Today I’m thrilled to host A.M Leibowitz for an interview and excerpt featuring a character I’ve had the pleasure to meet before~Cat!
Thanks for visiting, A.M.!
Cat wriggled into the trousers and buttoned the shirt, tucking it in before adding a belt. From the recesses of his closet, he took out the one tie he owned. He hadn’t worn it in years, and he didn’t recall why he had it in the first place. Probably a gift from his Nana. At his dresser, he fumbled with it until he finally had the knot done properly. He paused with his hand on his jewelry box, but he didn’t open the lid. No earring today, and no lip gloss either. He turned around to look at himself in the full-length mirror on the back of his door and gasped, tears springing to his eyes. He hated what he saw.
He looked like a man. An ordinary, professional man, someone who went to an office every day and put numbers in a computer. He didn’t want to be the person in the mirror. He wished desperately that he could add a bit of makeup and paint his nails, anything to make him look less dull. With a heavy sigh he sat down on his bed to pull on his socks.
At the light rap on his door, he stood up to open it. LR stepped in. She smiled, but it appeared more pitying than pleased.
“You look…nice,” she said.
“No, I don’t.” Cat returned to his dresser to fiddle with his hair, combing it into something equally boring as his attire.
“You do,” LR insisted. “But you don’t look like you.”
Cat spun around to face her. “Bryce was right.”
“Uh…okay. About what?” LR frowned.
“He always said I was girlie.” Cat swallowed. “He was right, though, wasn’t he? I am.”
“Yes,” LR agreed. “Very much. So what?”
“So—” Cat stopped in his tracks. So nothing. A smile crept across his face. “It’s not a bad thing.”
LR laughed. “Of course not!”
“I mean, it’s true. I always wanted to be like you, in a way.”
“Nah.” LR shook her head. “I’m the only one who can pull off being me. You have to find who you are, Kitty-Cat.”
He exhaled on a light laugh. “I’m not even sure. You know, I tried looking it up. There are all these words for who I might be—fairy, femme, gender-bender, gender fluid, genderqueer…genderfuck.” He giggled.
LR put a hand to her mouth to hold back her own giggle. She lowered her fingers and said, “I like that last one. It suits you, for some reason.”
Buy Walking by Faith:
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For Becket “Cat” Rowland, falling in love has never been easy. The summer he meets Micah Forbes, the intensity of his feelings brings back all the memories of eight years earlier.
Following a brutal attack that left him nearly dead, Cat is a mess inside and out. To cope with the trauma and with his view of himself that he’s nothing but an empty shell, he’s taken three vows: simplicity, chastity, and silence. His once colorful, trendy, and often feminine wardrobe has been replaced with jeans and t-shirts, and he’s sworn off men. He locks himself away from the world, using the memorized prayers of his childhood as his only speech.
Cat is lost to himself and everyone around him until another hospitalization introduces him to nurse David Simms. David takes Cat’s silence in stride, caring for him without pushing and slowly building Cat’s trust.
Outside the hospital, Cat discovers he has more in common with David than he knew, and they begin to build a friendship. As it slowly grows into love, David reveals his own need for someone to take him as he is. Cat begins to let go of his vows one by one, only holding onto the silence.
Despite how far he’s come, Cat’s increasingly severe panic attacks threaten to undo everything David has helped him build. Cat’s only hope is to break the final vow and tell the truth about the night of his attack. When David fails to keep a promise he made to be there for him, Cat has to stand on his own and prove to himself he’s strong enough to survive.
Prequel to Passing on Faith.
What inspired you to write this story?
People kept telling me how much they loved Cat in Passing on Faith, so I wanted to tell his story. But I didn’t want to simply re-tread his romance with Micah from his perspective. This was sparked by a quote in PoF where Cat’s sister says he’s in “shut-down mode” and won’t talk to her. I wondered why not.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
To Cat, of course, although he is really only one aspect of my inner self. His questions and mental dialog about his gender mirror my own. But I also feel linked to Cat’s mom, as a parent myself.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
Getting the emotions just right. It is so hard to show the kind of gender dysphoria both Cat and I experience, and I also sometimes find it hard to pour feelings out on the page—as though I’m revealing too much of myself in them.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
I’m working on several things: The next part of my Notes from Boston series; a young adult coming of age novel; and the last part of Cat and Micah’s story, Keeping the Faith. I’m always busy working on something.
How has your life changed since becoming a published author? I’m certainly a lot busier! I spend a lot more time on social media, interacting with other writers. Not because of my career, but we stopped homeschooling. That has left me with a lot more time to write. If I hadn’t been published, I would have taken a different job or found other things to do.
If you could take a time machine back 10 years, what would you tell your past self? To be my authentic self sooner. It might have made a difference in the choices I made, especially as a parent in a fairly strict religious environment that I already didn’t agree with.
What do you hope people say about you after you’re gone? That I cared about people deeply.
- Plotter or pantser? A bit of both
- Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
- Cats or dogs? One of each
About the Author:
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.
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Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Length: 261 pages
Categories/tags: LGBT literature, Christian fiction, bisexual, genderqueer, romance, contemporary, disability