Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Q&A with Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is the co-author, with Greer Hendricks, of the new novel The Wife Between Us. Pekkanen's other novels include The Perfect Neighbors and Things You Won't Say. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Washington Post and USA Today. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Q: How did the two of you come up with the idea for The Wife Between Us?

A: We thought we had an overall sense of the story early on, but then it continually evolved over the course of the writing process. Because unlike most writing partnerships 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 the identical thought or word choice at the exact same time.

Our similarities go much broader than that, however. We are the same age, we almost always order duplicate meals at restaurants, we have brothers we adore (both named Robert!) and we played field hockey in high school, to name just a few of our shared traits.

Q: Can you say more about what was it like to write with a co-author?

A: At first, I had to adapt to a new way of writing. For my solo novels, I sit in a coffee shop with headphones on, crafting everything in my head. I had to move from an internal monologue to an external dialogue in order to write with a co-author.

But at this point I can’t imagine writing with anyone other than Greer. We have a deep friendship and such similar narrative instincts that our collaboration is almost seamless.

Q: So with the book’s plot, you made many changes along the way?

A: Many, many changes! We continually challenge one another, and we love to toss out the question, “What if…?”

Q: How did you come up with the book's title, and what does it signify for you?

A: Like just about every other element of the book, the title was a collaboration and I can’t even remember how we settled on it - we just both knew it was the right one. It works because it can take on multiple meanings. I can’t say much more because I don’t want to ruin the plot twists!

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Greer and I are hard at work on our next novel, tentatively titled You’re Invited. It features twists and turns, of course, as well as strong female protagonists.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Please check out www.thewifebetweenus.com for more information on our book - and hopefully we’ll get to meet a lot of readers on tour!

--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Sarah Pekkanen.

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