Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chatting with Libby Malin


I want to thank Libby Malin for stopping by to chat about her book Fire Me.





FIRE ME by Libby Malin

Pizzazz Day!

In Fire Me, Anne Wyatt lives a fantasy many people have when their boss is driving them crazy—she deliberately tries to get laid off. Prepared to hand in her resignation since she has a great new job lined up, she arrives at work to discover that her wild boss is going to lay off an employee by the end of the day and bestow on that employee a generous severance package. She quickly changes course, deep sixing the resignation letter and going after the pink slip and its pay-out instead. By the end of a day of crazy stunts, she’s not sure if her decision was wise—or if any of her life and love decisions to date were any good. She reevaluates everything, from past loves to family and friend relationships to job choices, to….what she wants to be when she grows up!

Writing Fire Me was both a blast and a challenge. The comedic moments alone took imagination and care (and I’m so grateful to the many folks who’ve written they laughed out loud while reading the book), but the twenty-four-hour timeframe required thought and creativity. How do you condense a life into twenty four hours? In order for readers to really know Anne and Ken, I had to include enough of their past to give their current decisions meaning.

When I first came up with the idea for Fire Me, I didn’t envision the twenty-four-hour timeline. But as I put pen to paper (or inkjet to paper!), I realized that this was such a crazy notion—trying to get laid off—that it had to take place in a very short timeframe. Otherwise, any heroine with a head on her shoulders would rethink the whole loopy scheme and stop her race to the bottom! In other words, the timeline had to be so condensed that Anne would get caught up in her crazy goal and not ponder its long-term consequences.

Once I started writing, the one-day timeline really started to make sense…and created the opportunity to have Anne and her co-workers pull some incredibly wild antics, activities they’d never have engaged in had they had time to think things over!

In fact, the day itself is one of the boss’ team-building exercises—“Pizzazz Day,” where employees are supposed to dress imaginatively, to let out their inner muses. “Pizzazz Day” becomes a metaphor for Anne’s own “exercise,” one that teaches her far more than team-building.

Embedding this deeper story of personal epiphany was a challenge, too, but one I thoroughly enjoyed writing. I hope readers can see themselves in Anne—someone who’s made mistakes and ultimately wants to set her life on the right course, mending fences and starting fresh.

Another challenge—the first blush of romance between Anne and Ken. But once I began seeing this as Anne’s personal Pizzazz Day, it became easier to incorporate the crazy first moments of new love when both boy and girl start to wonder: is this the one for me?

Thanks to the readers and reviewers who’ve written such kind words about Fire Me so far, and for having me as a guest on this blog. If readers would like to learn more about Fire Me and my other books, they can visit my website at http://www.libbysbooks.com/.

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