It’s rare to find two successful writers in one household, and even more rare when both authors have new books published at the same time. But for Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant, it’s all part of the everyday reality (and delight) of being a married couple who share the same profession: writing novels.
Grant’s new thriller, Run, was published on October 7 by Ballantine, while Alexander’s The Counterfeit Heiress, the ninth book in her Lady Emily mystery series, was released on October 14 by Minotaur. Both Alexander and Grant had launched their careers as writers before they married in 2010, and Grant already had one best-selling author in his family: His older brother is suspense writer Lee Child.
We caught up with the busy couple, who divide their time between Chicago and the U.K., to find about more about the writing life times two.
How do your writing routines differ?
ANDREW: Our approach to our work is very similar in some ways—we’re both very disciplined when it comes to shutting out distractions and doing whatever needs to be done to ensure we never miss a deadline—but I’d say there are two main differences in our routines. The time of day that we work, and what we need to do before we begin. Tasha works early in the morning, whereas I’m better late at night. And Tasha has the extraordinary ability to be fast asleep one minute, then awake and fully functional the next while I need several hours of coffee drinking to cajole my brain into anything approaching a productive state.
TASHA: I like to start first thing in the morning, before I can be distracted by anything else, but Andrew is far more civilized. He has tea, then breakfast, then coffee, and always showers and shaves before sitting down in his office. Me, I am generally in pajamas and guzzling tea all day long. Plus, I work in our bedroom rather than an office. I’ll shower and put on new pajamas before going to bed. This is probably why I could never have a normal job…
"We find that people are very curious about what it is like to have two writers in one house."
Do you ever work side by side? Or would that be too distracting?
ANDREW: We did try this once, and could do it if necessary, but I prefer not to. Tasha just works so fast! It’s dispiriting to be pecking away at the keys on my computer while the smoke is rising from hers as she types at the speed of light…
TASHA: Never, ever, ever—it is far too hard to have someone else right there. Especially when that someone is as charming as Andrew. Way too distracting.
Do you read and critique each other’s work?
ANDREW: Absolutely. In fact, Tasha is the only person to see my manuscripts before I send them to my agent and editor.
TASHA: Always. We read each other’s work before anyone else. It is incredibly helpful to have someone in the house able to do this—particularly another writer who understands that hideous all-consuming feeling of waiting for someone to read.
Do you ever feel competitive toward one another in terms of success or sales?
ANDREW: Absolutely not! What would be the point? That would be crazy. We’re on the same side, and I honestly believe we each find more pleasure in the other’s successes than in our own. Plus writing is not a zero sum game. For one of us to succeed, it’s not necessary for the other—or anyone else, for that matter—to fail. In fact, it’s the opposite. If a reader buys a book and enjoys it, they’re more likely to buy another, then another, so everyone wins.
TASHA: Definitely not. My perfect scenario would be for Andrew to be the world’s best-selling author.
Have you ever toured or made book appearances together?
ANDREW: Yes! Quite often. I love doing it, and I think we work very well together.
TASHA: We find that doing events together is loads of fun. Our books tend to appeal to different audiences, but often wives like mine and their husbands like his. We find that people are very curious about what it is like to have two writers in one house.
How is Tasha’s personality reflected in her writing style?
ANDREW: Tasha is very clearly reflected in her writing because on the surface her style is beautiful and witty, but underneath her books are intelligent, captivating, and extremely well informed.
How is Andrew’s personality reflected in his writing style?
TASHA: Andrew is sleek and spare, like his prose.
Though you both work in the same general area (mystery/suspense), your books are very different. Can you each of you really appreciate and enjoy the other’s work?
ANDREW: I certainly believe so. Tasha is a master storyteller who incorporates a range of magnificent, captivating characters so her books are very easy to appreciate! Plus writers tend to be voracious readers, and generally enjoy a wide range of genres beyond their own.
TASHA: Absolutely. I have always read widely across genres, so it’s not a stretch to read Andrew’s work. I really appreciate his consummate skill when it comes to writing action scenes and the way he makes his prose reflect the way his protagonists think. The man is good. Very good.
What’s the very best thing about being married to someone who shares your profession?
ANDREW: I feel very privileged to be the first person in the world to read Tasha’s new material, but beyond that I think it’s enormously beneficial to live with someone who intimately understands the peculiarities of what really is a very bizarre way to make a living.
TASHA: We both wholly understand each other’s situations, and that is a true gift. We don’t have to explain the industry, and we instinctively know what times in the process will be more stressful, consuming, or joyous. Makes it a lot easier to anticipate each other’s needs.