Take 5 with Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of I’ll Have Who She’s Having

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s 20-year friendship is the stuff chick lit novels are made of—literally!  Not only are Liz and Lisa a dynamic duo in their own right, but they pooled their talents to co-wrote their first book, I’ll Have Who She’s Having.  Both ladies say they have Type A personalities, so they worked out their control issues by writing a dual narrative book, each focusing on one main character.

The two main protagonists—Kate and Kelly—are sisters (and best friends) who are at two very different stages in their lives.  While Kelly is still trying to land a man, Kate is struggling as a stay-at-home mom with an infant.  Each sister searches for self-significance in an idealized relationship with one man—their volleyball coach!  The result is…well, you’ll just have to read the book now, won’t you?

Because they are amazingly beautiful and intelligent, Liz and Lisa agreed to Take 5 with Backseat Writer.  I hope you find them as amusing and brilliant as I do!

How does the friendship between the Walker sisters, Kate and Kelly, mimic your friendship with one another?

Lisa: Liz and I are a lot like Kate and Kelly. For example, there was the time I dressed up like Britney Spears and tried to steal one of her boyfriends. Just kidding!

In all seriousness, we are like sisters in every way (except I don’t have frizzy hair and she doesn’t have a pointy nose!). From the love and support to the break ups and make ups, through our 20+ years of being friends, we’ve always known each other as well as we know ourselves. And that’s what makes our friendship just as strong as Kate and Kelly’s sisterhood bond.

Liz: When we wrote the book, Lisa and I couldn’t have been more different than our characters (er, if you don’t count the fact that Lisa was single with a string of recent break ups under her belt and I was married with two kids)…but our friendship really is very similar in that we value the other’s opinion as much as our own. And we know we can always count on each other.

No matter what life stage a woman is in, it seems like she battles with feeling attractive, sexy, and desirable—something that single, sexy Kate and new mom Kelly both deal with in different ways.  Why do you think women battle so much with these feelings and how do you think reading about Kelly and Kate’s struggles might empower women?

Lisa: If only we had the answers to why women battle so much with negative body image or more importantly, the answer to make it stop!

Through Kate’s character, we wanted to show that you can be thin and attractive like Kate and still have insecurities about the way you look. We think women will relate to this character because how a woman feels about herself has more to do with inner confidence than anything else. And part of Kate’s journey is battling the issues she has that have nothing to do with her physical appearance.

Liz: As a mother of two, I hoped other moms would be able to relate to the struggles Kelly goes through with her own body image. Until the end of time, women will always compare themselves to each other (it’s just what we do!) and for Kelly, she struggles with not having the same body type as her sister, Kate, and her mother, Kitty. But, like Kate, she realizes her struggles with feeling inferior about her looks have more to do with her insecurities as a new mother and in her marriage.

Can you spill about the next Liz and Lisa masterpiece?

Lisa & Lisa: First, thank you for calling it a masterpiece! What we can tell you, is that our next book is again about women. (What better subject is there?) And this time, we’re tackling the important topic of divorce. And how women can tend to misunderstand and judge each other in tense and difficult situations like the break up of a marriage.

Another great way to get a weekly dose of Liz and Liz is by reading your joint blog, Chick Lit Is Not Dead.  So, come on, ladies, why should people read it?

Lisa: Because it’s (brutally) honest.

Liz: We write about things that happen to a lot of women- single, married and moms alike- in a way that we hope elicits a COL (chortle out loud) or two.

Since you reference singing and karaoke so much in your book, I must know—what’s your biggest karaoke disaster? (Mine was after having a terrible night singing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” at a TGI Friday’s.  It was wretched and yet so empowering.)

Lisa: I have a steadfast rule. No. Karaoke. Evuh.  This is because my voice is worse than Cameron Diaz’s in MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING. Trust me; the world will be happy I spared them the pain.

Liz: I was karaoke-ing (is that a word?) in college with a friend and in a bold and inexplicable move, I decided to go solo! Um, I’m not sure what the problem was—the song choice (Whitney Houston) the drinks before (they all ended with ‘drop’) or my voice (I’d like to think it wasn’t my voice!) but let’s just say, my only solo since has been in the shower!

For more Liz and Lisa fun, be sure to check out their blog Chick Lit Is Not Dead and follow the ladies on Twitter (@lizandlisa) for an array of colorful and humorous comments!

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