Happy Tuesday everyone; today I’m incredibly pleased to bring you a Q&A with uber successful writing duo Lisa & Liz! Most of us have been eagerly anticipating the release of their newest book THE GOOD WIDOW which is available June 1st, especially since this is their first time teaming up to write a novel of suspense. I was incredibly lucky to receive an early copy and guys, if you haven’t you’re going to want to add this one to you TBR immediately, it’s THAT good. If you missed it the first time around and would like to read my spoiler-free review you can find it HERE. Read on below if you’d like to hear a little more from the duo on their newest book, their writing process, and more.
Q&A WITH LISA AND LIZ:
Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you meet and what inspired you to begin a writing career together?
We met in 1987! Lisa was a new student at the high school Liz attended. She walked into Liz’s freshman English class wearing overalls and red-rimmed eyeglasses and for some reason, Liz didn’t hold the outfit against her. She quickly offered to show her around the school and they’ve been best friends ever since. Twenty years later, they sat down to write their first book.
We’d talked about writing a book together for years. As teens, we’d daydream about it as we compared notes on the latest Danielle Steel book we’d devoured. But time passed, life happened and two decades disappeared in the blink of an eye. Lisa was on a trip to Hawaii and started writing. She emailed it to Liz and the timing could not have been worse. Liz had just had a baby and was roaming around with a hollow look in her eyes as she tried to figure out motherhood. But Lisa was not taking no for answer—she even threatened to write it without her! (gasp!) That novel, we don’t talk about today. It was terrible! But it was the best thing that ever happened to us because our writing team was born.
Your previous books have fallen under the contemporary/women’s fiction umbrella. What caused you to switch genres and publish a novel of suspense?
We were almost exclusively reading suspense. One day, we looked at each other and said, why don’t we write the genre we are loving so much?
You’ve stated in your acknowledgements that you took a joint trip to Hawaii in researching for TGW. How did your families feel about the trip? Any funny stories you could share from your time spent there?
If by “our families” you mean our husbands. Well, let’s just say they would have appreciated more than ten days of notice! We had written almost the entire book before we went on this research trip. (Not the usual order of things, we know.) We realized, even though we’d been to Maui before, we needed to step into our characters’ shoes and see the story from their point of view. We feel the book became ten times better as a result. (And so far, people have singled out our descriptions as part of why they love the book.)
Funny stories? Always, when we are together! Liz bottomed out our rental car on the Road to Hana and as a result, something was dangling the entire time we drove on the unpaved back road—making us a little nervous as it was getting dark and we had spotty cell service!
Which character was your favorite to write and which was your most difficult to bring to life?
Jacks was our favorite character to write. We really like her and want to be friends with her. She’s tough, she’s smart and she’s flawed. She learns from her mistakes, she loves deeply and she is a great friend.
James was the most difficult—it’s always tricky to write a character that has done something other people will disapprove of. But that’s the thing about life—no person is all good or all bad. People are complex, and we had to make sure we revealed that.
Can you describe the process of co-writing a book? What are the logistics behind who writes which parts? As you both live on opposite sides of the country, do you come together in person for any part of the process?
We live two thousand miles apart so our writing process takes place almost entirely over email, text and phone calls. Once we’ve decided on the plot of the book and who the characters are, we start writing. One of us writes a chapter, passes it to the other person, she edits and passes it back. We repeat this process until we are happy with the chapter. Then we move on to the next and the next… The only time we get together in person and write in the same space is when we take our research trips.
We see that your next novel is set in Mexico; can we expect another novel of suspense? Can you give us any juicy details about the next book and if we should expect to see any repeat characters?
Yes! The book is set in Tulum! Another research trip was involved, but this time, we traveled there before we wrote one word of the book! It’s called Girl’s Night Out. It’s about four longtime friends who travel to Mexico hoping to repair their friendships that have fractured over the last year, but one of them disappears before that can happen.
YOU CAN PURCHASE THE GOOD WIDOW HERE! AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AND OUT ON JUNE 1ST!
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for 25 years and survived high school and college together. Liz lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, daughter and two bonus children.