And although we salute all the incredible people who fall into those categories and agree that those would be amazing achievements, we're not athletic or skilled enough to join them in those ranks so we'll settle for believing that writing a query for our manuscript The D Word is one of the toughest challenges we've ever faced. (Liz would like it duly noted that she deserves a close second for giving birth- twice!)
And to celebrate not only finishing our query, but making it through the process alive (more on that below), we're giving away two $20 itunes gift cards (because music helps us write) and six autographed books by authors who've inspired us-Sarah Pekkanen (THE OPPOSITE OF ME) and Kristin Hannah (WINTER GARDEN). Just leave a comment (you know the drill--we're fabulous, you love us, love the blog, blah, blah...) and you'll be entered to win.
So back to the query quandary...Condensing the plot of our novel into two paragraphs was only half the battle. Agreeing on what the content of those two sections should be was the other. And although we feel we have an incredibly successful writing partnership, that doesn't discount the cold hard fact that we're both Type-A control freaks who always want to be right.
Let us take you back to the day we decided that we'd each independently take a stab at the query and then reveal our work to the other. In Southern California, it was an El-Nino-esque rainstorm that included a hurricane. In the Chicago 'burbs, it was eighteen degrees, gloomy and included a "delightful" present from Mother Nature- Eight. Inches. Of. Snow.
Cut to Lisa holed up in her house, wrapped in an afghan blanket, tears of sadness spilling down her cheeks as she cried for the sun (okay, so maybe that's a wee bit of an embellishment- there was no afghan). She put in her ipod headphones and typed away as she imagined she was in Maui as she listened to Bob Marley belt out Don't Worry, Be Happy (alright, so maybe she was actually listening to Party in the U.S.A.- don't judge!). When she finished, she smiled broadly. "This is damn good," she said to her fountain of prosperity in the corner. It was time to send it to Liz who was going to be so pleased!
Open email form, attach query, add self-congratulatory quip to Liz, send. Wait....
Two thousand miles away, Liz stared out at the pouring rain, part of her ecstatic that she finally had an excuse to wear her new Burberry wellies, the other half of her semi-panicked that, as a result of the hurricane in SEAL BEACH, her daughter's school was on lockdown. As Jordan Sparks sang in her ears, she wrote fast and furiously, taking the time to pat herself on the back along the way because she was still able to crank out such great content on such a miserable day. It was time to send it to Lisa who was going to be so pleased!
Open email form, attach query, add self-congratulatory quip to Lisa, send. Wait...
I'm sure you see where this story is going. Well, it's safe to say that neither of us were as in love with our partner's work as we were with our own! Lisa got up on her soapbox and actually said the words, "How do you not LOVE this?" and Liz retaliated with, "Um, because mine is So. Much. Better!" For an hour we debated everything- including the true definition of divorce. There was even a particularly ugly moment when someone threatened that both queries should be sent to an "unbiased" party who would decide which one should "win". Finally, exhaustion took hold and the right-fighters agreed to sleep on it.
The next day, with much-needed perspective, fresh attitudes and plenty of caffeine all around, we decided to merge our work. Over the next week, we methodically deleted, rearranged and reworked until we were as close to satisfied as we were ever going to get. Then, we were lucky enough to have brilliant authors including Allison Winn Scotch, Laura Dave and Sarah Pekkanen agree to review our query and give us invaluable feedback. Thank you, ladies! We are forever indebted to you!
And now as we write this blog post, our query for The D Word is complete and sitting in the inbox of our dream agent. And now we wait. And wait. And wait some more. And it will probably be harder than when Lisa waited by the home phone (literally) to find out if she'd made the junior varsity cheerleading squad (she didn't-and they FORGOT to call-long story!) or when Liz waited at her graduation lunch for her date to show up (he never did- even longer story!). But many moons and hopefully more maturity later, we're all about positive thinking- affirmations, fountains and the whole nine yards. And because of that, we know find the right agent to rep us. (That is, if we don't kill each other trying to perfect our synopsis-but that's a whole other blog!)
xoxo, Liz & Lisa