Welcome to another edition of Booksting with CoHo! Today I’ve interviewed the authors of FriendTrip, M.E. Carter and Sara Ney. I saw the cover of this book and loved it and thought, in the midst of all the tears I’ve been collecting, I love to pick up a feel-good, make you laugh out loud book. Especially around Christmas. I’m also very curious how other authors experience the co-writing process, and how it feels to write a book with someone YOU ACTUALLY LIKE. Make sure to comment on this post at the bottom to enter the giveaway for a signed copy!
CoHo: I noticed you guys made the title FriendTrip one word. Is there a reason for that? Is it a play on the word Friendship?
ME CARTER: Yes. Actually, my mother named the book. And then we forgot to put her in the acknowledgements.
SARA: It’s a play on the word friendship, because we couldn’t use FriendSHIT.
Also we danced around the hotel room like idiots when we finally had our Eureka moment.
CoHo: Haha. I like FriendSHIT too. So are you two friends in real life? How did the two of you meet?
SARA: Like most successful relationships these days, we met online. M.E. Carter had just read one of my books, liked/loved it, and wrote me a love note… Fine. So it wasn’t a love note, but that’s how I’m spinning it. I was all warm’n’fuzzy until she started firing off all these questions – so obviously I sent her a short little note back. It read: “Will you be my friend?” I hope she’s not upset when I can’t remember our anniversary.
ME CARTER: A year ago, after my first book released, Sara sent me a message congratulating me from one small author to another on breaking into the indie world. What she didn’t realize is she was messaging my “alter ego” and we’d had a discussion the week prior about a blog review I had done on her first book! I, of course, started fangirling because I was a huge fan of her work. We quickly fell in love and the rest is history.
CoHo: How did the idea to co-author a book come about?
SARA: I have a theory on this one: M.E. Carter tricked me into it, using sweet talking words and…
Fine. On top of my theory, I also have a confession to make: I can’t remember how the whole collaboration came about; where I was, who brought it up… So what did I do? I messaged her for a hint. “Don’t tell me, just give me a little hint to jog my memory.” No big deal, right? Well guess what? When she messaged me back her refusal, it was a voice message—a giggly little message. “No [insert maniacal laugh] Because I want to know what shit you come up with because you don’t remember. I win!”
She wins. I can’t remember how the idea came about.
Wait. Is this going on record somewhere?
If so, strike that part where I say, “She wins.”
ME CARTER: I’ve heard other authors say the idea hits you both at the same time. And that’s true for us. Our conversation went sort of like this:
Me: I feel like we should co-author a book.
Sara: OMG, I was thinking the same thing yesterday but didn’t think you’d have time or interest in working with me!
Me: WHAT??? You’re insane! What should we write about?
Sara: I’ve always wanted to write about a woman who is trying online dating and everything goes terribly wrong.
Me: Well I’ve always wanted to write about a woman trying to spice up her married sex life.
Sara: They could be best friends!!
(Ok, so that might not be word for word. But it’s pretty close)
CoHo: What is FriendTrip about?
ME CARTER: FriendTrip is about best friends in their mid to late 30’s, Becky and Janine as they navigate their way through romance. Janine is trying online dating. Becky is trying to spice up her married sex life. But mostly, it’s about the journey these two best friends take and how they help, support and make fun of each other. It truly mirrors the relationship Sara and I actually have.
SARA: Why is this so difficult to answer? Describing what FT is about is almost worse than writing the blurb. But here I go:
It’s a love story between two friends—a real relationship that isn’t always pretty. Becky and Janine are us. Your friends and mine. Two, everyday, ordinary woman who want one thing; to find the happiness within themselves.
And an iced, cold latte.
I mean—since you asked.
CoHo: I wrote a series with another author once. Once. Explain what your co-writing process was like.
ME CARTER: For me….I write a chapter and send it to Sara. When she’s done writing her chapter and sends it back, I re-read her edits on my last chapter, edit her chapter, write my next chapter and send it back. We have to be INCREDIBLY organized to not get mixed up. Needless to say, we get mixed up frequently.
But I will also say, this was the EASIEST writing experience I’ve ever had. Our humor is so similar that immediately upon reading a new chapter from her, my ideas were running wild. It was incredible. Except for a few key things, we almost never plot out in advance what’s coming and just go with the flow. I think that’s part of what makes it so fun. It was never forced.
SARA: M.E. and I have discussed this a few times; we absolutely love hate working together, and from the beginning the process felt seamless.
From the get-go—you know, after she tricked me into writing a novel with her—we brainstormed a very loose outline; we also weren’t going to share our chapter idea’s with each other beforehand, either. This worked in our favor, because it sparked our creative flow almost immediately. Rotating, we took turns writing; she’d write her chapter, then I’d write mine. Opening her chapters felt like a first date; fun, exciting, with tons of anticipation.
