Barbara LeBey [barbaralebey]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I can't recall the first books I read, but early on I was a reader. I read all the Nancy Drew books available at that time, and then went on to abridged versions of the Classics.
I guess I'd have to say my first writing that others read were legal opinions from my days at a large corporate law firm and then my judicial decisions when I was on the bench. Finally, I wrote my first book, FAMILY ESTRANGEMENTS, and then my second book, REMARRIAGE WITH CHILDREN both published by Random House.
There were many readers of both my judicial decisions and my books, countless numbers of people because both books were reviewed favorably and both were in the top 50 on Amazon when they first were published.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I love to read both non-fiction and fiction. I am an avid reader of political commentary, thrillers and history.
Here are sites where you can find my work:
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I am thinking about the topic I want to explore. I am talking about it, reflecting on it, and finally I am at that big white blank page. Recently, I wrote a screenplay: ABUSE OF POWER. I hope it's made into a movie. Right now it's about to make the rounds of producers in Hollywood.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Anything that is good makes me feel that I want to meet the challenge and write something I want to say and to do it in my best prose.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
That's too easy. Conflict, suspense, action and great characterization.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Personally, I am most comfortable with third person. Actually, I need third person to show all aspects of a story, action taking place where the prime character may not be present.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Scott Turow, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, Daniel Silva, Camille Paglia, Tom Wolfe, Pat Conroy, and a host of others too numerous to mention.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
For me the character has to be layered, three dimensional, reactive, intriguing and clever in dialogue. I want to see the character in many facets of his or her life and interacting with different people in conflicted situations. I suppose I create my characters based on real people or composites of real people though I do try to offer the unpredictable in a believable way.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for as broad an audience as my work can reach. I know that some writers will say they write for themselves, but I don't think they're being sincere, unless they're just writing in diaries.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
It is a form of personal therapy. My very first book was just that: FAMILY ESTRANGEMENTS was born out of a painful personal estrangement that I couldn't understand so I began to explore the topic and ultimately that led to me writing my first book. I do find internal conflicts food for creativity, sometimes the conflicts are resolved by the act of writing either because we find resolution or because those conflicts are put to rest once written about.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, if constructive, though I must say even if the feed-back was critical without constructive suggestions as long as it was not mean-spirited. When I did my first book, my daughter-in-law had all her friends write horrible reviews of my book even though most of her friends who wrote these churlish reviews on Amazon probably hadn't read the book. That feed-back was hurtful and not particularly helpful except to show me how cruel some people can be.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I won an award for best non-fiction with my first book. And I have just submitted a screenplay, ABUSE OF POWER, to a competition, SCRIPTAPALOOZA.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I do. I have an editor friend who reviews my work before it's submitted for publication.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I have found my voice in non-fiction. I am not sure if I have in my current writing of screenplays.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I am not rigorous in following a prescribed schedule. I can sometimes write for 12 hours a day or a day with one or two hours of writing or sometimes none at all. It depends on whether or not I'm on a roll.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Beautiful surroundings in my study which is lined with books.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
When the computer boots up, the thoughts start coming. I can't write unless I'm at the computer. I have a symbiotic relationship with my computer. I do correct both on the computer and on hard copy. I have no fixed process, but at the end of the day, I review and revise, and start the next writing session going back several days worth of work to fix where I am in my mind.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I check with my favorite blogs and I am an inveterate Google researcher. I also blog myself:
What has been your experience with publishers?
Excellent rapport with Random House, particularly Bantam Dell. But on a book I tried to get published that Random House rejected, I found that my agent was unable to get past some of the old biddies in many of the publishing houses. The book topic was not to their liking: HE'S NOT TOO YOUNG FOR YOU.
What are you working on now?
ABUSE OF POWER
An Atlanta female judge flagrantly abuses her judicial power—this time to prevent contact between a loving father and his two teenage children in a divorce-custody dispute where he is unfairly accused of parental alienation. He battles not only the corrupt judge but his vengeful ex-wife and her unscrupulous lawyer. Some battles are worth fighting even at the risk of losing everything you’ve ever worked for.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Look them over and see if there's anything worth saving, revising, updating. The rest, throw away.
Atlanta Ga. USA