Could you tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and why you decided to work together on a novel?
Sarah: After working together on seven novels as an author-editor team, Greer and I knew we had a unique relationship. Not only do we share strikingly similar narrative instincts and approaches to storytelling, but we have developed a strong friendship through the years.
Greer: When I left Simon & Schuster, I had some editorial and consulting projects lined up, but I also knew, in the back of my mind, that I wanted to write fiction. I didn’t reveal this secret to many people, but I did tell Sarah. When she approached me about writing together, I initially worried it would be copping out to work with someone else, that it would be less of an accomplishment. Then I realized it would be crazy to turn down this opportunity. While I had published a few personal essays and edited hundreds of books, I knew I had a lot to learn about writing an actual novel. Plus, I adored Sarah and the collaboration sounded a lot more fun than working alone.
Sarah: I’ve written everything from investigative newspaper series to magazine features to short stories to seven solo novels. Challenging myself and growing creatively has always been vitally important to me. But it was a purely instinctual decision to ask Greer if she wanted to write together; some inner voice told me that as a team we could craft something special. That gut feeling sprang not just from intuition, but from the foundation we’d built over the years. When we discovered we were both itching to write a psychological page-turner – one as twisty, complex, and fresh as possible – it almost seemed predestined.
Do you have any writing tips that you’ve found helpful, particularly for collaborating on a book? How did you navigate your individual opinions or writing styles?
Greer: Unlike most writing duos – who take on alternating chapters or different characters – we craft every line together. The third partner in our collaboration is Google Docs and Hangout. These tools let us write our manuscripts together in real time while we simultaneously talk.
Sarah: We also visit each other’s cities to plot every month or so. We camp out in a hotel room for a 36 hour stretch and “Homeland” the walls with giant Post-It notes (I like the walls to be as messy as possible; Greer prefers them to be neatly organized).
Greer: Because we don’t write separately, every idea grew and developed from our shared consciousness – we speak for hours prior to each writing session, creating and rejecting and fine-tuning ideas. At this point, we often joke that we have one mind. It’s not unusual for us to come up with an identical thought or word choice at the exact same time.
What inspired you to write a dark, twisty thriller like The Wife Between Us?
Greer: We both studied journalism and psychology, which makes us curious students of human nature. In The Wife Between Us, we wanted to explore how memories are colored by the lenses through which we view our worlds, and how people can share an experience but carry away markedly different perspectives and emotions.
Sarah: Little did we know that it would take every ounce of our collective brainpower to keep track of the literary kaleidoscope we wanted to create!
What is the best part of working together? Any bad parts?
Greer: The best part is each other.
Sarah: The worst part is technology glitches.
What’s next for you – are you currently working on another book together? If so, can you share any details of what it’s about?
Sarah: We are hard at work on our next book, tentatively titled An Anonymous Girl. It’s another psychological thriller with strong female protagonists.
Greer: We can’t reveal much more about it, partly because, like The Wife Between Us, it’s filled with unexpected twists and turns.