewolves in Outer-Mongolia, and I am their sole means of support. I only get to visit them twice a decade. The trip is so expensive, and so grueling. I can’t think about it too much. It upsets me . . . Je vais cherchez du bon vin a la cave. . .

______________

Of Libby Malin’s My Own Personal Soap Opera, Publishers Weekly says: "Malin coaxes plenty of laughs. . ." while Booklist calls it, "a world of wit and chaos . . .smart and insightfully written."


You can win a free copy of MOPSO by commenting on this post. Libby will chose one winner from those who post something by midnight EST April 15, 2010. If your email address isn't part of your blogger profile, please put it in the comment to win.


For more information please visit www.LibbysBooks.com or her blog, www.LibbysBooks.blogspot.com. You can drop her a note at Libby_Malin@hotmail.com if you’d like to be put on her email list. Also, you can friend her on Facebook at Libby Malin Sternberg.

25 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lighted and funny read and I could do with something like that at the moment so please enter me in the giveaway if it is open worldwide.

    Thank you for the humourous interview and all the best to your wolves (oops, I meant parents, sorry).

    Carol T

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  2. LOL! Great interview, Libby, but I could spot the "itsy-bitsy" places where truth was stronger than fiction!

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  3. Thank you, my darlings. And I'd like to thank the Academy as well . . .

    I'm also appearing over at the This Book for Free blog today. It's amazing how one can be in two places at once in this virtual world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I bow to the goddess of humor.

    Brava! (well, I have to stand up to clap...)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for blogging with us today, Libby!

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  6. Very fun, Libby! So glad we got to learn more about your "origins." :)

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  7. It was much fun to write. I'm so glad I learned how to use my opposable thumbs.

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  8. No offence to any other wonderful writer who has blogged here...but that is the funniest thing I've ever read...and I thought I had a wild imagination!!! You got me beat! Alpo and Nutella, gotta love it! Keep up the good work, I'm off to the bookstore to find your Soap Opera!

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  9. Thank you, Jessica. And, as I said, Alpo and Nutella will thank you, too.

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  10. Alpo and Nutella would be so proud of you. I'll bet they are rolling around in the Mongolian dust, yelping their little heads off.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

    Kari
    gkw9000@gmail.com

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  11. Rolling around in the Mongolian dust yelping their heads off? Kari, you bring a tear to my eye thinking about such frolicking! But alas, Alpo and Nutella do very little rolling around these days -- that is, unless Alpo takes his very special pill.

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  12. Vampiric werewolves, I love it! Can't wait to read this book.
    Margay

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  13. Interesting post!

    My cousin is an Emmy award winning TV writer and has been for 30+ years. He got his Emmy for Days of our Lives.

    I enjoyed your post...but PA is west of NJ...I think!

    Ash

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  14. Yes, Ash, PA is west of NJ, which is why it took me so long to emigrate to this wonderful part of the country.

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  15. Can't wait to read this book! Will be heading to the bookstore later this week, and have been assured there's a copy waiting for me.

    If you see Alpo and Nutella, give them a scratch behind the ears for me.

    Tawna

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  16. ROFLOL! Libby, you need to post a "spew alert" at the beginning of your blog. I nearly ruined my monitor with Diet Pepsi!

    I'm sure Alpo and Nutella are the proudest vampiric werewolves in all of Mongolia (Inner or Outer and with or without Alpo's special pill)!

    Can't wait to read MOPSO!

    AC

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  17. As an old Hungarian actress, Sally VilleshFieldskaynovha von Buelergendov, once said, "You like me, you really like me." I am so touched, so very touched. I hope you enjoy MOPSO. And even more, I hope you buy MOPSO.

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  18. You crack me up, Libby! Can't wait to read your book and LOL some more. Cheers!

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  19. Hillarious! Thanks for the laugh! Here's wishing you (and Alpo and Nutella) all the best!

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  20. Alpo and Nutella! Thank you for that! I'm going to see if I can download your book to my e-reader. Right now. Must read MOPSO!

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  21. LOL Libby~ So sorry for my late response, but I was busy keeping my Canine Kid alive - he's doing better but still not quite out of the woods. I've never seen him sleep so much.

    Loved the post! You totally crack me up. Brava, girlfriend!

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  22. This unique and entertaining book sounds so appealing and special. I enjoyed this great interview and look forward to this story. rojosho(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
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