This will be my first Sundays With Writers featuring a writing duo today in our weekly interview feature. Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for over 25 years and write books together about friendships that are fun and a perfect addition to a beach bag or a much-needed escape. I actually selected The Status of All Things for my local book club selection as we kicked off our next year of reading now that our kids are back to school.
Although the premise of the book is light, it still speaks a lot of truth about how we use social media and the image that we put out there for the world to see. So many times what is really happy and what we are sharing are so different and this lead to a good discussion on how we use social media in our own lives and how we filter those images and updates for the public.
Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.
Kate’s two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.
I love books with a magical realism theme and the idea that you can rewrite your own history through your Facebook status was such a good one. It also makes you think about how we present ourselves online and how our reality are often so different!
Grab your coffee & let’s settle in with our FIRST writing duo on Sundays With Writers!
You have been best friends for over 25 years and now co-author books together. Did you ever dream that your friendship would merge with your work life like this?
When we were in high school and college, we would talk about writing a book together “someday,” but I’m not sure either of us actually thought it was going to happen!
This is my first time asking questions to a dynamic duo instead of just one author. In my head one of you starts the story and then goes … and the next one picks up. Clearly, I know nothing about writing in tandem. What does your writing process look like when writing together?
Writing in tandem is the only way we know. Often authors will say to us, “I don’t know how you write with another person!” and we will respond, “We don’t know how you write alone!” Our system is pretty simple. One of us writes a chapter, the other edits, then we go back and forth until we are settled on that chapter. Then the other person writes the next chapter and so on.
Your book really centers on our many demons that we all deal with when it comes to social media, particularly the life that we put out there and the real lives we are leading. Are your struggles with social media similar to Kate’s?
Absolutely! Our own struggles are what gave us the idea for the book. We each have what we call a Facebook nemesis—that person we love to hate online. That person we are jealous of, even though we are fully aware their pictures are filtered and their status updates are edited. Sometimes it’s hard not to compare yourself and your kids to what others are doing—even if you know that you are only seeing a very small snapshot of someone else’s life. It’s important to understand it’s all just a game, and to not judge your own life by that yardstick.
The concept for you to change your future by changing the status of your Facebook update to match what you want to happen was such a fun one. If that could happen, tell me one status update you would post right now!
Lisa: I drank a bottle of wine and didn’t have a hangover. In fact, I still woke up at 6am and worked out! (She types as she takes a sip of her Meomi Pinot Noir.)
Liz: I developed a pill that lets you eat all the carbs you want without gaining weight! It’s a miracle!
Your book has made it on almost every beach read list created this summer! If any of us can escape the drudgery of our busy lives to head to the beach, what books would you recommend we pack for our vacation?
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. The completely unexpected twist at the end will make you want to re-read the entire book!
He’s Gone by Deb Caletti. The story of a husband who goes missing and the wife who pieces the mystery together. We’ve never read anything like it.
I understand that you are already working on your next book project! Can you give us a little info on what you are planning to publish next?
We are really excited about The Year We Turned Forty, which comes out April 26th, 2016. It’s about three best friends who get the chance to travel back ten years to the year they turned forty, a year in which they all made choices that changed the course of their lives.
If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be (we list it with all the recommendations over the year HERE)?
Lisa: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She’s a phenomenal writer and this is a memoir you will think about for years after reading it.
Liz: After I Do By Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s an incredibly insightful and refreshing narrative on the challenges of marriage.
You can connect with Lisa & Liz on Facebook or through their website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!
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