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July 15, 2011

Lisa and Laura Roecker: Sister Writers

Posted by jordana

liar.jpgLisa and Laura Roecker, authors of THE LIAR SOCIETY, chat with Teenreads about being sisters and how it affects their writing!

There are two phases to becoming sister-writers, not to be confused with sister wives. See, sister wives just have to get married in a highly controversial, illegal ceremony. It’s actually much more complex to become sister-writers. First, you have to become sisters. Tricky, right? I mean, if one of us was born a boy that would have kind of thrown a wrench into our plans. Sibling-writers just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Awkward.jpgAnyway, before we can talk about what it’s like to be sister-writers, we need to first discuss what it’s like to be plain sisters. In one word: mind-blowing. One more word: kidding. But it is pretty awesome. When Laura came home from the hospital, Lisa, ever the narcissist, told our mom “thank you” as though her new baby sister was a present for her. And then, of course, she spent a couple years in there referring to Laura as “Patrick,” dressing her up in the token boy outfit—an olive-green, plaid overall set that was nothing short of fugly. But the older we got, the closer we grew. We began sharing clothes, fighting over the clothes we didn’t want to share and pooling our money together to buy new clothes to fight over. Despite the fact that Lisa was known to rip entire shirts off of Laura’s body in the hallway of our high school (true story), we formed a super special sister bond strong enough to weather any that’s-my-Gap-men’s-XL-flannel-shirt kind of storm.

And then came the writing. We were “writers” long before we became authors. Please note: we use the word “writer” loosely. Laura’s first love was poetry. Her poetry tended to veer into the angsty, boy-obsessed, why-doesn’t-anyone-love-me, variety. In a word AWESOME. But her short stories were incredibly depressing and often included teachers’ comments such as, “Oh my gosh! Is this true? I hope your sister is okay!” If When a character died, it was most often the older sister, aka Lisa.

Lisa wrote primarily in journals but also kept a laundry bag-sized plastic bag full ofBaby.jpg foldednotes she’d pass back and forth between friends during class, which may or may not explain her love of dialogue. Laura on the other hand was the queen of meandering description, which may or my not explain why our first drafts are littered with notes from Lisa that read, “Laura insert cool description of underground tunnels HERE]. But our first writerly bond was over a shared love of a solid outline. Lisa was a pro and after watching Laura toil endlessly on an i-Search paper about Jared Leto (you really can’t make this stuff up), she finally introduced Laura to the joys of a solid outline. Ah, memories.

So when we decided, almost three years ago, that we were bored with our lives and needed a bit of a change, writing together seemed like the best possible option. After all, we came up with an incredible idea (Um, hello? An update of Pride and Prejudice? GENIUS and SO original!), outlined like fiends and wrote like mad. Despite finishing the hot mess book in record time, querying hundreds of agents only to be rejected time and time again and having to start from scratch on a new idea, we absolutely, positively, unequivocally fell in love with writing. Well, not just writing, but writing together as a team. Writing provided us with a creative outlet, connected us with incredible people and brought us closer together as sisters. So much win in such little time.

Patrick.jpgSo now the two are pretty interchangeable. We’re sisters. We’re writers. We’re sister-writers, although we’d consider posing as sister-wives if it would land us an interview on The Today Show. All kidding aside, we’re in this crazy business together, as a team and can’t imagine it any other way. We send chapters back and forth with the primary goal of making each other laugh. We succeed. We suck. We mainline Twizzlers and Diet Coke and occasionally stalk teenagers for character ideas. We’ve tapped into our inner-young adult, watch more MTV as research than we care to admit and use Nick Jr., Preschool on Demand, far too much to get in a few extra hundred words.