Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke keep us guessing with their new psychological thriller, The Two Lila Bennetts…author Q & A included.

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My Review:

Lila Bennett’s life is not run of the mill.  She is a young, upwardly mobile criminal defense lawyer, has had the challenging experience of defending the guilty on more than one occasion, and has stepped on some toes along the way to achieve her success.  Questions regarding her moral and ethical decisions plague her psyche when it comes to her job and her past personal life choices, and to add to her confusion, conflicting emotions when it comes to her best friend’s husband has lead her to make some recent choices that could jeopardize her own marriage.

Lila’s life could go in two different directions…and in The Two Lila Bennetts, and in Sliding Doors fashion, they do!  In one case, Lila leaves her office at night, gets captured and held hostage by a masked assailant in an undisclosed location, while being forced to repent for her bad choices.  In another case she is being followed and emotionally tortured with hints and clues about her checkered past as they slowly become public.

Authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke take us on an emotional and thrilling ride, following through with Lila’s parallel lives; we are faced with unexpected twists and turns every step of the way as the anticipation builds.  Lila must re-evaluate her choices and figure out who is out to get her before it is too late…and even if she does, can she return to her life as it once was?

For an edge of your seat escape you don’t want to put down, grab a copy of The Two Lila Bennetts!

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Q & A with Liz and Lisa

Q:  You have said that writing Girls’ Night Out Together practically ended your partnership and The Two Lila Bennetts brought you back together.  Can you explain?

The edit of GNO was very challenging and we found ourselves at an impasse. For so many years we had been on cruise control, not really discussing the particulars of how we do things. And that worked until we were pushed to the limit with that edit. (We rewrote a large portion of the book FOUR times!)

But ultimately, hitting rock bottom was the best thing that could have happened. It gave us an opportunity to start fresh and understand each other and our work processes better. Lila was a joy to write and edit, and it felt like a fresh start.

Q:  I am curious about your process…how did you split up the writing?  Did one of you write Lila captured and the other write Lila free?

A:  One of the lessons we learned from Girls’ Night Out was that we both need to be fully invested in every narrative and/or timeline. So because of that, we would alternate which one of us would begin a free or captured chapter. Then we would pass the chapter back and forth, editing until we were both happy.

Q:  I love how there were hints of a double life when Lila free had unexplained soreness and dejavu.  Did you add those references in the edit stage or right from the beginning?

A:  They were there from the beginning! We thought it was important for Lila to subconsciously be aware of both lives.

Q:  Who came up with the “Sliding Door” concept?  (I never saw the movie but it is now on my list!)

A:  Liz’s fourteen-year-old daughter! We were creatively depleted after the GNO edit and she tossed out taking the Sliding Doors concept (we’d forced her to watch the movie!), and creating a suspense novel. That’s why we dedicated the book to her.

Q:  Without giving anything away, did you stick with a plan for each of your characters or did things change during the writing process?  

A:  We changed the kidnapper in edits. Both our agent and editor thought it was too obvious, and they were right!

Q:  Being a lawyer that defends guilty people is defiantly a challenge and can wear on you morally.  How did you come up with the idea for your title character?

A:  We wanted Lila to have a career that had a lot of moral gray area to give her room to make questionable choices. She’s at a point in her life where she’s questioning many things, including her choice of career.

Q:  Even though Lila wronged people in her life, she was still likable and I rooted for her until the end.  How do you create a balance of good and evil but keep your heroine intact?

A:  It’s really tough! The most important thing is to create interesting protagonists and to show the reader why they are the way they are. With Lila, she had made many bad choices, but that didn’t mean she was a terrible person, and it also gave room for growth in her arc.

Q:  If this book were to become a movie, who would you want to play Lila, Ethan, Sam and Carrie? 

A:  For Lila–Krysten Ritter Carrie-Kate Hudson Ethan-Mark Ruffalo and Jay Hernandez for Sam

Q:  What books do you have on your nightstand and what do you recommend?

A:  Liz is reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean and Lisa just finished Ask Again, Yes. We have so many books on our TBR!  Some include: This is Not How It Ends by Rochelle Weinstein, Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein and Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeline Henry

Q:  Can you tell me a little about your next book?

A:  We’re switching things up a bit next summer with a dark love story! It’s called How To Save a Life, and it’s about a man named Dom that must figure out how to save the love of his life when she re-enters his life after a ten-year absence. Think Russian Doll meets One Day in December.

Goodreads Summary

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About the Authors

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have co-authored six books:

THE TWO LILA BENNETTS, about a woman whose life is split into two. Literally. (Out July 23rd)

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT, about three estranged friends who go to Mexico and one of them disappears. (Lake Union, July 24th, 2018)

THE GOOD WIDOW, about a wife who learns that nothing is as it seems: not her marriage, her husband…or his death is out now. (Lake Union.)

THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY, about three best friends who get the chance to re-live the year that dramatically changed the course of their lives, is out now. (Atria Books.)

THE STATUS OF ALL THINGS, about a woman who discovers she can literally rewrite her fate on Facebook, is out now. (Atria Books.)

YOUR PERFECT LIFE, about two childhood best friends who wake up the morning after their 20th high school reunion to discover they’ve switched bodies is out now. (Atria Books.) (less)

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