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Interview with Abby Luby, Author of Nuclear Romance

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Abby Luby has covered nuclear power for over 10 years as a freelance journalist. She has spent a considerable amount of time focusing on the issues surrounding the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York.

She has had articles appear in The New York Daily News, The Villager, The Westchester Guardian, The Real Deal, SolveClimateNews, The North County News and the Record Review. Ludy’s debut novel is Nuclear Romance.

She currently teaches writing and literature at Marist College.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

It took me about four years to write my first novel, Nuclear Romance. Most of the time the story was in my head; it was about people who lived in the shadow of an aging nuclear power plant, much like the one I lived near – the Indian Point nuclear power plants just 24 miles outside of New York city. Since I was regularly reporting on Indian Point and as I started to actually write the novel, the story was swinging like an energized pendulum, boomeranging off the latest news, constantly changing and evolving. With every turn of the creative imagination, the characters were forming and re-forming and finally they became distinct voices, moved with their own body language, fell in love when they weren’t supposed to, got angry, sad, cried and laughed. As news stories broke about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima last year, I had to weave the unpredictable and fanciful story lines of my book with the raw realism of the news. Sometimes it was like mixing oil and water.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing Nuclear Romance about five years ago and finally, through many revisions, finished it in October, 2011.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (if any)?

Since I was an unknown novelist, and even though I had a news by-line, it was still difficult to get the attention of agents and small publishers. After writing letters that went unanswered to both agents and small publishers, I ended up with a publisher who believed in the book and agreed to publish it.

Have you written a book that you have not been able to get published? If so, can you share a little about it with us?

I’ve only written one book so far.

How did you come up with the title?

Nuclear Romance is a fitting title because it has to do with both the love of journalism and the obsession to get the facts and report them accurately and the clandestine love affair that starts because a reporter is following a story about a nuclear power plant and meets and interviews a woman he eventually falls in love with.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I have a variety of other interests besides writing such as music, (I play the cello), food and travel. As a journalist covering the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant, a plant that had (and has) a history of accidents and as a single mother, I worried about what safety measures, such as a proven working evacuation plan, was in place. My professional and personal involvement planted the seeds for the novel.

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