I’m thrilled and honored to introduce two fantastic women to the Sunday Sessions. Liz and Lisa are easily my favorite writing duo. They write edgy domestic suspense, they’re friendship is adorable and real and they are warm and approachable. They are major social media gurus and host epic giveaways! These women champion the little free library and indie bookstores and support book clubs with style.
Am I gushing? Perhaps. But let’s give them the floor before I melt into an adoring puddle.
Please welcome San Diego authors Liz and Lisa to the blog as they share their latest The Two Lila Bennetts, available now!
Q. Can you describe The Two Lila Bennetts in three words?
A. Intense, suspenseful, surprising
Q. Tell us how you developed Lila’s character. Did you write out a bio or make a playlist or a Pinterest board?
A. None of the above! Lol. We sat down and talked about her. What did she look like? What was her marital status? Did she have kids? What was her personality like? Where did she work? What made her tick? Aside from her looks (we saw Zoey Deschanel when we were picturing her) the other things were flexible. Because as we start writing a character, she can evolve in ways we can’t predict. And Lila most definitely did along the way. We like to stay open to change in our characters as we feel we don’t know them until mid-way through the novel.
Q. What authors do you each like to read? What books have had a strong influence on your writing?
A. There are so many—more than we could ever list here!
Liz thinks it’s the “classics” that inspired her writing today—the books she was reading before she published her own books. That would include Something Blue and Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, And Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. These are books she re-reads every few years.
Lisa loves Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert—their memoirs have had a lot of influence on her as a writer. They both put themselves out there in unapologetic ways which speaks volumes. In addition to them, she will always pick up a book by Blake Crouch and Laura Dave.
Q. What book(s) are on your nightstand to read this summer?
A. Liz has read Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert, Layover by David Bell and How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway, among many others!
A. Lisa has read Recursion by Blake Crouch, The Friends We Keep by Jane Green, Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle, The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. To name just a few!
Q. What does your writing process look like? Do you write together or alternate chapters?
A. We alternate chapters. For example, Liz will write a chapter, send it to Lisa to edit, Lisa will edit that chapter then send back to Liz. We will go back and forth until we are satisfied with that chapter. Then Lisa will write a chapter and the process repeats. We could NOT write together in the way some co-authors do. We need our individual space. The closest we come to writing side by side is while on a writing retreat. But we are working on different chapters while in the same space.
Q. Do you listen to music? If so, does it vary based on the book?
A. Liz MUST listen to music while writing, and it does vary. She will find a song and play it on repeat for weeks on end—she finds that it helps her escape into the mind of her characters. (And also tune out the noise of her two teens, five dogs and one cat!)
A. Lisa listens to music sometimes. And it does vary from book to book. But there are times when she might be at the hair salon or in the car waiting to pick up carpool and it will just be her and her laptop and the ambient noise around her.
We don’t always make playlists, but we made one for The Good Widow which is on Spotify and we’ve created one for our next novel, out in 2020, which we will also put on Spotify.
Q. What do you do when you are not writing?
A. We both enjoy working out at Orange Theory. We both read. We both like to cook. Yes, we have a lot of similar interests!
Q. What genre, other than your own, do you enjoy?
A. Liz enjoys suspense, but has been gravitating toward lighter fare this summer—she’s loving all the rom-comish books!
A. Lisa enjoys historical fiction and has been reading a lot of romance as of late.
Q. What is something you can’t live without? (Excluding computer or phone.)
A. Liz could not live without water in her favorite corksicle—she can’t get enough!
A. Lisa could not live without coffee.
Q. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
A. Yes! We just turned in our book for summer of 2020 and it’s a different genre! We’re calling it a dark love story. Russian Doll meets One Day in December. It’s called How to Save a Life.
Q. Your friendship and partnership has lasted most of your lives and you have each grown and matured. Can you share your favorite quality about each other then and now?
A. Liz loves Lisa’s loyalty. Even back in high school, if you messed with one of Lisa’s friends, you messed with her! She is very protective of the people she loves.
A. Lisa has always appreciated Liz’s ability to make friends and stay connected to them. That’s a quality she had then and still has now.
Q. Where is your favorite place to write?
A. Liz remodeled her office a few years back and loves that space. She also enjoys writing at this super hipster-ish coffee shop near her house. The people watching is amazing!
A. Lisa doesn’t have any one favorite place. She likes to mix it up! Sometimes she’s in her office at home. Sometimes a coffee shop. Sometimes in her backyard.
Q. Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at.
A. Liz: solving problems and cooking!
A. Lisa: Cooking and organizing!
Q. What is your favorite place/restaurant/library/bar/event in Orange County?
A. We both love Fig & Olive in Newport Beach! And Tsunami Sushi in Huntington Beach!
Q. What would you like to say to your readers and fans?
A. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! You guys do so much to support us and we would not be anywhere without you!
Q. Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books?
A. You can find us at Instagram: @lisaandliz, Facebook: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke and Twitter: @lizandlisa. And of course, you can always swing by our website, www.lizandlisa.com to send us an email or sign up for our mailing list.
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