Well it’s time to have a chat with the author of new novel, Techbitch. Or should we say TWO authors (yes, we should) – Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Together they wrote this book, so let’s get comfy here in the Writers' Room.
Okay, Lucy and Jo. (Or should we call you Jo and Lucy?) We have a copy of your book to give away later on. But first, can you give those who haven’t read it yet the gist of the delightfully named Techbitch?
L&J: It has been called, “The Devil Wears Prada,” meets “All About Eve,” meets “Silicon Valley” and it tells the story of fashion magazine editor Imogen Tate (who is in her forties) who sees her magazine turned into an app when her young assistant Eve (who is in her twenties) becomes her boss. Even as Eve tortures Imogen and tries to strong-arm her out of her job, Imogen meets incredible young women in tech who help her bridge the generational divide.
Wow, that’s quite the modern tale – and will definitely resonate with many out there trying to stay afloat in this tsunami of apps and blue teeth. So how did you both come up with the idea?
Jo: Here’s the thing. We all need to come to terms with the fact our next group of work colleagues (possibly the boss) could be half our age. And that is scary, but true. We wanted to be able to tell that story in a fun (and very fashionable) way with characters who wear great shoes.
Sounds like you had a ’sole’ purpose then…haha. And while we're not sure an 18 year-old barista would have a 9 year-old boss, we see where you were going there. And Lucy, what sparked the idea for you?
Lucy: Imogen Tate was the inspiration. I worked in fashion for a long time and then I worked in tech and everything changed. We wanted to create a strong powerful female character who was going through that kind of change.
So, have you both always wanted to be writers? Let’s start with you Lucy.
Lucy: I'm not a writer. I just found the best in the business to help me with a great idea.
Aha! Clever. So, that probably suggests that it’s with you Jo where the writing passion lives. (If it’s not, we’re in trouble…)
Jo: I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about six years old, bored of children's books with princesses and started writing my own, all with bad-ass female protagonists who did incredible things. They were astronauts, lion keepers (a big deal to a six year old) and snoopy journalists. I write because I love telling stories, real and fiction.
Wow, hopefully you kept those stories! And the process of writing a book together? From a practical aspect, you would have needed some sort of plan, yes? Chapter each? One-word-at-a-time?
Jo: We had a real kind of ‘TechBitch' divide when it came to collaborating. Lucy couldn’t figure out how to edit the documents that I would send her over email. Her nanny Chloe printed them out. She would write on them in pencil and then Chloe would deliver them to me uptown.
Sounds wonderfully old-school.
Jo: It drove me insane! But then Lucy didn’t understand why I wanted to text all the time. Why couldn’t I just call her? But we figured it out. We both learned to speak the universal language of emoji. Lucy paid her 11-year-old son to teach her to use her iPad. We got over it. We wrote a whole damn novel together!
The universal language of emoji – so true. Why say it when a smiling poop or a see-no-evil monkey would be much better! So, Techbitch is all about social media. So, in your own ‘meta’ way, did you harness the power of social media to promote your book?
Lucy: We are both obsessed with Instagram and Jo loves Twitter. Social media has been hands-down the best way to communicate with our audience. We get to have entire conversations on both platforms and on Facebook. We get to hear what people loved and what they hated. We have even been getting ideas for our next book!
Your next book huh? Well it sounds like you may co-write a book together again then.
L&J: The most challenging thing is that we have so many ideas for what we want to write together next that we haven't been able to narrow it down to just one thing. We are both obsessed with making TechBitch—the musical.
Musical? Haha, now there’s a thought. Perhaps also the board game? (Or maybe that should be online app game…ahem). Okay, so finally for Jo – in fewer than 33 words, what’s your advice for aspiring writers who hope to be in a position like you are in one day (full-time writer)?
Jo: Write as much as you can. I write 1,000 words a day of a book project, no matter what. Writing is a habit that you just have to get yourself into.
To WIN a copy of this book, we’d like you to tell us the EMOJI icon you’d like invented (i.e. dog playing ukelele) – the more creative the better! Our favourite will win a copy of Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. They clearly need no further introduction.
To enter, just fill out this fancy form with your answer. Entrants (who aren’t already) will also be subscribed to our delightful weekly newsletter.
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