Today’s 7 Questions are with author A. M. Leibowitz. She writes family and character driven fiction dealing with issues such as grief and loss in a very real way. Her latest story Ashes and Alms features in Beaten Track Publishing’s latest anthology Never too Late – a collection of short stories about LGBT people over 50. We caught up with her to interrupt her marketing efforts and cause a general annoyance.
1. Your story is from an anthology called Never Too Late, is there anything you wish you’d done that you think it might be too late to do, or something on your bucket list?
I wish I’d listened to the wisdom of my elders when I was a college student. I was never cut out to be in a medical/health profession. I think it’s too late to get a whole new degree, though I do hope to further my education in some way.
2. Many of your stories have common themes, including religion, would you say your personal experiences impact on your writing? In what way?
I grew up in an interfaith family (one Jewish parent, one ex-evangelical). I spent many years inside conservative religion until I left. Those experiences certainly shaped my writing, including my conflicted feelings about faith and religion in general. I tend to write about both the good and the bad through my characters.
3. I really liked your little dragon story, are we likely to see them appear in anything longer?
This was a fun little side story with some of the same characters who will appear in my next novel (out this spring). The children are the siblings of the main character. Jack the bartender was a creation of my teenage son, and he appears briefly in multiple novels. The dragon…well, I suppose the dragon might be allowed another appearance somewhere.
4. Where do you stand on the topic of pet couture?
It amuses me, though I think my dog might object on principle.
5. Do you have a favourite badger?
Trufflehunter, from Prince Caspian
6. Describe your ideal sandwich.
Our local grocery store’s cafe has a roasted veggie sub that is so good it almost hurts. My favourite part is the zucchini. I have no idea what’s in the sauce, but it’s marvellous. Now I’m hungry.
7. If you could design your own canon for young readers, what would be on it?
Meaning a reading list? I think my kids have had outstanding selections, so I’d probably include many of them. Books like Esperanza Rising, Bud, Not Buddy, A Long Walk to Water, Number the Stars. The literature is diverse and gives kids a platform for talking about social justice. I love the model my daughter’s teacher uses for the book club, too. There are several choices, and kids split into small groups. If I were creating curriculum, I’d use this. Not all kids would read all books, but I think options are good.