So for those of you that don't know, October (besides December, of course!) is one of my most favorite months of the year. Not only because of the awesomeness that is Halloween that the month of October is associated with, but because of what ELSE comes with it: hot apple cider, beautiful fall weather, and of course, awsome new books! In other words, this month is totally made of WIN!
So in honor of today being the first day of October, and the start of what I'm sure is going to turn out to be a kick ass month for a whole slew of reasons (like "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick, coming out on October 13th! I cannot WAIT! Mark your calenders, everyone!) I'd like to introduce you to two writers who are also, like October, made of total and complete awesomeness and WIN! Everyone please welcome Lisa and Laura Roecker, sisters and authors of "The Haunting of Pemberly Brown", which is currntly on submission! Now, onto Part 1 of the 2 part interview:
Part 1: Lisa’s Answers!
1)Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
My original dream job was to be the person who wrote the back flap copy on books. So, sort of close, right?
2) How did you come up with the idea for “A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown”? Did it just come to you, or was it more of a gradual progression?
I had an idea about someone getting e-mails from a dead person, as far as I knew it hadn’t been done before and I thought it would make such a good hook. I toyed around with a wife getting e-mails from her dead husband and then finally stumbled upon the idea for Kate, a girl mourning her best friend turned detective once she starts getting the creepy e-mails.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from while you are writing? For example, do you listen to music while you write or sit outside?
I write late at night in complete silence. Sometimes I can have music playing but usually only if I’m editing. My inspiration is trashy reality TV and anything on the CW. Those shows make me feel like I still have a handle on what’s going on in teen culture. Plus I love them.
4) How do you stay motivated to write? Even though you are almost published, have you ever wanted to give up? And if so, how did you pull yourself back from the “edge”?
I refuse to give up until we’ve published a book or actually lots of books. I just love this too much to let it go. Plus, I don’t really have anything else to do, so it’s sort of write or die trying for me.
5) Tell us about your writing habits: where you write, when you write, how much you write, etc.
I write in a recliner in my family room every night after my husband and kids fall asleep. If we’re writing a first draft, I’ll usually shoot for writing about 1,500 – 2,000 words, plus editing the chapter that came before it. If we’re revising I try to revise 20 pages a night. If I do much more than that I tend to get a little burned out.
6) How do you deal with constructive (or not) criticism? And if it’s negative, how do you deal with it?
I love it when writers, agents or editors who are far more talented than we are tell us what is wrong with our book. We have no pride. If there is something that’s not working we will not hesitate to make dramatic changes. We want to write books that are marketable and easy to sell and part of that means that we have to be willing to make our writing as appealing as possible to a mass audience.
7) How many stories did you start writing before you found a “winner” and how did you know you’d found a keeper?
Our first book was a trainwreck, but we loved it. I still sort of love it even though I know it’s a total nightmare. There’s some funny stuff in that book. And honestly, I’m not sure we ever know if we have a winner or not. In order for us to write we have to love the idea and the characters. When we’re in love, it’s easy. I guess the hard part is finding someone else to fall in love with it too. We’ve got the agent and we’re still looking for an editor. Hopefully soon!
8) Do you have any new writing projects in the works? Can you tell us about them?
UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE is up next and I love, love, love this book. It’s about a girl who decides to run away from her boarding school to come to terms with the death of her sister.
9) When you started writing "A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown" were you planning on trying to get it published, or did that part come later?
We’re publication whores. We’re writing to get published. Period. End of story. I love writing, and I love the idea of teens reading our work. I love the idea of holding our book in our hands someday. And I love the idea of being able to write for a living. But, I’ll only write books that I would love to read. I wouldn’t be able to crank out books that I didn’t love.
10) What did you do to celebrate when you found out that you were getting signed by your agent?
My husband brought home a bottle of champagne, so that was fun! I think the real celebration is going to happen when we find a publisher. I can’t even imagine what that moment will be like.
11) What are the best and worse things about being sister writing partners?
We’re sisters and we’re best friends, so it’s very easy for us to write together. The best part is that it’s so much fun. I love making Laura laugh and impressing her with my writing, so I’m always at my best when we’re writing together. I also love that she can fix all of the mistakes in my writing and fill in all the blanks. Even better she writes chapters that I would never have thought of myself. Writing together is pretty much the best thing ever.
12) Now that you’re almost a published author and a more experienced writer, what advice would you give to your unpublished self?
If you have a little niggling doubt about something in your manuscript: FIX IT. We have the tendency to lie to ourselves sometimes and that’s not good. Also, take feedback from anyone who will dish it out. Even though you might not agree with all of it, there is a kernel of truth in just about every criticism. Find it.
13) What were the most difficult and best parts of writing your second (because your first, as you say, is “collecting dust on a very, very high shelf”) novel? How long did it take you to write from concept to outlining to completion to sending if off to agents?
I couldn’t start the second book until I was sure that the first book was complete crap. And once I had mourned the loss of the book, I was ready to write something better. We started outlining the book in December 2008 and we sent our first query out at the end of February. It sounds really fast, but don’t forget that there are two of us writing.
14) Can you briefly detail your journey to publication after finishing your second book? (Finding an agent, an editor, promoting the book, etc.)
We were lucky enough to have 3 different agents offer representation and we ended up going with Catherine because we fell in love with her vision for the book. She had some editorial comments so we ended up doing a pretty substantial revision in March and April and then when we went out on submission at the end of May. As of right now we’re waiting to hear back from editors and hoping that one of them will fall in love with Kate, so I guess the rest of the story is TBD.
15) What is your writing process like?
I love a good outline. As soon as we’ve hashed out loose version of the plot we write a very detailed chapter by chapter outline of the entire book. And then I write the first chapter and send it to Laura. Laura revises my chapter, and writes the next chapter and then we go back and forth until the book is done.
16) What kind of atmosphere do you prefer to write in, calm or chaos?
Calm! But I have definitely cranked out chapters with the kids screaming too. Depends on my mood.
17) Do you have any odd and unusual habits which help you in regards to writing?
I tend to be a little bit of an ADD writer. I write a paragraph, get bored, check the blog, write another page, check Twitter. I sort of flit around a lot, and I honestly can’t write a word until it’s midnight and I have nothing left to do except write. Well, technically, write or sleep. And I always choose write.