Q&A with Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Current book - Girls’ Night Out This book is out July 24. Pick up their other books too!!
Full review is on the blog.
Here are my July 4th featured authors. The first time I ever had any contact with Lisa and Liz was during the first couple of months after I started my Bookstagram account. I put up a post about their book The Year I Turned Forty and how much I liked it. They commented on my post and we got to chatting. They sent me an ecopy of The Good Widow which I loved. These were the first authors I actually connected with personally. I was pretty excited!! Over time we have commented on things on each other’s posts or stories. I chose Lisa and Liz for my July 4 post for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is their interaction and kindness with bookstagrammers and bloggers. They are always open to answering our questions and engaging with us. We get to see a snippet of their lives on their stories which shows just real and authentic they are and how much they accommodate their readers. It is so appreciated! Another reason of course is that their books are awesome! Their latest is Girls’ Night Out and it is a great story of friendship and suspense. An added bonus is that it is written so well you really feel like you have been transported to Mexico.
1. I know you get asked this all the time but how do you write when Lisa lives in Chicago and Liz is in San Diego? I know when you have dual characters telling the story you each write as one of them. What happens with a book like Girls’ Night Out?
We actually only wrote specific characters for our first novel, YOUR PERFECT LIFE. After that, we decided to switch off chapter and narratives regardless moving forward, in order to blend our voices and keep us both fully invested in every aspect of the story. Liz will write a chapter and send it off to Lisa, who edits it and sends back. They work on it until they are happy and then Lisa will write the next one. GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT was especially challenging because there are three narratives and three timelines!
2. Girls’ Night Out is a story of decades old friendships which is something you both know something about. As I was reading the book and the struggles and problems in the friendships of the characters I was getting an uneasy feeling wondering if there was not fiction here but if you were incorporating grievances with each other a bit. Then I read that you both had struggled writing the book and your friendship was severely tested. Did you ever think of not admitting that to your readers or were you both comfortable doing so?
We’ve always believed that it’s important to be honest, especially in this age of so-called perfection on social media. Once our publisher was (finally!) happy with GNO, we turned to each other and said, we need to tell our story, too. In many ways, it was cathartic. Friendship can be hard. But if you are both willing to put in the work and be forgiving, it’s absolutely worth it.
3. A lot of the friendship issues in the book are felt by many of us in one way or the other. Have any of your readers commented that they saw their own friendships differently after reading the book? Either by being more empathetic to their friend or realizing the friendship wasn’t worth saving?
Yes! We’ve had several people comment that we captured the complexities of long-term friendships in GNO well. In our opinion, they are much different beast than other relationships. Something about being present as you both grow up and find yourselves, standing witness as you fall flat, and then persevere, as you morph and change into a wife and then parent, is very complicated and powerful all at the same time.
4. There are other issues raised in the book such as domestic abuse. None of these woman were living perfect lives. Do you think if they would have been more honest with each other previously it would have strengthened or harmed their bonds to each other?
Yes, because they would have understood each other so much better. That’s something we find fascinating—how easy it is to misunderstand someone when you don’t get their true motivations. But revealing deeply hurtful things, even to those closest to you, can be difficult.
5. Since re-evaluating your own friendship do you think it is stronger and can you avoid some of the tensions from before?
For sure. We are both thankful it happened! We were in desperate need of a re-boot, to reset our inner dialogue about each other. We still are not even close to perfect, but we are kinder and more thoughtful. Sometimes you have to risk losing something to remember why it is so important.
6. So - when does the next book come out? It is already being published right and you are working on another one?
We just finished a novel that we hope will release next summer! We can’t say much, but we had a really fun time writing this one and hope you all love it as much as we do.
7. We got to see you go on a great vacation with your families recently on your insta stories. Do you all travel well together?
We do—it’s one of our superpowers! Our husbands love each other and our kids are like family, so it’s always a great time when we get together.
8. Are we going to see some of the destinations you recently travelled to in a book?
Yes! Next year’s release takes place in Downtown Los Angeles, and we spent some time there to make sure we captured the juxtaposition of its grit and urban beauty.
9. Lisa do you have any plans to move back to California in the future?
Yes! Next Summer! It’s happening!
10. Do you ever feel jealous of each other when there is a great event happening near one of you and the other can’t attend?
Not jealous, per se. Probably just a little sad!
11. Your husbands are obviously very supportive of both of you. Where did you meet your husband’s?
Liz met her husband at her first post-college job—they didn’t work at the same location, but a mutual friend thought they’d hit it off, and they did! Lisa and her husband were also set up by a friend, and managed a long-distance relationship for quite a while before she packed up and moved to Chicago!
12. You both love dogs. Do you both have rescue dogs?
Yes! Liz has five, (yes, FIVE!) and Lisa has two. Liz has some property and she tells herself that makes it okay to bring home every dog she sees. Her husband has banned her from the shelter until further notice!
13. What are your plans for Independence Day?
We will be together in San Diego! Liz has a great view odfireworks from her house, so they’ll be sipping cocktails and planning their next book. (Just kidding—they’ll be too buzzed for that!)