Interview: Libby Cone, Author of Flesh and Grass

Filed in Interview , The Eclectic Lover Posted on March 5, 2010 @ 11:23 am 0 comments

I was very happy to get a chance to interview Libby Cone, author of  two historical fiction books.   Her debut novel, War On the Margins, is set in the Channel Islands during World War II.  Her second book, Flesh and Grass, is set in a 17th Century Dutch settlement in colonial America.   It was released last month and is available as a Kindle ebook from Amazon.  See my review of Flesh and Grass here

BLI: Let’s start off with a basic question.  What made you decide to start writing?

Libby: I think writing chooses you. I keep finding out obscure things (usually while aimlessly surfing on the Web), reading about them, reading more about them, and then talking about them nonstop. Then I realize I need to write about them.

BLI: Next, I have some questions about Flesh and Grass, your second book.  What led you to choose to write about this period of history?

Libby: I had read a couple of books about settlements in the Western
Hemisphere, both old and new. I had read a book about a 20th century
German settlement in Paraguay. I found a paper written about this
obscure Dutch settlement and bookmarked it. I kept running into more
tidbits of information and adding them to the file. A new book about the
Dutch Golden Age, “Matters of Exchange,” by Harold J. Cook came out; it
was really detailed and fascinating. Then I said, “There’s my next

BLI: What kind of research did you have to do to be able to write this book?

Libby: I obtained copies of all of Plockhoy’s published writings from the Penn
and University of Delaware libraries. I drove to Lewes, DE and toured
the Zwaanendael museum, taking lots of notes and asking lots of
questions. I was steered by the museum staff to more books, and I was
able to access the old New York Executive Council minutes from
1668-1673; they had been published a hundred years ago. Some archival
stuff is online; some is available in book format. I was fortunate to
visit Lewes in the summer; the fragrance of the sun-warmed grass was
pervasive, and inspired my thinking of writing the book as a sort of
olfactory memoir.

BLI: How did you pick the names for the characters?

Libby: I used their real names as much as possible. Now that I changed the
names, I made them up.

BLI: Why did you decide to have a blind man as the main character?

Libby: Because Plockhoy’s son was blind, and Plockhoy didn’t survive long after
the raid. Not much more was known about Plockhoy’s wife (and I found out
it was wrong), but there are records of his son being in Germantown,
Pennsylvania in 1699.

BLI: How long did it take you to write this book?

Libby: It took me about eighteen months. I put it on the back burner for about
a year, and when I was making very slow progress with book #3, I decided
to ready Flesh and Grass for publication.

BLI: Flesh and Grass is your second book. Did that make it any easier to
write than your first book, War On the Margins?

Libby: The writing was the same. Getting it ready for publication is a little
easier, as I have experience now.

BLI: I have one final question.  Can you tell us anything about your next book?

Libby: It’s about an Andalusian poetess. That’s all I can say.

BLI: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.  

To learn more about Libby Cone’s writing see her author page on Goodreads.

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