Welcome to our interview with R. Leib. We can’t guarantee him 15 minutes of fame from this interview, but we can guarantee him 15 questions that aren’t lame. Why 15? Because I was born on the 15th day of the month during the 15th hour. So, 15 works for me. Let’s get started.
1. Tell us about the most current work you have out there.
I have written several short stories, but my most recent completed work is my first novel, “The Negative’s Tale”. I am about midway through writing the first draft of a sequel, “Tourist of Infinity”.
2. How did you get started writing?
I first started writing in earnest, while I attended the University of Maryland in the late 60’s. I made some decisions that I later regretted, and never made a go of it as a writer back then. After working for 30 years as a computer programmer, I started writing again. I like to think that the maturity I gained as a person over those decades is reflected in my writing.
3. What’s the most difficult part of being a writer?
That’s easy. It has been said before: stick the butt in the chair and write the words. Sure, it’s hard doing the research, keeping all the characters, settings, and details straight, and coming up with fresh ideas and fluid prose, but getting yourself to buckle down and put in all on paper (or computer screen) is the real challenge. (I am actually feeling a twinge of guilt as I answer these questions that I’m not moving my latest project forward.)
4. Who is your favorite band or singer?
I have a lot of favorites. I love music. Favorite band: Simon and Garfunkel. Favorite singer: Cyndi Lauper.
5. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
6. Aliens land on our planet and tell you they can fix one world problem. What item would you have them take care of?
Stop stores from discontinuing the one style, flavor, or brand that you specifically go there to buy as soon as they figure out that you like it. All facetiousness aside, I think we would do a lot better, if we learned to stop solving our problems by killing each other. Unlike just about all of the books and movies about alien encounters, I think that when we first contact an alien race, they will be aghast at how adept we are at destruction. They are going to take one look at us and hope we do not figure out how to visit them.
7. If you had to write your autobiography, what would you title it?
“That Should Have Worked and Other Epitaphs”
8. What are your hobbies?
I have quite a few hobbies. I raise succulent plants and bamboo. I make pens and pencils from bamboo canes. I cook and bake. Just to name a few. I think a lot of people would consider my writing a hobby. That makes me sad.
9. How many siblings do you have?
I have two brothers, and we are as different as the ocean, the land, and the air.
10. What is your writing routine?
I am nocturnal. I write at night, usually anywhere from 10:00pm to 4:00am.
11. One food you couldn’t live without
Chocolate. If I could not eat it, I would have it injected directly into my brain.
12. Have you ever been addicted to anything? (if so, what?)
Cigarettes. I have not had one for 30 years, and I still want one. The day the doctor gives me that short life expectancy speech, I am going out and buying a pack of the nastiest cancer sticks I can find. Nicotine never lets go, you just train yourself to ignore her screams.
13. How do you deal with book reviews (good or bad, you pick)?
I read them.
14. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your writing career? Were you able overcome or correct it?
Great question. When I was in college, I was invited to a writers’ conference presided over by some of the best Science Fiction writers of all time. It was clear across the country. I would have had to give up my job as a short order cook and probably lose my apartment. I had next to nothing, little money, no car. I chose to stay. It is my second biggest regret. (There is no way I am telling you the first.) If I had it to do over again, I’d hitchhike there and take my chances.
15. What’s your favorite dish to cook?
Shrimp in Spicy Garlic Sauce. It is my own recipe. It takes about half an hour to prep and under five minutes in a sizzling wok to produce this bit of Szechuan style heaven.
For more information on R. Leib or his works, visit http://www.ckart.com/rich/