Periodically, we’ll cull Facebook, Twitter, our e-mail, and any entry comments for things you want to know about us, about the book, about TV and figure skating and sports and George Clooney… and we’ll answer them here.
Q. Why did you decide to write a book?
H: It was a combination of things. Jessica and I have always loved writing, and we love reading, so it was there in the back of our minds — almost in a Bucket List kind of way, like, “Wouldn’t that be fun someday?” But it never felt real; always like something that other people get to do, that you look at from a distance and admire. But when the guy who became our book agent contacted us, he said he was hearing from a lot of publishers who read our Web site (GFY) that they’d love to see how our voice translated to fiction. We’d gotten a few notes from people in publishing to that same effect, so those two things together opened the door. We looked at each other and thought, “Man, okay, we can actually do this.” Thank God I have a partner. I need someone to look at when I am having revelations.
J: We also need to look at each other when crazy things happen, like the time Isaac Mizrahi sent models down the runway wearing purses on their heads. THEIR HEADS! Everyone else had a poker face; Heather and I got to look at each other and open our eyes really wide.
Q. I’d love to know how you organize the actual writing between two people. I guess it’s logistically easy for one person to write their novel on their own, but how do you work out who writes what for one manuscript when there are two authors?
H: We learned that having a relatively detailed outline is essential, at least for this particular deadline. Some authors really need to have a looser roadmap so they can see where the characters take them, but we were on such a tight deadline with Spoiled and its sequel — we wrote them both in about two or three months, during awards season and Fug Madness and February Fashion Week, our busiest time of year even without a book — that we didn’t have time to wait for each other. We both had to be writing chapters at the same time or else it would never be done. So setting parameters, knowing which chapters contained what plot points or emotional turns, made it possible for us to work separately and then fuse our work later for flow and continuity. Early on we also tried something where I always wrote the POV of one character and Jess always wrote the POV of the other, but we abandoned that quickly because it wasn’t an even split between them in the book — and also, we realized were both already writing both girls anyway, because even when one of us started a chapter, we’d swap and noodle with the other’s. Once we got into the flow we just started picking whole chapters rather than dividing it by character.
J: I think we are also fortunate in that we’re very very accustomed to writing with each other — although we each write our own posts on GFY, we write as a pair for most of our freelance work — so it didn’t really feel at all unnatural to split up the labor and then squash it together again.
Q. Why a young adult book? Why not a frothy chick lit romp in the vein of, say, the Shopaholic series?
H: My favorite touchstones are the books I read when I was a kid — everything from Francine Pascal to Enid Blyton to Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. Even now, having read a lot of good adult books, those are my favorite ones to reference. So I already gravitated toward the genre, but I also think Jess and I have a sense of humor and a voice that fits nicely with that. I mean, we watch almost everything on The CW. We read Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars and Megan McCafferty’s books and Sarah Dessen’s, and more. We are the girls RIGHT on the edge of the demographic who still feel like we will be desolate if The CW ever were to go out of business. Maybe we still feel like teens ourselves, or maybe we just love the idea of being a touchstone book for an actual teen… I’m not sure.
J: I think it’s just the genre with which we felt the most connection, if I may sound like a contestant on The Bachelor for a moment. I really do love to read YA, and always have. We actually never really even considered writing something that wasn’t YA, now that I think about it.
Q. What is your favorite figure skating program of all time? Favorite figure skating outfit?
H: Jessica will have a way more modern answer to this — she is the skating queen, and I am that cranky girl who never liked Michelle Kwan — but when I was growing up in England, the ice-dancing duo of Torvill and Dean was all the rage (in part because Britain was sorely lacking in Olympic medal contenders and they were, like, one of the three). The way they told stories on ice, the fluidity, the emotion, the aching… I just thought it was beautiful. So their “Bolero” is one of my all-time favorite programs, and it still gives me chills when I watch it on YouTube. They didn’t have a lot of wacky costumes, though. I will always think fondly of Sasha Cohen’s famous red flamenco-style costume, but it would be pretty dishonest to answer this question without saying, “Anything Johnny Weir wore.”
J: Well, the Torvill and Dean “Bolero” is a classic for a reason! That was an amazing, totally iconic program. Let’s see. I watch a lot of figure-skating. It’s hard to pick one favorite. I did love Michelle Kwan, myself — and Sasha Cohen had so many short programs that I loved (actually, I loved a lot of her free skates, too, but she was so prone to choking in the long program). But I think the program I remember best was the free skate Brian Boitano did when he won the gold medal in 1988. I don’t know why it stuck with me so much — maybe because I was 13 when it happened? — but it really did. Maybe it was also in part because I really liked his epaulets. I also really loved Gordeeva and Grinkov, the married Russian pair of the early 90s. She was so tiny, and they were married, and then he died tragically — such a sad story. More recently, I loved Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s Phantom of the Opera routine, which is also crazy because I sort of think Phantom has been overdone — AND YET. Theirs was so good. So. Yeah, that answer was not at all succinct.