Interview with TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! author Libbie Hawker

Today we have a special guest to share with you! Help us welcome Libbie Hawker to the blog! Libbie is a fiction and non-fiction author, and is here to talk to us about her book TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! Outline your books for faster, better writing. Stick around! After the interview you can also enter to win a copy of her book. 

Today we have a special guest to share with you! Help us welcome Libbie Hawker to the blog! Libbie is a fiction and non-fiction author, and is here to talk to us about her book TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! Outline your books for faster, better writing. Stick around! After the interview you can also enter to win a copy of her book. >>> 

First, a little about Libbie:

Libbie Hawker writes literary and historical fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands with her husband Paul and two very naughty cats. When she's not writing, you can find Libbie sailing, road-tripping, and working on her podcast about Jem and the Holograms. The author of more than twenty books, she also writes as Lib Starling and L. M. Hawk.

Learn more about Libbie on her website!


About TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! Outline your books for faster, better writing:

When it comes to writing books, are you a “plotter” or a “pantser?” Is one method really better than the other? 

In this instructional ebook, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting time or words. 

Hawker’s outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve your writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you. 

Take off your pants! It’s time to start outlining. 


Let's dive in! And remember to stick around for the giveaway (details below the interview).

Bridgid Gallagher (Dread Pirate B.): Do you think pantsters should consider plotting (why or why not)?

Libbie Hawker: I think every author can benefit tremendously from learning how to outline effectively. That doesn't mean you have to outline every book you write (I don't!), but the ability to outline will give you a significant advantage in many respects. You'll be able to predict how long your books will be, and therefore how long it will take you to complete a draft; you'll be able to check your books for crucial features, such as strong hooks, tight pacing, and a satisfactory ending, before you even begin to write. And best of all, you'll be able to avoid writing off into corners, so you'll waste less writing time and have a much easier task when it comes time to edit.

BG/DPB: What makes your outlining method different from other outlining methods?

LH: I focus on the main character(s) instead of just the events of a plot. By making a character central to every aspect of the book, you ensure that every aspect is compelling and also that each feature of your book (setting, theme, etc.) relates to the others. Character-focused stories grab readers, because we are instinctively drawn to people much more than we're drawn to things like setting or action. Setting and action are still very important, but making a character the indisputable focus of your story ensures much more commitment and involvement from your readers.

Libbie Hawker writes literary and historical fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands with her husband Paul and two very naughty cats. When she's not writing, you can find Libbie sailing, road-tripping, and working on her podcast about Jem and the Holograms. The author of more than twenty books, she also writes as Lib Starling and L. M. Hawk.

BG/DPB: How long did it take you to develop your method of outlining?

LH: I developed my method over a couple of years, testing it out and refining my approach each time I wrote another novel. I'm about to start work on my twenty-first novel today, so I've had lots of opportunity to test it out and tweak the method to enhance efficiency.

BG/DPB: You mentioned The Anatomy of Story Structure by John Truby a few times in your book, are there other writing craft or outlining resources you would recommend? 

LH: I really enjoy listening to writing podcasts because you're exposed to so many new perspectives from many different authors. Some of my favorites include Wordslinger, Rocking Self-Publishing, The Self-Publishing Podcast, The Creative Penn, Self-Publishing Roundtable, Write With Impact, and AuthorStrong. I'd encourage anybody who's looking for new insights into craft to check out the discussions on these awesome podcasts, and to follow through with any books or authors that seem to speak to you on an individual level.

Libbie Hawker writes literary and historical fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands with her husband Paul and two very naughty cats. When she's not writing, you can find Libbie sailing, road-tripping, and working on her podcast about Jem and the Holograms. The author of more than twenty books, she also writes as Lib Starling and L. M. Hawk.

Click the images below to learn more about Libbie's podcast recommendations:


I do really love Rachel Aaron's book "2K to 10K," as well. That book is fantastic for helping you pin down your own "best practices," identifying your own strongest routines and your own windows of maximum efficiency.

BG/DPB: Are there other books or projects you're working on that we should know about? 

LH: I put out a new how-to book for authors this past fall. It's specifically for people who are seeking to establish a career in historical fiction. It's called "Making It in Historical Fiction." There seemed to be a real need for somebody or something to help guide many historical novelists away from pursuing the traditionally publishing path exclusively, and encouraging them to embrace the indie movement. Hopefully my book is helping with that!

On the fiction front, I just wrapped up a very big historical series with a lot of scope (nine POV characters!) and I'm breathing a sigh of relief now that it's done. The series is called The Book of Coming Forth by Day, if anybody is interested in checking it out.

Now I'm hard at work on something totally new for me, an urban fantasy series set in modern-day Arizona. I've never written UF before, but I'm having so much fun with it! The first three books of this series (called Skinwalker) will be published on July 26th under a different pen name (L. M. Hawk.) I'm very excited to see what urban fantasy fans think of them!

BG/DPB: Very exciting, Libbie! Best of luck with your fiction and non-fiction projects, and thank you so much for spending time with us today! 


Friends, Libbie has been so generous - we have FIVE copies of TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS! to give away! This book is a quick read and her outlining technique might be a perfect fit for you. Want a copy? (Answer: YES, YOU DO!) Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!