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.
CC: Where do you get your ideas?
AML: All kinds of places, but mainly they come from things I’ve experienced (or someone I care about has).
CC: Do you have a favorite character you’ve written?
AML: Hands down, it’s Cat (from Passing on Faith and Walking by Faith). He’s a reader favorite too. He’s essentially the personification of my muse, and he’s quite lovable. Though I wasn’t expecting him to be so popular! Almost equally, I love Andre (from Anthem). He’s what I see as the ideal father—gentle, intelligent and kind but raises hell when he needs to.
CC: Do you like to research?
AML: Yes, and also: water is wet. I love research, of any kind—whether it’s for a novel or for another type of writing. Not even as a time-waster; I genuinely love learning new things. I do always say that I hope no one checks my search history, though.
CC: Can you work on more than one WIP at a time?
AML: Definitely! I used to think I shouldn’t, that I should concentrate on one project at a time. But my brain doesn’t work that way, and I’ve learned to trust my instinct rather than the “rules.” I currently have 3 active projects and 3 in the background.
CC: Have you written something out of the m/m realm?
AML: I write all over the rainbow. I’ve even written [gasp] heterosexual couples, though all of those were flash fiction or short stories. One of my current projects is a YA f/f.
Title: Walking by Faith
Author: A.M. Leibowitz
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Length: 261 pages
Categories/tags: LGBT literature, Christian fiction, bisexual, genderqueer, romance, contemporary, disability
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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.
There was a small notebook next to the glass LR had left. In it, Cat had written down the first two vows he’d made. Now, lying on his bed in his wrecked state, a heaviness descended on him as he contemplated a third. If he hadn’t been in the club…if he hadn’t been with Bryce…Surely this was the natural consequence of his behavior. He’d pushed his limits, slamming into Bryce’s body until his own couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe Landon wouldn’t have touched him if he hadn’t been so foolish. The heat of his guilt burned in his gut, and he wondered if this was what people meant when they spoke of God’s judgment.
He hadn’t been to church in years, not since at age fourteen he’d figured out it meant committing to a lifetime of celibacy. Not for one minute had he believed God hated who he was—Cat’s parents were agnostic, but they’d both been raised in the church and knew he believed. His father had taken care to tell him in no uncertain terms that if God’s love was as wide as people said, then it was big enough to love queer people too. Cat did wonder what his grandmother would have thought; she had died when he was sixteen, and she had never made known her opinion about his being queer—only her opinion on his quitting church.
Maybe it wasn’t too late to make it up to God now, though, to atone for everything he’d done all summer. He grabbed the notebook and pulled the pen out of the spiral binding. Slowly, he scrawled his third vow: Chastity. No dating. No sex. No jerking off. He snorted; dating wouldn’t be an issue, not with his mess of problems. Where would he go, and who would want him anyway? The other two items on the list weren’t problems either, given his lack of interest. He almost couldn’t bear being touched in a non-sexual way by his own family, let alone anyone else. Sex involved the kind of physical contact he would gladly never experience again.
He read over what he’d written, and fury coursed through his veins over everything he’d lost. He winged the notebook across the room, hurtling it into the wall. It dug into the paint, leaving a small mark. Cat huffed, but a tiny part of him felt better.
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