I first met ‘THE SISTERS’ – as our mutual Soho Press publicist, Meredith Barnes like to call them, yes, with the CAPS—back in March 2010 at the launch of Sourcebooks Fire YA imprint. My debut DREAMING ANASTASIA had just come out a few months back and their debut THE LIAR SOCIETY, was on its way. We chatted briefly, the way people do at these things. We listened to Tiger Beat play, because yeah, we shared (and still share) an editor—Dan Ehrenhaft— who plays guitar in an all YA author band with Libba Bray singing vocals. Which yeah, is very cool. Sometimes mind-blowing.
But back to LISA AND LAURA! They rock. LIAR SOCIETY came out and I loved it. Secret society, private school, kick ass girls kind of mystery. Sleek and fun and oh so well-written. As were the two sequels.
And the best part was, that even though they were in Ohio and I was in Texas and we have honestly NEVER SEEN EACH OTHER IN PERSON again, we kept up the conversation. Why, you may ask? Is it because you chat about publishing and the brilliant people you work with and the FATE OF THE BOOK? Because we both have new books as part of yet another debut imprint – SOHO TEEN at SOHO PRESS, a wonderful, nimble publisher of fabulous books including ours? And we both work with editor Dan again, now at Soho Press?
Nah. It’s because along the way we discovered our mutual low brow TV tastes. Specifically all things Bravo. Housewives. All of them. Andy Cohen, in general. Gallery Girls (a travesty that they cancelled after only one season). Princesses Long Island. I could go on. But I will spare you. Let us just say WE BONDED. Andy Cohen needs to have us all behind the bar on Watch What’s Happening Live. Meredith Barnes needs to GET ON THIS!
THE SISTERS are here with me to talk about THIS IS W.A.R., their new YA, out today from Soho Press! Here is a brief synopsis:
This is not a story of forgiveness...
The mystery of their best friend's murder drives four girls to destroy the Gregory family. Emily Thorne would be proud.
Everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club saw Willa Ames-Rowan climb into a boat with James Gregory, the Club’s heir apparent.
And everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club watched him return. Alone.
They all know he killed her. But none of them will say a word. The Gregory family is very, very good at making problems go away.
Enter the W.A.R.—the war to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan. Four girls. Four very different motives for justice and revenge, and only one rule: destroy the Gregory family at any cost.
I know, right?? I was lucky to read an ARC and so I’ve known for awhile how kick ass this book is! In fact one lucky one of you will WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY!! So make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!
But first, Lisa and Laura are chatting today about reviews. Yeah, I know, everyone’s favorite thing, right? Of course, people like Publisher’s Weekly are saying fabulous things about THIS IS WAR. “The Roecker sisters (the Liar Society books) weave money, power, and secrets into this suspenseful story of four teenage girls determined to avenge their friend’s murder.”
But every author knows that reviews can be tough. So here’s some advice from my favorite SISTERS!
My senior year of high school, I took AP English and my teacher hated me. I think he thought I was an idiot. I’d write a response to one of his prompts and his red pen remark would read, “Perhaps you’re thinking of the movie version” or some other hate-filled reaction. I’m not saying I was a genius, I wasn’t, but I wasn’t that stupid. And for the record, I did actually read Hemingway’s A FAREWELL TO ARMS and I wasn’t confused by Bullock’s performance dammit.
The point is, there’s nothing worse than writing that poem, you know the one, that beautifully constructed (I use the term loosely) poem about heartbreak and loss with hope just skirting around the edges and knowing, positively knowing that today you’ll be asked to read yours aloud because it most definitely is the best in the class. And then having said poem returned without comment but rather a big, fat, red ‘C’ at the top of the paper. Average. Sure it could have been below average, God knows it probably was, but, but, but…
Well, reading reviews is kinda, sorta like that. Only more than 30 people are listening and they have no idea who you are and you’re the fly on the wall, the one who really isn’t supposed to be reading anyway and certainly shouldn’t be reacting even if it is within the confines of your own, broken heart. See? I was a poet.
I always know a bad one’s coming when I get a single link in a text from Lisa. It looks like Spam and if I were smart, I wouldn’t take the bait. But according to my high school English teacher, I’m not smart, so I always click. And WHAM. A review. A BAD review with comments. Lots of comments. I’m whisked back to high school and can practically hear the snickering rising from those God forsaken metal desks with the too-small chairs attached. These girls are vicious! They’re laughing at lines, ridiculing characters, burning books, researching our other books so they can burn those too. It’s all very tragic. We didn’t even get a C. We’re not even average. The lines we read aloud to each other, the words we lingered over, the characters we became are reduced to a pile of 50+ catty, mean-spirited comments.
But what’s a pair of writer-sisters to do? Give up? We considered it. Respond? Oh, lord no. Cry together? Sometimes. Laugh? Always. The harsh reality is that you’re the ones standing naked at the front of the room. And you put yourself there on purpose. And readers are supposed to pick apart and disagree and judge. In fact, that’s the whole point. So, we give a loving pat to the book we still adore and we look forward to the next. Because that’s what writers do. We write!
And now, the giveaway!! Since this is a holiday week, the giveaway will run through next Tuesday, 7/9!