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  • Author Duo Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks Q&A: The Wife Between Us
This blog was featured on 01/09/2018
Author Duo Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks Q&A: The Wife Between Us
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
January 2018
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Elliot
January 2018

We chatted with Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks about their new psychological thriller, The Wife Between Us, which is already getting fabulous reviews! Kirkus says the ‘chronically complex narrative’ is reminiscent of Gone Girl, and the film rights have been picked up by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners who also produced Girl on the Train

You may know Sarah Pekkanen and her books already – she’s the author of seven novels for and about women. Greer Hendricks has spent over two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster – in fact, Greer used to be Sarah’s editor! Now they’ve combined their writing skills to bring us the first of what we hope are many novels penned by this duo! 

Here, Sarah and Greer take some time to answer our questions about writing and books: 

What was your first published piece? And when was it?

Greer:  My first published piece was for a Bestsellers column in Allure magazine. I called various beauty departments around the United States and learned what their best-selling lipstick was – brand and color. Now, 25 years later, the bestsellers lists I’m most focused on are the ones where I hope The Wife Between Us will land!  

Sarah: My first published article appeared on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner. It detailed how the federal government was allowing a new trial experiment of hallucinogenic drugs to help terminally ill patients. 

Greer: Jeez, Sarah you really make me look like a lightweight!

What are you currently working on?

We are working on a second book together, tentatively entitled You’re Invited. It’s another psychological thriller that features strong female protagonists.  

What are you reading now? How does your reading habits change? Can you read while writing/drafting?

Greer: I just finished Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. It’s poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. I’m about to start Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction. When Sarah and I are in the midst of writing I tend to stay away from other books in our genre.

Sarah: I just finished the new Harlan Coben book and I’ve got a stack of ARCs I’ve promised to read for potential blurbs for fellow authors. I read mostly fiction, but would love to have the time to delve into non-fiction, too. 

If you weren’t busy being authors, what would you be doing?   

Greer: A psychologist. I studied psychology as an undergrad and what I’m often most drawn to in literature is what makes a character tick. Sarah and I are constantly processing and analyzing our characters to make sure their motivations are true. 

Sarah: An entrepreneur, teacher or psychologist. 

I love that you both have psychologist listed and that the two of you analyze and discuss your characters! Next question – what is something unique/quirky, annoying or endearing about you that most people don’t know?

Greer: I cannot bear to have leftover food in my hotel room!

Sarah: I cannot bear to walk across hotel room floors in my bare feet!

There is something about most hotel rooms that just have an ‘ick’ factor! What non-electronic item must you have with you every day and why?

Greer: Reading material – magazine, newspaper or book.  I live in New York City and so I’m often waiting for a subway, sitting on a bus or standing in a line. I get a bit panicky if I don’t have something to read.

Sarah: A notebook and pen, to capture ideas on the fly.

When did it hit you that you were an ‘author' - was there a defining moment for you?

Greer: Honestly, I still don’t feel like a real author yet.

I’m sure that will be changing in the very near future for you, Greer! Sarah, what about you? When did you have that first “Yes, I am an author!” moment?

Sarah: I saw my book on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble on publication day. 

What’s the coolest thing a reader has done for you? 

Greer:  Courtney from @blissbeautybooks sent me a beauty bag that featured the cover of The Wife Between Us. Inside was an Essie nail polish appropriately named “Well Red” and a lip balm. I was pretty excited. 

Sarah: When a reader travels a great distance to attend one of my signings!

Okay, everybody knows that snacks and writing go hand-in-hand. What is your go-to or favorite writing snack/drink?

Greer: Seaweed and grapefruit seltzer. 

Sarah: Chamomile tea and almonds.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered from publishing your book(s)?

Sarah and Greer: How much time the business side requires – things like creating a website, staying active on social media (which we both enjoy) and responding to emails about everything from cover copy to requests from translators in other countries who need us to clarify something before our book is published a foreign language. 

What is the best advice you have received as an author?

Greer: This was actually advice I used to give my authors when I was an editor – start your second book well before your first book is published. If the first book doesn’t work it can be demoralizing. And if your debut does find great success it can be intimidating. Best to be well underway on your second – luckily, Sarah and I are!

Sarah: I remember you telling me that when you bought my first book, Greer! It was great advice. Another thing I've learned is to embrace the ugly first draft. You can always fix up a manuscript but you can’t improve a blank page.

Such great advice! Uniquely to you both, you have written a book together! What are some of the challenges you faced and what was your process like? 

Greer and Sarah: Our biggest challenge is technology. Because we write every word together we rely on Google docs and Google hangouts. Most of the time they work beautifully, but when they don't it’s incredibly frustrating.  

How many books are in your #TBR pile? What book or books are you looking forward to reading?

Greer: My nightstand often looks like an unstable Jenga tower. At the moment some of the books on the pile are Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan, The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, by Esther Perel, which I swear I’m reading for research on our new novel.  

Thanks ladies! And here's to much success to you both! You can order The Wife Between Us on amazon here

 

BIOS:
Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Prior to her tenure in publishing, she worked at Allure magazine and obtained her master’s in journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of seven solo novels. As a former investigative journalist and award-winning feature writer, her work has appeared in publications including The Baltimore Sun, People magazine, and The Washington Post. She is the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.

Stephanie Elliot is an editor and author. Her young adult novel, Sad Perfect, is based on her daughter’s experience with ARFID/Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. 

 

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