But after being told again and again that chick lit was going the way of the CD, and I shouldn’t even bother writing my own because no one would ever consider publishing it, I stumbled upon a website that assured me that everything was going to be okay.
That website was Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s Chick Lit is Not Dead. With a whip-smart sense of humor and true generosity of spirit, they were and continue to be enthusiastic champions for female writers, whether they regularly graced the New York Times bestseller list or like me, were very, very new to the scene.
With every post, they helped kick the naysayers to the curb and made a case for why the genre is still relevant, important and (whew!) not going away any time soon.
And now, with the recent release of Your Perfect Life (Washington Square Press), it’s Liz and Lisa’s moment to shine as authors. Already heralded as one of this summer’s best new releases in USA Today, I’m thrilled that Liz and Lisa took a few minutes from their busy travels to chat about what inspired Your Perfect Life and the logistics of two BFFs writing a novel together.
Christa: Thanks to your fabulous blog formerly known as Chick Lit is Not Dead, you’ve both been such an ardent supporter of authors, particularly strong female writers. Now how does it feel to flip the script and have your novel in readers’ hands?
Liz and Lisa: It feels weird!Every time one of our reviews goes up on Amazon, we squeal. It feels so good, but so strange at the same time. This week, we had readers send us pictures of our book in Barnes & Noble. It was so cool!
Christa: Now I know that Liz and Lisa (yes, I realize that I’m talking about you in the third person now…ha ha) have been best friends for quite a while. How did you first meet, and when did you decide that you absolutely, positively must write a novel together?
Liz and Lisa: Ooh, we love being spoken about in the third person! So fun!We met in our freshman year of high school. Lisa was new to the school and Liz will never forget when she walked into English class wearing red eyeglasses that were just like Sally Jesse Raphael’s! We bonded right away over our love of books, but it wasn’t until college that we first started talking about maybe one day writing a book. It was another ten years before we actually did it!
Christa: Considering that you don’t live in the same state and don’t probably get to see each other as often as you’d like, how did you manage to hang out and actually get a book written?
Liz and Lisa: Very carefully & when caffeinated! Believe it or not, we actually see each other more now that we live 2,000 miles apart! When we were closer in proximity, we took for granted that we were so close and often let too much time go by without getting together because we were so busy. Because we are now business partners and co-authors, we schedule more time for each other. Our process is this: We get together for a “writing retreat” in the beginning of the book to talk about the plot of the novel and to maybe have a little fun. (Let’s just say our last retreat was in Las Vegas). We generally know what will happen in the beginning, middle and end. Then, we go back to our homes and handle everything over email or phone. One of us will write a chapter, then pass it off to the other who then edits it. That person then writes the next chapter and so on.
Christa: One of the many lovely traits about writers is how attached they get to a word, a character or a particular plot twist. How do two friends who happen to be writers go about resolving inevitable conflicts like these?
Liz and Lisa: See question #4, “very carefully & when caffeinated! Ha! But seriously, we actually don’t have that many conflicts we have to resolve when it comes to our plot points or character traits. We’ve learned to listen to each other and let go of ideas that just aren’t working after we’ve heard the other’s opinion. But we do reserve the right to keep something in if we wrote it. But we rarely play that card.
Christa: How did you come up with the major Freaky Friday moment that happens with two friends in Your Perfect Life?
Liz and Lisa: We just really tried to put ourselves in their shoes, what would it REALLY feel like to live your best friends life? Would you be able to locate the remote control? Change the baby’s diaper? Navigate all the challenges in their lives?
Christa: When you’re not debating the finer points of your prose, what’s your favorite ways to kick back (separately or together)?
Liz and Lisa: Together, we enjoy going to Vegas with girlfriends or with couples. We’ve had a lot of fun there. Separately, Lisa loves to lie on the couch and watch mindless television. She also enjoys reading and Pilates.