Well, unless you’re Janine—her dates kind of sucked.
CoHo: What is your favorite passage or one-liner from FriendTrip?
ME CARTER: Hmmm….omg….that’s so hard. I really have more than one. But I’ll stick to the sappy one. Towards the end when Becky’s husband is reassuring her that after having five children, he finds her incredibly sexy still. That was so important to me because I think so many of us really struggle with body image issues after having kids. We don’t feel comfortable in our own skin and I think it’s so important for our spouses to reassure us regularly of how sexy they still find us.
SARA: Crap, no I did not! Becky fooled me. Becky and her Jedi-mom tricks.
She knows I don’t ask guys out. They ask me. I’ve only asked one guy out on a date in my entire life, and I use the term “ask out” loosely, because I actually won him in a dorm fundraising auction in college. Instead of having him take me somewhere nice like all the other co-eds, I forced the poor kid to hand wash my dirty Bronco in the university’s parking lot because I was too scared to let him take me out.
CoHo: What is your favorite passage or sentence from this book that you didn’t write?
ME CARTER: Geez, there are so many. Sara is just a machine when it comes to writing and her wit always comes through. The line that made me stand up and cheer though was at the end when Becky says “…there’s always a story when it comes to us.” Because it is so, so true of these characters.
SARA: “You don’t seem tall enough to be a volleyball player.” His gaze turns shrewd, and he skims my body up and down with those green eyes.
“That’s what makes me dangerous,” I say, cocking my eyebrow flirtatiously and giving the ice in my amaretto sour a little shake. At least, I hope it’s flirtatious… Maybe I just sound nutty. Who knows. “I come from out of nowhere. They never expect it.”
CoHo: What is one of your favorite quotes from a book neither of you wrote and why?
ME CARTER: Honestly, I am not a quote girl. Never have been. Quotes rarely stick with me. The only thing that I can think of is something I read the other day, and I have no idea what book it was in. It said “Love is friendship set on fire.” Why do I like that? Because it is 100% true.
SARA: …tears burned my eyes, and I could do nothing else than shake my head and laugh. “God, I was so wrong about you. You’re no man. Just a stupid boy with no goddamn sense.” My voice caught then. Breathe. – Stupid Girl, Cindy Miles
I love this book—and this passage always feels impactful to me every single time I read it. I can hear the character’s voice, disillusioned laugh. Feel her pain in the passages that follow. Heartbreaking in the most romantic way. Love.
CoHo: What’s a day in your life like?
ME CARTER: Oh geez….wake up, feed the baby, take the kids to school, go to the gym, feed the baby, run an errand, feed the baby, pass baby to my dad for 10 minute of catching up online, rock the baby, pick up the kids, something with the baby, kids activities, dinner, maybe some internet time, more with the baby, sleep.
Can you tell I have a 4 month old baby?
Writing comes in when my mom can babysit for a few hours which is killing me over the holidays because of the busy-ness. My fingers are itching to get to that computer!
SARA: Soooo glamourous (I just proved it with the Queens English spelling). I start the day by deciding if I’m going to wear black yoga pants, or a printed legging—this sometimes proves to be extremely taxing, and time-consuming. Drop the nugget off at school (she’s almost 6).
Head to a writing spot; either at home, or at “my” chair at Starbucks.
Avoid eye contact with the guy in the corner.
Write some words. Stop. Poke around online. Tell everyone “yell at me if you see me online.” Log off.
Log on. Log off.
Write some more. Grab an oatmeal…. and….a cake pop (the chocolate one)
Finally feel inspired.
Pack up to grab the kids from school. She begs to go to McDonald’s for “Big Daddy Fries.” I say no. Most days.
Dinner. Bath time. Story time.
Then, choose one of the following:
Computer time, get ready for bed early, or read.
11:00pm. Still awake
11:37pm. Still awake
12:09 am. “I should read something—preferably start a new book so I can’t function tomorrow.”
CoHo: Do you guys have a list of books you’ve written on your own so we can check those out?
ME CARTER: Change of Hart and Hart to Heart. Sara’s list is MUCH longer!
SARA: Things Liars Hide, Things Liars Say, A Kiss Like This, He Kissed Me First, Kissing in Cars.
Thank y’all so much for answering the questions, and thank you to the readers for reading. If you’re interested in a hilarious, fun book about best friends, download FRIENDTRIP now!
To enter to win a signed copy, just comment on this post below!
*No co-authors were harmed in the making of this interview. Except maybe one. Tarryn Fisher.