Interview with Lisa & Laura Roecker

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters and co-authors of YA mystery The Haunting of Pemberly Brown - a novel that begins with a girl receiving an email from her dead best friend (how spooky/amazing does that sound?). They're represented by literary agent Catherine Drayton, of Inkwell Management.They write a hilarious blog, called Lisa and Laura Write. Before you dash off to their blog, read the interview with them here...

1. How did you start writing? Did you always write together?

We started writing together after a really long phone conversation about how bored we were with our lives. We wanted to do something meaningful and something fun. Because we've always loved to read we figured we'd take a stab at writing a book. It had never occurred to us to write together before, but when we started it was magic.

2. What's it like to co-write a novel? Do you argue about plot points and characters and love interests?

Co-writing amazing. We don't argue very often because we both have very different strengths. Lisa focuses more on plot and Laura is more of a details gal. We spend a lot of time talking about our characters and the plot together before we start writing. And then when that first chapter is complete, the book sort of writes itself. We just keep alternating chapters and editing as we go. The very best thing about writing as a team is that every time it's your turn to write the book feels new and fresh because you get to read a brand new chapter.

3. Were any parts of the writing process especially difficult? The first draft, or a revision you disagreed on?

Editing is always the most difficult part of the process for us. The first draft usually comes easily, but revising is tough. I can't remember a time where we've really disagreed on the direction of the book. Typically if we have different ideas we end up merging them together to create the best solution. Or we just go with Lisa's idea. She's older and bossier.

4. The Haunting of Pemberly Brown sounds hugely interesting. Was there anything in particular that spurred you to write a mystery novel for teenagers?

We loved books by Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan growing up, so we wanted to write something that we would have enjoyed as teenagers. Kate Lowry and Pemberly Brown sort of evolved from one creepy question: what would you do if you started getting e-mails from a ghost?

5. Can you tell me a bit about your search for an agent? Did you plan from the outset to try and publish your novel? Did you find an agent quickly or did it take a while?

We knew from the very first day that we started writing together that we would work our asses off to get a book published. We're in it for the fame and glory. Kidding. Sort of. For us, it all goes back to the joy of sharing books and ideas with others. We love our blog because we get to put our random thoughts out there on the interwebs and people actually read them and offer up their own random thoughts in return. It's actually kind of amazing. The same goes for books. We're both lifelong readers and we love reading a good book and passing it along to friends. Our biggest dream is to have someone read one of our books and immediately call one of their friends to tell them that they've got to read it.

As for our agent search, we sent our first query in October of 2008 for our first (doomed) novel. We wrote Pemberly Brown in January 2009 and signed with Catherine at the end of February. So it either took us 5 months or 2 months depending on when you start counting.

6. Do you have any wild dreams for when you're published authors?

We just want to hold a copy of our book in our hands. We can't imagine what that must feel like for an author and we can't wait to find out!

7. So, what are you working on now?

We're working on a book about a girl who runs away to Europe. It has been so fun to write because we both feel like we're on this journey with our main character.

8. Complete this sentence: My/our life outside of writing is...

like a really long episode of Nanny 911 with no commercial breaks.
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