Oh My Shelves welcomes author Ann Leibowitz to the blog with an interview in support of her latest release, An Act of Devotion, available now. * * * * * *
OMS: Hi, A.M., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
AML: I’m an author and editor by day, a spouse, parent, and activist by night. An Act of Devotion is my fourth novel. It was inspired by the work many of my fellow activists are doing. I usually write literary LGBTQ+ fiction with relational themes (love, friendship, family). This is my first genuine romance.
OMS: Are any of your characters inspired by people you know in your life? How and in what aspects?
AML: Most of my characters are infused with traits of real-life people, though none have been an exact match. More often, it’s the situations which are based on real things that have happened to me or people I know.
OMS: Are there any issues that resonate personally with you that you touch on in your writing?
AML: I write a lot about bi-erasure and biphobia, and I almost always have at least one bi character. The bisexual community is wide and diverse, but there are things we experience in common ways. It’s important to me to bring those things to the front and show us as our own people, not “half gay/half straight.” I also tend to write about gender identity and expression, and I often include spiritual themes or overtly religious characters. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for a lot of us, we’re tired of choosing between faith and identity.
OMS: Was it always your dream to become a writer?
AML: Not at all! I used to be a nurse, and I planned to keep on being one. But I went back to school, had kids, and considered a career in community health education. I always assumed writing would simply be something I dabbled in for fun when I had some spare time.
OMS: If you could become one of your characters who would you become and why?
AML: I would love to be Andre from Anthem. He’s hands-down one of my favorite characters. He’s smart, tech-savvy, a talented musician, and a strong advocate. He’s also loving and generous as well as being a good friend. Who wouldn’t want to be that kind of person?
OMS: Which of your characters would you like to spend a week on a desert island with?
AML: Zayne from Passing on Faith. She’s also one of my favorite characters and someone I could easily see being friends with. Nothing against the men, but even among fictional characters there are very few men I want to spend a whole week alone with.
Inside the one-floor building, there were half a dozen other students. Two of them were going through boxes; they looked like undergraduates on work study. Two were sitting in chairs in the waiting area, probably to see the nurse practitioner in the back offices. One was flipping through brochures in the rack on the wall, and the last one was behind the desk. When Adam saw him, his jaw nearly hit the floor.
The man—because this was absolutely not one of the gangly, barely-adult boys in abundance on campus—was gorgeous. No, not merely gorgeous. God-like in his stunning beauty. He was practically a work of art. His skin was bronze, and he had a mass of thick, almost black hair that lay in heavy waves. Under long lashes, his dark eyes shone, and his lips were full and pink. He wasn’t quite clean-shaven, and the light, purposeful stubble oozed attractive masculinity. Even seeing only his upper body, it was obvious he was muscular and toned in a way Adam barely aspired to be.
Adam wasn’t one to be overly concerned about the packaging when it came to love—or lust, as the case might be. Hot people were hot people, in his opinion. As long as everyone was on the same page with what they wanted, the particulars of hes or shes or theys were only as important to him as they were to his partners. In all the years he’d been practicing the science of mate selection, he was certain he’d never met anyone who had melted his insides as fast as the man at the desk.
While Adam was busy staring, he stood rooted to the spot, having forgotten why he was there in the first place. The low throat-clearing startled him, and he shifted his gaze from Sexy’s torso to his face. The man’s lips twitched, but he didn’t smile.
“May I help you?” he asked.
“Uh…” Adam mentally slapped himself. He was not one to lose his words over anyone, no matter how attractive. Time to take control back. He stepped up to the counter. “Yeah. I need a couple of things.” He lowered his voice and put on what he hoped was his sexiest expression. “I came in to get condoms.”
Once again, amusement flashed on the other man’s face. “No problem. You can leave a donation here.” He shoved a jar forward on the counter.
Adam almost laughed at the pink paper label taped to the front. It read, Condoms—Tip Jar. Still feeling off-kilter, he snipped, “They’re not free?”
“They are. We’re asking for donations because we offer a lot of free stuff here, and it helps offset the cost when people give a little.” He looked Adam up and down. “I’m guessing you’re non-traditional or a graduate student, so maybe you can spare some change.”
Adam sneered, but he reached into his pocket for his wallet. He withdrew a dollar and stuck it in the jar then held out his hand. The other man reached under the counter and came back up with one condom, which he slapped into Adam’s palm.
“You have got to be kidding me. You want me to pay a dollar per condom? I’m going to need more than one,” Adam huffed. “For less than that price, I could buy them at the drug store.”
The man laughed. “I’m messing with you. You’re being a huge dick about making a small donation to the health center, so payback is fair.” He snorted. “Although, look who thinks he’s such a stud. If you need that many, why not buy them at the store?”
“Because I live in student housing, and this is more convenient. If you must know, yes, I have an important date.”
“I’m sure.” The man’s smile was condescending. “Fine.” He reached under the counter again and came up with a handful of condoms. “Enjoy them, with my blessing.”
Adam stuffed them in his pockets, turned around, and stalked out of the health center. No matter how hot that guy was, he was an ass, and Adam didn’t want to stick around for any more of his attitude. He had a date to get ready for, and guaranteed she would be much better company than the self-righteous jerk in the center. Which, of course, was exactly why Adam couldn’t get his handsome face and toned body out of his head.
An Act of Devotion by A.M. Leibowitz
(M/M Companion to the F/F book, “Memoir in the Making” by Adrian Smith)
Release Date: May 1, 2016
Pages: 215 • Cover Artist:
Published By: Supposed Crimes
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Adam Lansing has always relied on his charm to get by. Sure, he’s starting over—new school, new graduate assistant position—but he knows he won’t have any trouble working his magic on anyone he chooses.
Antonio “AJ” Mancuso is deep inside his own head. He’s cool, calm, and confident. Despite all the friends around him, he often feels like he straddles two worlds. Is there anyone who could love him for everything that defines him—past and present?
From the first time they meet, Adam is determined to get gorgeous AJ to notice him. But just as the heat is cranking up between them, Adam spots AJ with another man. Adam strikes back through a fling with an ex. When he discovers the truth behind AJ’s behavior, he realizes that his magic won’t clean up for him this time.