Libby Hubscher, author of Meet Me in Paradise, lives in North Carolina with her husband, two young children, and a menagerie of pets. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Learn more at LibbyHubscher.com.
Get to know Libby in this Q&A and then join us on Thursday, July 1 at 12 PM ET as part of our Shelf Life series of virtual events to hear her discuss her work in SHELF LIFE—Summer Romance: Emily Henry, Libby Hubscher & Priscilla Oliveras.
Festival: What motivated you to become an author?
Hubscher: I’ve been writing since I was a small child, so I suppose the drive was somewhat innate. It always seemed like kind of an unrealistic dream, but when I was in ninth grade, my English literature teacher, Ms. Overbeck, wrote on one of my assignments that she wanted a signed copy of my book one day. I never forgot those words. In fact, I still have that assignment. When I decided I wanted to seriously pursue a career as an author, anytime I felt discouraged, I remembered those words.
Who or what are some of your creative influences?
I am definitely a reader who likes variety and I read broadly across genres. I love the work of Lauren Groff, Lily King, Talia Hibbert, Katherine Center, Anne Patchett, and Jojo Moyes. Their work collectively has inspired and influenced me in different ways.
What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?
Meet Me in Paradise was an extremely cathartic book for me to write, as someone who was dealing with a health crisis and facing my own fears at the time. I think my favorite part was writing the transformation of the main character, Marin, as she stepped outside her comfort zone and experienced the wonder of new places and people on the tropical island of Saba. There’s something really sacred in that—the first exposure to something novel. I’ve noticed this even in my own life as I emerged after months at home during the pandemic. I saw a passenger train and some wildflowers the other day on my way into town and the sight moved me to tears.
Do you have any sources of inspiration that you come back to while writing?
In my writing life, inspiration mostly comes in little epiphanies. I sometimes return to the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron when inspiration isn’t enough and I need more work on the form of my writing. When my creative well feels dry, I like to read Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh. It’s a beautiful book that usually fills me with the peace I need for inspiration to visit again.
What impact or takeaway do you hope your work will have for readers?
In my writing, I like to explore the misconceptions that underpin our lives and the ways in which we limit ourselves. In Meet Me in Paradise, I was interested in how fear holds us back and how sometimes we can find strength in our most challenging moments. I hope readers will feel that it’s possible they are braver than they believe and perhaps be inspired to try something new. Whether that’s having an adventure, visiting a new place, or opening their mind or heart to someone… taking a risk is scary but can also change life for the better.
What is something that you’ve read recently and would recommend to others?
I’ve read two books recently that stand out as phenomenal reads. One is Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto. It’s the perfect balance of side-splitting hilarity, breakneck pacing, and heartfelt moments, and one of the most entertaining, enjoyable books I’ve ever read. The other is Real Life by Brandon Taylor. His writing is fantastic, by turns stark and intricate, and the story was absolutely fascinating. Also, I have a PhD in toxicology, so I was drawn to the exploration of fraught dynamics and vulnerabilities in a graduate program setting.
What are you working on next?
My next book is called If You Ask Me, and it comes out March 2022. It’s the story of an advice columnist with a seemingly perfect life and all the answers who discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her. Out of answers and full of sadness and rage, she goes rogue in her column and in her life. And it’s that act of losing control and letting go of perfection that allows her to find herself and discover that flawlessness isn’t a prerequisite to love. I also have a few other things in the works that I hope to be able to share more about soon!