Sunday, December 16, 2012

Libby Mercer talks about her voices ~ and a Giveaway!

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about this wonderful and fun book, Unmaking Maya. Read what I had to say here. Today I have the author, Libby Mercer, here talking about the voices she hears when she writes.

After you read what she has to say, be sure to check out the awesome giveaway she is offering for Ghirardelli Chocolates of San Francisco.Yummy!!

Hi Libby ~ I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

The Voices in My Head

I’m pretty sure I’ll never be fitted for a straightjacket. Well… not because of the voices in my head, anyway. You see, the voices in my head are a bit shy. They only speak up in specific circumstances.

Usually when I come up with an idea for a story, I start by creating the bigger picture. For Unmasking Maya, I had a vague concept in mind to create a quirky love story with the guy being one of those ultra left-brained Silicon Valley genius types. Then I pondered what kind of woman would not be a good match for him. Wouldn’t be much of a story if they were compatible from the start. After letting this question simmer for a while, artsy Maya began to take shape.

Maya (and Derek – my tech guy) existed in my mind as abstract characters, and I knew some details about their past experiences, but not everything. Not yet. No need to be alarmed, though – this is how I write. So I had all the basics in place and I was ready to get started. I knew I wanted Derek to offend Maya in the opening scene and I had a rough idea of how it was going to happen. But it needed to be done through dialogue, of course, and this is where the voices in my head came in handy.

It’s very rare that the voices start talking when I’m sitting in front of the computer. For some reason, they seem to be at their chattiest when I’m walking around outside, usually while I’m running errands. Some of what I consider to be my best and most fabulous scenes have come to me while I was lugging a backpack full of groceries up a steep hill. And it’s rare that the voices will narrate the narrative (so to speak). Instead they will become my characters and carry on a conversation inside my head.

Um… honestly, I really don’t need a straightjacket.

Without the pressure of being in front of my computer, and feeling the urge to type everything out as soon as it comes to me, I play out these scenes in my mind as if I’m shooting a film. And I do as many takes as necessary until I get it right.

If Maya said something and then Derek responded, but whatever he said didn’t sound right, I’d yell, “Cut!” (inside my mind, of course. One of the voices in my head is mine) and I’d try something else, usually replaying the scene from the beginning. Once I got home with my groceries (or my laundry or whatever) I’d hurry over to the laptop and get everything down.

Sometimes the voices in my head keep chattering for a while after I get back home and start writing, but generally they tend to quiet down. If I need to get them back, the only way to do so is to step away from the laptop and do something else – wash dishes, have a shower, etc.

And there you have it: how the voices in my head help me craft my stories. Honestly, I don’t need psychological help. Tee he he.

About the author

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.

Connect with Libby

Purchase on Amazon

Visit other stops on the tour here.

And now for the most awesome giveaway!!

Libby is giving one lucky winner
a 9 piece box of Ghirardelli Chocolates

Click here to see what you could win!

Ghirardelli Chocolates is a San Francisco institution. During the California Gold rush in the mid-1800s, Domingo Ghirardelli shrewdly discovered that the exhausted miners in from the fields were starved for luxuries and needed something to spend their gold dust on. To capitalize on this opportunity, he stocked chocolate delicacies to ensure that they solicited his shop.

How about that for awesome marketing!

And be sure to check the sidebar
for my current giveaways!


  1. My characters usually speak to me when I'm digging the garden or in the shower - or doing anything else which means I can't easily take notes.

    1. LOL. Isn't that always the way? I would suggest getting a little dictaphone (not for the shower, obviously) but sometimes I think the ideas only flow because you can't take note of them. Thanks for reading!

  2. Great post! As an avid people watcher, characters and story ideas come to me in public as I watch all the people. Thanks for sharing it's great to learn a bit more about how others write and I LOVE your book cover! Best of luck!

    Paul R. Hewlett

    1. Aw, thanks so much! About the post, the cover and for wishing me luck! And for reading the post. People are so fascinating. I could see how a trip to a crowded place might spark all kinds of ideas. Thanks again!


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