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Malin, Libby

Malin, Libby

(Libby Sternberg)

PERSONAL:

Born in Baltimore, MD; married; children: three. Education: Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, B.A., M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Lancaster, PA. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Opera singer with the Hartford Opera Company, Hartford County, MD, Baltimore Opera, Baltimore, MD, and Washington Opera, Washington, DC; worked in public relations and for a music academy in PA.

WRITINGS:

(As Libby Sternberg) Uncovering Sadie's Secrets: A Bianca Balducci Mystery (young adult novel), Bancroft Press (Baltimore, MD), 2003.

(As Libby Sternberg) Finding the Forger: A Bianca Balducci Mystery (young adult novel), Bancroft Press (Baltimore, MD), 2004.

Loves Me, Loves Me Not (novel), Red Dress Ink (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Libby Malin first wrote under her married name, Libby Sternberg, when she penned her "Bianca Balducci" mysteries for young adults. The first, Uncovering Sadie's Secrets: A Bianca Balducci Mystery, finds the protagonist, high school sophomore Bianca, pursuing Doug and befriending the new girl, Sadie, whose life is complicated by two stalkers. Bianca, whose older sister is an actual private investigator, delves into Sadie's past as she attempts to unravel the mystery. "While Sternberg emphasizes mystery and action elements, she doesn't ignore deeper issues," observed a Kirkus Reviews writer about the novel.

In Finding the Forger: A Bianca Balducci Mystery, Bianca deals with jealousy when her best friend, Kerrie, seems to be spending an inappropriate amount of time with Doug. She then meets Neville, the British son of a board member of the local art museum, where art is being replaced with forgeries. Reviewers particularly praised the character of Bianca. For instance, School Library Journal contributor Michelle Capozzella wrote: "The author does a great job of capturing her voice." Ilene Cooper in Booklist noted "Bianca's first-person voice—droll, yet totally teen." A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Sternberg includes "a couple of nice red herrings along with some action sequences that make the story satisfying."

Loves Me, Loves Me Not is the author's first book under her maiden name, Libby Malin, and is written for adult readers. Amy Sheldon's fiancé, Rick, was killed in a car accident for which she feels responsible, and Amy devotes herself to managing a flower shop to cope with her grief. One of her clients, Henry Castle, comes into the shop, upset because an order for one of his many women was improperly filled. Henry, who is described as a "bed-hopping Latino," energizes her love life, but Amy is worried that he may not be right for her. Booklist critic Kristine Huntley felt that Malin's "clever debut" in the chick-lit genre "offers quite a few surprises along the way." "Lightweight but cute, Malin's plot moves along steadily enough toward its inevitable happy ending," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Malin told CA: "I always loved writing and wrote short stories (none of them published) for many years before seriously applying myself to trying to get my work published. I think every writer's life and world-view provide influences for his or her work and I'm no exception. I tend to be optimistic so even my gloomiest manuscripts will have a ray of sunshine at the end. I set myself a daily page quota when I'm trying to finish a manuscript and usually proceed through the novel in a linear fashion, sketching out some ideas first in either a bullet-form outline (very rough) or a narrative synopsis. I sometimes jump ahead to write critical scenes or scenes that are so vibrant in my head I can't not write them down.

"The business of writing has surprised me. I was one of those writers who imagined that once you sold your first book, you had ‘arrived.’ Little did I know how steep the hill to true writing success really is! Learning about building audiences and reaching out to readers who might enjoy my work has been a challenge. I've also found it challenging to determine what editors are looking for and how to persuade them that my book is what they should buy! My favorite book is probably one that has yet to be published, a retelling of the Jane Eyre story.

"I hope readers will come away from my books feeling less lonely, feeling there are others out there who have shared in their experiences and have found love or happiness or redemption along the way."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2003, Sally Estes, review of Uncovering Sadie's Secrets: A Bianca Balducci Mystery, p. 872; February 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Finding the Forger: A Bianca Balducci Mystery, p. 955; October 15, 2005, Kritine Huntley, review of Loves Me, Loves Me Not, p. 35.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of Uncovering Sadie's Secrets, p. 1857; December 15, 2004, review of Finding the Forger, p. 1209.

Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2005, review of Loves Me, Loves Me Not, p. 31.

School Library Journal, March 23, 2003, Delia Fritz, review of Uncovering Sadie's Secrets, p. 240; April, 2005, Michelle Capozzella, review of Finding the Forger, p. 143.

ONLINE

Libby Malin Home Page,http://www.libbymalin.com (July 22, 2006).

Libby Sternberg Home Page,http://www.libbysternberg.com (July 22, 2006).

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