Subourbon Mom

Blog Tour: Because Y’all Keep Asking, Here’s “Why I Write”

People often ask me how and what I write, and I usually mumble something about Southern Fiction and crazy people. I think my friends have this picture of me squirreled away in a brown robe in a cave somewhere, scribbling away with a feather quill on an ancient, dust-covered tome; or maybe more like Hemingway, looking grumpy and sitting at a desk with a half-empty bottle of bourbon by a typewriter.

Not so much. I usually sit at the kitchen table with my laptop because my desk is too full of papers I’ve never filed. Sometimes it’s with a glass of wine or bourbon, but more often it’s a cup a coffee and a bag of Twizzlers or a pan of Rice Krispie Treats.

But since people ask, and because my friend Josh Cane invited me to answer these types of questions on a blog tour, here goes: (Josh Cane is in my writing group. He writes vampire fiction and short stories, as well as running his own on-line publishing/website development business.  His blog is

  1. What am I working on? 

As a working mom, my time (and attention span) is available in short spurts, so the blog tends to get the most regular action. I am also doing some free-lance non-fiction writing and editing, and am ghost writing a memoir.

When I have any spare time, I LOVE working on my Southern Fiction novels. The first, Virginia Gentleman (originally titled Six-Possum-Thursday, but I changed because it was too obscure) tells the story of Dallas Chirp, a 30-year-old returning to his small, rural hometown in Virginia ten years after accidentally killing his girlfriend’s father.  The book is less about the murder than trying to find where you fit in, when both you and your home have changed.

My second novel follows the newly-indigent and socially embarrassed Margaret Payne back to her southern, slow-to-change hometown after her husband is thrown in jail, leaving her penniless. There, she is forced to depend on her estranged sister Lettie, a fiercely independent housekeeper, and her bi-racial niece.  As Margaret struggles to find a job and get back on her feet, she must come to terms with what it means to be part of a family again, and how to navigate the murky river of race relations in a “modern,” small southern town.

  1. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

For those of you who read my blog, you know I am pretty snarky, but I like to think the blog is funny, and a little bit intelligent.  You might even learn something from it, although my main goal is to make you grin by letting you view life for a moment through my quirky, middle-aged, bourbon-sticky lenses.

My novels, while Southern Fiction, have nothing to do with slavery or the ever-present Civil War (excuse me, um, I meant the “War of Northern Aggression”). They take place in the present-day and deal with the issues of what it means to be in a family, and to call a place home. So many things about both of those topics have changed over the last few decades, but the overall ideas remain the same: families, no matter what size, race or relation love you and are there for you; and where you grew up is part of what made you, but you are also part of that place as well—the two are symbiotic. I like to think my characters are real people, that I would meet them on the street, and that I would be friends with them—even the characters that are flawed–they are usually the people I hang out with in real life and in my head.

  1. Why do I write what I do?

The simple answer is, I have to. I would explode if I didn’t.

These characters and ideas infest my brain constantly, like a new breed of cranium-lice, biting and wriggling until I wake up in the middle of the night and have to scratch them (maybe that’s why I have this 3:00am wake-up thing going—I thought it was just hormones). If I ignored them, I would probably become one of those festering cubicle-people that everyone in the office knows will bring a bazooka to work one day.

  1. How does my writing process work?

I wish I could say I’m one of those people who gets up at 5:00am and writes for eight hours straight, or even for a single hour every day.  Typically, I get one of those ideas gnawing its away around my head in the middle of the night or while I’m driving, and it’s a complete scene or conversation in my head, ready to go. If I’m lucky I’ve got pen and paper nearby, or I can convince one of my daughters to text it to me.  From there, I usually create an entire character, or an idea for a novel. I have a notebook full of ideas for books, short stories, and poems.

On a good day, when no pre-schooler has worn me down to a twitching, quivering nub, I can sit down for an hour or so without interruption and review some work or slog through a chapter.  On an average day, I usually try and whip out a blog, or re-read a chapter I’m working on to let those pesky writing bugs do their magic while I sleep—or chuck it all and end up driving The Daughters to whatever sports practice they have that day.

So, that’s how and why I do it. Oh, and one more thing:

If you write, I would like to shamelessly plug the importance of belonging to a writing group that takes itself seriously, that is not there just for moral support but also gives honest, constructive critiques. Over the past four years I have been able to watch myself grow as a writer, and I give full credit to Josh Cane, Mary Miley and Tom Fuhrman for that.

Bloggers for Next Week: (These bloggers will post something similar on their own sites next week, so check out their blogs–if for no other reason than we like the instant gratification of seeing that someone has looked at it!)

Jody Worsham began writing humor at age 61 when she and husband of 50 years adopted their one-day-old grandson and three year old granddaughter.  Retiring from thirty-nine years of teaching theatre arts, Jody needed a creative outlet.  Re-learning the basics of potty training after  thirty-five years  and being the “oldest mom” in the pre-k pick-up line provided topics for her blog “The Medicare Mom”.  She is a member of the Christian Writers Fellowship, and attended the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in 2210 and 2012.  The Jambalaya Writing Contest was her first attempt at writing a novel and she placed second.

Shawna Christos is a writer with several books in various stages of dressed, currently working on a mainstream commercial fiction book, as well as a young adult novel about a girl named Kelpie trying to survive Celtic legend’s clash with strong southern women.   Guess which one she’s working on now? She also had a short story published in an interwoven collaborative anthology last year called River Town which can be found at:

A long time volunteer and supporter of James River Writers, you will find her at a lot of the JRW and local book events and [unfortunately] a lot in their pictures.  [She doesn’t like her picture taken, and doesn’t like that people won’t accept her stick figure drawing instead.] Debating about advice she’s been given about having a blog at Word Press, she currently has two blogs she has struggled to post regularly to.

And a Twitter account – @ywrite – she alternately flings words at.

Grace Robinson is a writer of fantasy. She’s a fan of arctic places, world music, mythology, and linguistics. She is soon-to-be a published author and a world traveler. Born and raised in Virginia, she studied English and creative writing at Hollins University. She currently lives in Virginia with a rabbit and a lot of books.

Her blog:






7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hey Libby, really enjoyed this blog. I always feel very proud when I get a glimpse of this amazing woman you have become and how I’m so blessed have you in my life. Like the title of your first book. Also, liked the original title were you able to get it woven into the story? Can’t wait to read the second book. Your writing group sounds like a great bunch of people. Have a great Sun!!! Love ya

Sent from my iPhone



Comment by Ellen Armitage

Thanks Ellen! Got the original title in there, but consensus was it’s too obscure for publishers to market it that way.


Comment by libbyhall

Very interesting, how do you work on 2 novels at the same time? If I was a writer, and I tried that, I would never finish them.


Comment by Kimberly Anderson

Now you know why I’m such a scatterbrain! The first one is 98% done, the second 80% done…now If I could just find a buyer so I don’t have to publish it myself…


Comment by libbyhall

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for tagging me! 🙂


Comment by storytellergirlgrace

Happy to–the more people out there reading us the better! 🙂


Comment by libbyhall

Great intro, Libby. Thank you for the info. I finally have internet again and hope to get a site up and running soon. sd


Comment by energywriter

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