Interview with my editor Julie Tibbott, author of MEMBERS ONLY – plus giveaway!

I honestly have no idea how editors do it. They have SO MANY BOOKS to deal with, all the time, constantly, waterfalls of books and meetings and revisions and deadlines, and all while dealing with those nutcase authors and their nutcase emails.

Which is why it’s so amazing that my editor, Julie Tibbott, found the time to write a book amongst the madness. And her second book, at that! It’s called MEMBERS ONLY, and it is about cults and secret societies, which is so friggin’ cool, and – well, here, I’ll just let her tell you about it.

Members Only book coverGive us the MEMBERS ONLY spiel.
Throughout human history, people have banded together to pass on traditions, climb the social ladder, and often just have a good time. And sometimes, keeping other people out is part of the fun. (Every hot club needs a velvet rope, after all.) But some of these groups have proved so exclusive and secretive that we on the outside can’t resist some speculation. Wouldn’t you like to know what they’re really up to? No need for secret handshakes or passwords— MEMBERS ONLY is your all-access guide to the secret societies, clandestine cults, and exclusive associations that you’ve always wondered about. Profiling over fifty groups, from the centuries-old Freemasons to the snooty Skull and Bones Society to a club just for magicians, this book reveals the secrets of these mysterious organizations — and even tells you how to join up. Get ready to go underground and explore secret worlds that are sometimes shocking, sometimes frightening, and always fascinating.

What is your favorite cult/sect/secret society mentioned in the book?
There are so many interesting ones, but for my money, the Hellfire Club has it all: rowdy aristocrats, costumes, orgies, even Ben Franklin! For a bunch of 18th century gentlemen, these guys sure knew how to party. The purpose of the Hellfire Club was to ridicule religion and conventional morality, which members achieved by performing mock religious ceremonies and having dinners where they dressed as characters from the Bible and consumed dishes such as “Devil’s Loin” and “Holy Ghost Pie.” For awhile they held their meetings in an actual abbey, and then they moved the festivities to an underground cave, formerly the site of Pagan rituals. You can visit the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, UK.

Was there any sort of crazy research you had to do? Break into a highly guarded vault in an evil mountain lair?
Unfortunately, my resources didn’t allow for much globe-hopping in the name of research, and besides, many of the groups profiled in the book are now defunct and therefore not available for infiltration. I did get to interview some interesting folks, though. The Society of Creative Anachronism, for example, sets up medieval-style kingdoms across the world, and I interviewed a few of their monarchs. I also spoke to some young Freemasons, mediums, a cult de-programmer, and a magician, all of whom you can read about in the book!

© Jessica Kourkounis
© Jessica Kourkounis

And now it’s time for me to blatantly steal from Inside the Actors Studio and go all James Lipton on your ass. What turns you on?
People who can hang.

What turns you off?
People who can’t hang.

What sound or noise do you love?
Rolling skateboards, tires over rain in city streets, cats purring.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Alarm clocks, animals in pain.

What is your favorite curse word?
The one that I encourage you to go easy on in your books!

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Being an antiques appraiser seems like such a cool job. I’d love to pick up some obscure object and know its whole history. I also like the idea of being a detective, but since you’ve actually got to be a cop to do that—no thanks. Maybe one day I’ll do the next best thing and write a mystery novel.

What profession would you not like to do?
Grave digger, embalmer, honeydipper, Guantanamo Bay interrogator, politician, daytime television host, TSA agent, food delivery person in extreme weather . . . most things, probably.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Julie Tibbott is an editor of teen fiction at a major publishing house. She lives on New York City’s Lower East Side, once home to many organized crime syndicates, street gangs, and underground anarchists. She’s not a member of any secret societies . . . or is she?

Buy MEMBERS ONLY now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Powell’s

Or…win a copy! Julie is giving away a signed copy – simply fill out the form below to enter. Good luck!

Giveaway closed. Thanks to all who entered!



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