Monday, August 23, 2010


Who better to discuss writing-in-tandem than blogger-writer-sisters extraordinaire Lisa & Laura Roecker, whose first YA novel, LIAR SOCIETY (Sourcebooks Fire) lands on shelves in March 2011. Don't forget to leave a comment here between now and Sunday for a chance to win LiLa's LIAR SOCIETY Surprise Prize!

SWK: Thanks for stopping by to chat about your joint writing adventures. Let's begin at the beginning. What made you decide to co-write LIAR SOCIETY?
LiLa: After writing our first failed manuscript, we discovered how much we loved to write together. Instead of attempting to fix all that was broken with the first one, we developed an entirely new idea. This idea eventually became LIAR SOCIETY (after being re-written a ridiculous number of times).

SWK: What is your process for writing together?
LiLa: We outline and develop characters/setting before we begin. At some point, we get bored hashing out the details and Lisa begins the first chapter. She always starts first because Laura is never fully on board with an idea until after she sees a first chapter. Laura then edits Lisa's work and writes the second chapter, sends back to Lisa who edits her work and writes the third. We continue on this way until the book is complete--or completely unrecognizable, whatever comes first!

SWK: Do you think writing as a team affected working with your editor?
LiLa: I'm not sure it had much of an impact aside from finishing things a bit quicker than we would have if we were only one person. All communication is handled together--we don't email or talk separately. Phone conversations are tricky and sometimes annoying. We have to conference in with our editor and there's a lot of talking over other people which is always fun.

SWK: What was the best, worst, scariest or funniest moment in the co-writing process?
LiLa: The best is beginning a new manuscript, when you're in that honeymoon stage. It's new and fresh and exciting...Scariest moments come when you've made a change to the outline, you love it and you're waiting to hear back from your partner to see if the change flies. We laugh a whole lot while writing. We make fun of ourselves, our writing and each other. We try not to take ourselves too seriously--we've made this mistake in the past with really embarrassing results.

SWK: Is there one particular aspect of the story or the writing process that you feel was better because you wrote as a team?
LiLa: Writer's block isn't as extreme when you're writing with a partner... It's nice when you get stuck to know that there is someone waiting to get you out of the hole that you've managed to dig yourself into.

SWK: What advice might you give to other writers considering a joint writing project?
LiLa: Edit, edit, edit. It is through our countless edits where we are able to create a unified voice. And communicate a whole lot...It is, after all, our manuscropt, so if something doesn't work for one of us, it doesn't work for both of us.

SWK: Okay, now for the game show questions!  Lisa-You're planning a suprise party for Laura. What's the restaurant (or type of cuisine)? Who's the famous author you'll invite to wow her?
LISA:'s kind of a toss up between pizza and Mexican. I think I'll go with Mexican so Laura can enjoy lots of Corona Lights. As for the famous author I think I'd have to say Jandy Nelson or Lauren Oliver. Laura adored THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE and BEFORE I FALL, so I have no doubt she'd be stuttering into her Corona if one of them showed up.

SWK: Laura-You can enlist ANY celebrity to style Lisa for your amazing LIAR SOCIETY launch party. Who's the famous guy or gal coming to make her day? And what color is the adorable dress?
LAURA: Jessica Simpson all the way. Kidding, kidding. No one should be forced to wear a jumpsuit to their launch party. I think I'd choose Tim Gunn to dress Lisa. He is so freaking picky and has impeccable taste. Hopefully he'd feel bad for me in my worn-to-five-weddings dress and take pity. I'm thinking the color would be kelly green. With pearls, of course.

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa and Laura! 

Have a comment about co-writing?  Would you wear pearls to a pizza party? 
ENTER to receive a surprise Countdown-to-LIAR-SOCIETY Give-away by leaving a comment at this post. Contest open to all ages-USA addresses only. Ends at 11:59 PM Pacific time on August 29. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on September 1.


Unknown said...

Wow they each write a chapter? It's so cool to hear how their writing process works! Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

Co-writing must be easier to get through writer's block, and yes, I'd wear pearls to a pizza party...with jeans!

A'lina said...

Great interview! Two sisters co-writing is so cool! I have Liar Society on my wishlist, sounds like it's going to be really good.

Dawn Simon said...

I've been following Lisa and Laura's blog for a while, so I'm already a fan. You two are so fun! I always enjoy learning about your process. The part about writer's block totally makes sense--what a great advantage. I think it's really special, the way you two teamed up. I look forward to when LIAR SOCIETY comes out!

Stasia, don't enter me since I already won one of your awesome contests. Thanks for bringing us such a fun interview!

Unknown said...

Lisa and Laura are the most gracious women! I wish them every success!

Anonymous said...

Wait, what? Corona Light? I'm telling Prosecco you're cheating on it. I bet the next bottle you open'll be pre-shaken and will spray all over that worn-to-five-weddings dress. Just see if it doesn't.


Anyhoo, you're right as raisins about that writers' block thingy. I've a serial noir project going with another writer, and half the fun is writing ourselves out of the corners we paint each other into. W00T for writing partners!

Lovely interview, Stasia. Except for the fashion bit. I mean, Tim Gunn is cool and all, but I'm a guy, so my last couple questions would have to be about bullfighting or vodka or something. Or maybe beer. Wait...there *was* that Corona comment, though....

Cara said...

I've always wanted to write. Wish I had a sister. Maybe in my next life ...

Laura S. said...

I have a sister, but she's not much into writing, which is too bad because she's good at it. But she's as much of a bookworm as I am, so I'm glad about that! My mom and one of my brothers write, though; they're not as serious as I am about it, but maybe I can talk one of them into co-writing a book with me, lol!

Lisa and Laura are a terrific team, and I can't wait to read Liar Society!!!

Erika Powell said...

I love Lisa and Laura's blog and I am so impressed that they write together. I always hated group projects of any kind so co-writing probably wouldn't be an option for me!

Matthew MacNish said...

These are two of my favorite people that I don't actually know in real life. Still, they're wonderful human beings.

Great interview, thanks for sharing Stasia.

I would love to someday write a novel or even some other kind of project with another writer, but I'll have to prove to myself that I can do it right first.

Elana Johnson said...

There's no one I love more that LiLa -- and they're two people! So I guess I have double love. Great interview!

lisa and laura said...

Thanks for having us Stasia and thanks for all the amazing comments guys! I know we always say this, but our absolute favorite thing about writing YA has been getting to know all of the amazing people in this community.

Little Ms J said...

Love those girls! Nice to meet you Stasia!

Stasia said...

Thanks for stopping by, all, and for the great comments. I'm so delighted to have come to know Lisa & Laura this year--what an amazing duo!

Joseph Miller said...


You ladies are awesome! What a unique process you have. May you have much success with all your endeavors.

Best Wishes,

Sherrie Petersen said...

Bummer I didn't find this sooner! I would have loved to win their book. *sigh*