Jen: Today is the debut of Romancing the Book and we are happy to have Chick Lit authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke as your first guests. Will you each please share a short bio with us?
Liz and Lisa: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been friends for over twenty years since the day Lisa walked into Freshman English class wearing eye glasses that made her look like Sally Jesse Raphael’s younger, but much more stylish sister. They both attended Cal Poly Pomona University and each graduated with a degree in Communication. Ten years later, they began writing their debut Chick Lit novel I’ll Have Who She’s Having. Liz is married with two children and Lisa is engaged. Until six months ago, they both resided in Long Beach, CA. But now Lisa has moved to Chicago and can no longer deny that she is, in fact, living there. They just finished writing their second dual narrative Chick Lit novel. Both Liz and Lisa contribute to the popular women’s website, Sheknows.com, Lisa writes a weekly post for the Unabashedly Bookish blog on BarnesandNoble.com and Liz is a regular contributor to RealMomsGuide.com
Jen: Tell us about I’ll Have Who She’s Having and where it’s available.
Liz and Lisa: What happens when a man comes between one desperately single and one very married sister? Kate’s been depressed ever since yet another long-term boyfriend unceremoniously dumped her. When her younger and married sister Kelly convinces her the way to meet a quality man is for the two of them to sign up for a volleyball class, she’s just desperate enough to agree. But Kate becomes so fixated on her volleyball coach that she fails to see an unlikely but perfect match right in front of her
Kate’s been less than happy for longer than she wants to admit. She’s the one who appears to have it all: the perfect husband, the big house and the beautiful daughter. Despite it all, she feels an emptiness that she can’t explain and is conflicted when it’s her volleyball coach who offers an answer.
I’ll Have Who She’s Having follows Kate and Kelly as they battle themselves and each other in their search for a happy ending. Through a series of self-doubt and hardship, they both realize they were looking for happiness in all the wrong places. It’s a novel for anyone who ever secretly let their insecurities get the best of them.
Jen: At what age did you each discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Liz and Lisa: I (Lisa) was nine years old when I wrote my first book, There’s a Jungle In My Closet. It wasn’t officially published (unless you count my mom passing it around the neighborhood) but it did help me discover my passion for writing. I (Liz) also started writing at a very young age- short stories and poems, mostly about my brothers and how annoyed I always was with them. I’ll Have Who She’s Having is our first published work.
Jen: How do your families feel about your career?
Liz and Lisa: (Lisa) My fiancé brings new meaning to the word supportive. About six months ago, I moved from Los Angeles to Chicago to live with him and left my television career behind. His support has allowed me to be able to write full-time. Thank you future hubs!
(Liz) Thankfully my husband is also incredibly supportive. Trying to write in the middle of Grand Central Station (also know as my house) can be challenging but he’s a pro at diverting our two children so I can get some work done. I couldn’t do it without him.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Liz and Lisa: Oh we’re very fly by the seat of our pants with our writing. Other than coming up with a hard and fast deadline for when we have to be finished, we “go with the flow”… We come up with our concept, talk about a “direction” the book will go in and see where the writing takes us. Not traditional, but it always seems to work well!
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Liz and Lisa: Lucky for us, I’ll Have Who She’s Having didn’t require much research. (Unless you count sitting on the beach checking out hot men playing volleyball research.)
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Liz and Lisa: (Liz) The most challenging aspect for me is making time. I’m still working full time as a pharmaceutical sales rep have two kids under six that think Mommy spends way too much time on the “puter”. The easiest part? Writing with Lisa. We really feed off other and have fun! (Lisa) For me, it’s not succumbing to the addictive side of both Facebook and Twitter. And the easiest? The fact that I can have an extremely productive day without ever stepping foot outside or changing out of my Juicy sweat suit!
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Liz and Lisa: For us, the most rewarding part of being a writer is making someone laugh! If we can elicit even a chuckle, we’re happy we’ve entertained you. And if we can get a full LOL, we’re on cloud nine!
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Liz and Lisa: It’s Chick Lit/women’s fiction all the way for us. We’d probably never attempt to write historical fiction. Three words: Too. Much. Research. And we went through a YA phase for one day. Until we remembered that we hadn’t been YAs in a very, very long time.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Liz and Lisa: It was after reading, Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (our absolute favorite Chick Lit novel), that we decided to get off our arses and finally write our novel (Thanks for the push, Emily!). And we’re also very inspired by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus because you’d never know that two people are writing their books- they have a very fluid voice. And as a writing team, we now have a full appreciation for how challenging not only to write with another person but to learn to compromise, take criticism and work as a team while doing it.
Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Liz and Lisa: Emily Giffin, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are on this list too.
We’re also huge fans of Allison Winn Scotch, Stephanie Klein and Judy Blume. And we would LOVE to know more about their writing process. Are we the only ones who can’t type one word before total caffeination?
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Liz and Lisa: We’re not even 100% sure we’ve celebrated yet. We’re not sure it counts as an official celebration, but we clinked our champagne glasses together once and said “congratulations”. Did we mention it was good champagne?
Jen: What’s next for you?
Liz and Lisa: We’ve just finished our second dual narrative Chick Lit novel. It’s about two women who never expected to find themselves in the complicated world of divorce.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Liz and Lisa: Who are your favorite Chick Lit writers? Why?
Jen: Liz and Lisa are giving away 5 copies of I’ll Have Who She’s Having to 5 random commenters. The contest is open to US residents only. To enter the contest you first need to leave a comment or question for Liz and Lisa. Then to finish your entry, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winners will be announced during the evening of Tuesday, February 2. We’re extending the contest deadline to Sunday, February 7.