Thursday, September 1, 2011

Libby Interviews Libby
About Aefle & Gisela

by Libby Sternberg

Libby Sternberg
My alter-ego, Libby Malin, has written another book, some piece of puffery she's calling Aefle and Gisela. Aefle and Gisela--what kind of title is that? Hmmph. While I write serious fiction and young adult novels, she continues to waste use her talents to write fluffy comedic pieces. Today I interview her about this latest effort.

Libby Sternberg: Aefle and Gisela is a comedy. Why on earth would anyone want to read it when there are so many other serious books with important topics and themes out there. For example, there's my book, Sloane Hall, a retelling of Jane Eyre that has been praised by Bronte experts and that explores very weighty themes such as obsession and forgiveness.

Libby Malin: Uh, this interview's about my book, right? Aefle and Gisela?

Libby Sternberg: Of course it is. But getting back to my question, why would anyone want to read a light piece of tomfoolery that probably only produces a brief and very temporary reaction, maybe a few smiles or a giggle or two, when they can be reading more important books that linger in the mind and heart, such as my mystery Death Is the Cool Night which deals with class differences and alcohol abuse?

Libby Malin
Libby Malin: Well, actually Aefle and Gisela deals with class differences, too. And, uh, I think humorous books can have a lasting effect, as well. Anyway, in Aefle and Gisela, the heroine owns a car dealership, and the hero is a college professor. 

Libby Sternberg: So he's Aefle and she's Gisela?

Libby Malin: Only metaphorically speaking. She's DeeDee and he's Thomas. But he's a history professor whose area of expertise is an obscure poetry-writing medieval monk named Aefle and his secret lady love, Gisela. In some ways, the stories mirror each other.

Libby Sternberg: Aha. So it's a story within a story.

Libby Malin: Mmm, sort of. Mostly it's a satire.

Libby Sternberg: Couldn't make up your mind, could you? Why, that's why I stick to one theme in Lost to the World, which explores the complex questions of medical ethics during the polio vaccine trials of 1954. And, of course, the protagonist's grief over the loss of his wife. And post-war America. But other than that, it's a very clean, singularly targeted look at --

Libby Malin: Uh, could we get back to discussing Aefle and Gisela? I was saying it's a satire. A sharp satire, actually, of the Ivory Tower.

Libby Sternberg: What, ho! A satire of the Ivory Tower?

Libby Malin: Since when did you develop a British accent?

Libby Sternberg: Go on, tell us more about this satire business.

Libby Malin: "Tell us more?" -- How many alter-egos do we have here? Okay, about the satire part -- I thought it would be great fun to write a story about conformity and the courage it takes to resist it. What better place to set it than in a supposedly open-minded environment?

Libby Sternberg: Voila--the liberal arts college campus? Why, I actually think that's a brilliant idea!

Libby Malin: Thank you.

Libby Sternberg: Well, since you're my alter-ego, I can take some credit for it, too.

Libby Malin: Who says I'm your alter-ego? Maybe you're my alter-ego.

(Muffled strangling and growling noises.)

Libby Sternberg: Ahem. Isn't satire a bit on the dry and brittle side?

Libby Malin: It can be, even when it's hilariously funny. But Aefle and Gisela also has a very touching love story in it as two very different people learn to accommodate each other. They fall in love, of course.

Libby Sternberg: Of course, and so you have several things going on here at once, I see. A comedy. A romance. And a satire. You couldn't quite make up your mind, could you? As I said, I try to stick to one broad theme in my  novels. Certainly no more than two. Obsession and forgiveness in one, class differences and alcohol abuse in another, medical ethics and grief in another. And in a book I'm writing now, I'm going to be--

(More growling and strangling noises, this time much louder.)

Libby Malin: Unfortunately, Libby Sternberg was suddenly incapacitated. I'll finish the interview on my own by telling you a little about Aefle and Gisela...

Aefle & Gisela by Libby Malin is available for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers. It tells the story of history professor Thomas Charlemagne as he attempts to shed the "Timid Tommy" reputation of his past by stopping a wedding on a dare. When it turns out to be the wrong wedding, legal problems ensue that could wreck his career as the world's leading expert on a poetry-writing medieval monk, Aefle, and his secret love, Gisela, both of whom provide a template for Thomas’s own struggles with life and love.

Buy the book for Kindle here.
Buy the book for Nook here.
Buy the book for other e-readers here.

Hurry—it’s on sale for only 99 cents as part of a book launch promotion!


Libby Malin is the award-winning author of romance, literary, mystery and young adult fiction. In an attempt to thoroughly confuse her reader fans, she writes comedy under the name Libby Malin and serious fiction under the name Libby Sternberg. Her first young adult mystery, Uncovering Sadie’s Secrets, was an Edgar nominee, and her first romantic comedy, Fire Me, was optioned for film. She lives in Pennsylvania, has three children and one husband, and confesses to watching “Real Housewives” shows despite enormous amounts of culture-guilt.

Visit the author’s website at:

Some praise for Libby Malin's other comedic novels:
    • Booklist -- Malin creates a world of wit and chaos that is …smart and insightfully written (My Own Personal Soap Opera)
    • Publishers Weekly -- Malin's latest is heavy on humor… (she) coaxes plenty of laughs (My Own Personal Soap Opera).  
    • Jo-Anne Greene Lancaster Sunday News -- Fire Me ...had this reader chuckling out loud.
    • Washington Post -- The love story is charming and will be appreciated by any woman with bad taste in men who somehow inexplicably ends up with Mr. Right. (Loves Me, Loves Me Not) 
    • Publishers Weekly --  A whimsical look at the vagaries of dating... an intriguing side plot adds punch and pathos to the story...(Loves Me, Loves Me Not) 
    • Booklist -- Malin's clever debut toys with chick-lit stereotypes and offers quite a few surprises along the way. (Loves Me, Loves Me Not)

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