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Interview: Libby Street (Sarah Bushweller and Emily S. Morris)

September 19th, 2006 (06:15 pm)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Still Love by Holly Brook

Once upon a time, two little girls met in Delaware. They became fast friends, sharing secrets and writing stories together. Twenty years later, they still do both of those things. One of the girls recently wrote a message to a bookseller, who checked out their books - then conducted this interview.

Sarah Bushweller and Emily S. Morris write together under the name Libby Street. Friends this close are able to finish each other's sentences and often seem to read each other's minds, so why not finish each other's chapters and read each other's rough drafts?

I decided to do a different sort of interview for Sarah and Emily. After interviewing each lady separately, I had her write down what she thought would be her best friend's answers to the same questions. Each friend told me that said she was nervous about yet anxious to see the results.

Not only did they nail what Emily called "the dueling questionnaires," but they often used the same word or turn-of-phrase. You've got to check this out.

Sarah's favorite films: The Royal Tenenbaums, the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series (does that count?), Christmas Vacation and many, many more.
Emily's guess: Does the 8-hour BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series count?

Sarah's favorite books: Pride & Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Fortress of Solitude
Emily's guess: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sarah's favorite color: Blue
Emily's guesses: Yellow, blue

Sarah's favorite TV shows: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report
Emily's guesses: The Daily Show, but she has a weakness for The Gilmore Girls.

Sarah's dream vacation: India – I'm going in November! I'm so excited!
Emily's guesses: India - lucky duck, she's going soon!

When she was little, she wanted to be: actress/singer/rock star
Emily's guess: An actress

. . . and she wished that her name was: Karen, just like my cabbage patch kid.
Emily's guess: Honestly, I don't know. I can't wait to find out!

If Sarah won a thousand dollars, she would: If only. I would go somewhere really, really fun.
Emily's guess: Travel somewhere.

Emily's favorite films: Star Wars (A New Hope), Sixteen Candles, The Royal Tennenbaums, Wind (Seriously, I can't explain it but I love that movie. I have a weakness for cinematic cheese.) and many, many more.
Sarah's guesses: I know she loves the movie Wind. Seriously. She does. Oh! And Star Wars. She has light sabers.

Emily' favorite book: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Sarah's guesses: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, The Wanderer by Frances Burney

Emily's favorite color: Blue
Sarah's guess: Tiffany Blue

Emily's favorite TV show: Currently, Project Runway; of all time, The Dick Van Dyke Show
Sarah's guess: Project Runway

Emily's dream vacation: Several months in England. Splitting time between a gorgeous country house and a rocking London apartment.
Sarah's guess: She's holding out for the 18th century English countryside. If time machines don't become available within the next couple of years, second best would be present-day English countryside.

When Emily was little, she wanted to be: An astronaut.
Sarah's guess: An astronaut. She even had a space suit. It was soooo cool.

. . . and she wished that her name was: I don't remember ever wanting to change my name . . . well, unless you count the time when I hoped I was adopted and was really a Rockefeller or Kennedy. (I have a thing for compounds.
Sarah wasn't sure. She guessed: Madonna?

If Emily won a thousand dollars, she would: Buy my boyfriend something nice. He always gives these wonderful, out of the blue gifts.
Sarah's guesses: Buy shoes? Pay bills? Buy presents for people?

Now that you know all about the authors, learn more about their books.

How did you come up with your pseudonym?

When our editor approached us with the idea of a pseudonym we thought it would be nice to come up with something that had a deeper meaning to us. We thought about doing an homage to writers we admired, but quickly surmised that calling ourselves Jane Austen would be confusing for readers. So we decided to focus on our friendship instead.

Sarah and I (Emily) have been best friends since we were little. We met when my family moved to Dover, Delaware and settled in a little blue house on Liberty Drive, right across the street from the Bushweller family. Liberty became Libby, Drive became Street, and there you go . . . Libby Street!

When did you start writing together?

Well, actually, our first effort at collaboration was a terrible screenplay that we attempted at the age of 12 or 13. It was an elaborate melodrama in which Harry Connick, Jr. traveled through time while in a coma. (Yeah, we've always had celebrity obsession "issues.")

The first story that made any sense began while Emily was in graduate school and Sarah had just moved to New York. We'd been reading a lot of books about women like us and had long conversations about the things we liked and disliked about them. Finally, we just decided we'd give it a try. Just for fun. It turned into our first book Happiness Sold Separately.

What is your writing method?

Our method is pretty simple. We hash out story and character in lots of emails and phone conversations that start with "Oooh, I just thought of . . . " or "What about this . . . " Then, when the story is ready for real writing, one of us writes 'til (she) can't write anymore and then passes it on to the other. The receiver reads and edits what the other person wrote, adds on, and passes it back. We do that until the story is finished.

We don't work in the same room. Actually, when we were writing Happiness Sold Separately we weren't even in the same state. It works really well for us. When we began Accidental It Girl, we got a summer rental together and tried working in each other's presence. Very bad idea. We'd sit down ready to work, and after about twenty minutes our conversation would spin off on some crazy tangent. Before we knew it, we were drinking beer and hanging out on the porch trying to figure out what to have for dinner.

Have you published anything separately? If not, do you plan on it?

Sort of. Sarah has a day job that takes up a lot of her time, but I (Emily) write full time. In addition to novels, I also write screenplays. I'm always working on something.

Tell us about Accidental It Girl.

Accidental It Girl is a fun romantic comedy about a female paparazzi, Sadie Price, and one of Hollywood's hottest bachelors, Ethan Wyatt, getting into a battle of wills. Sadie takes a particularly scandalous picture of Ethan, and it's the last straw for him. He wants revenge. He hatches this outrageous plan to give Sadie a taste of her own medicine. The only problem is, Sadie and Ethan have an awful lot in common and they both begin to realize how thin the line between love and hate can be. It comes out October 10th!

Meet the girls at LibbyStreet.com

Comments

Posted by: queen_of_ocd (queen_of_ocd)
Posted at: September 21st, 2006 02:57 am (UTC)

I loved the girls' first novel, and I'm looking forward to reading the new one. Their interview was so fun to read. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 21st, 2006 03:06 am (UTC)

Thanks for reading!

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