**Booklist on DOUBLE BLACK by Wendy Clinch
I type my manuscripts in the study. When Jonathan comes into the room--I stop. I wait until I take care of whatever it is he needs. (What's for dinner? Where's the dry cleaning? Where did I put my book? Is it going to rain? Do we have any tape?) He leaves, I go back to my chapter. If he's in the room, no way I can work. Even if he's just reading. I know he's there.
My mother tells the story about when she and my dad were married--before he joined the foreign service, he was a musician/composer/music critic. Story goes, when Mom was around, he was so distracted, wanting to talk with her, that he couldn't work. (Or so I'm told.)
But there are some couples who thrive on togetherness. And are obviously very successful at working togther. Very. Very. Successful. Nick and Nora. Tracy and Hepburn. Burns and Allen.
Wendy and Jon.
All In The Family
WENDY CLINCH: I grew up with a family business. My dad had a clothing store on the Jersey shore that his father started back in the ‘20’s. He retired and moved to Florida years ago, but the store is still in the family. My brother runs it these days, although I think it’ll probably end with him.
Some things never change.
I’m still in a family business, but it isn’t retail. My husband, Jon Clinch, and I are both novelists. Jon is the author of “Finn” and the recently released “Kings of the Earth” (Random House). My first book, “Double Black: A Ski Diva Mystery” (Minotaur), came out in January. The sequel, “Fade To White,” will arrive next winter.
Call it habit, call it affection, call it the comfort that comes from doing things in the familiar way: we still work together in one room. It just works out that way. Whichever one of us gets started first—me at the kitchen table, or Jon at the desk in the library—the other one just kind of gravitates there too.
Sure, we have our differences: Jon seems to mutter to himself a lot more than I do. We have different tastes in background music: I gravitate toward Motown and James Taylor, Jon toward Tom Waits and John Hartford. And I don’t write during the winter: I ski most days and only write during the off season. He writes year ‘round, only taking an occasional day off here and there.
But even though he writes literary fiction and I write light-hearted mysteries, being in the same business does have its advantages. It’s nice to have a spouse who understands the work that goes into putting together a good piece of fiction. We often bounce ideas off one another to get that all-important second opinion. And it’s convenient to have someone you trust sitting right next to you when the time comes to decide if something needs reworking. Our many years together in advertising definitely thickened our skins when it comes to that kind of thing.
Working side by side, we’re struck more by the similarities in what we do than by the differences. In fiction, people tend to draw hard lines between genres. Literary fiction should sound one way, a mystery another. But as far as we're concerned, those boundaries really don't matter much. Jon's books and mine both feature murders—yet only mine are categorized as mysteries. Each of us struggles to make every page, every paragraph, every sentence, and every word as perfect as we can—yet out there where folks decide what book fits on what shelf, that's the kind of thing that conventional wisdom says belongs on the literary side of things. The bottom line is that good writing—a story that engages, with characters who come to life, told in language that's right on the money—is always paramount. And it knows no boundaries.
Like my family’s store, our own little family business will more than likely end with the current generation. Our daughter is a science teacher, and hasn’t yet shown any interest in writing fiction. This could change -- she’s only in her twenties, and we didn’t begin writing till we were a few decades older. If she decides to follow in our footsteps, there’s plenty of room in either the kitchen or the library.
HANK: So, Wendy? What's the secret of working together? Jonathan reads my pages, of course. And I do admit, I edit his opening statements and closing arguments. But we're separate first. Everything else, yes, together. Grocery shopping, car to the mechanic, going to the movies. People laugh at us about it. But working--no.
Wendy Clinch is the author of the Ski Diva mystery series, featuring amateur sleuth Stacey Curtis, and set in Vermont’s ski country. Her first book, Double Black, debuted in January, 2010, and her second, Fade to White, will be released in winter, 2011. Wendy is the founder of TheSkiDiva.com, the premier internet community for women skiers. A former advertising copywriter, Wendy spent more than 25 years in the field, most recently as a partner in her own agency in suburban Philadelphia. She now lives in Vermont with her husband, Jon Clinch, author of Finn: A Novel and Kings of the Earth.
DOUBLE BLACK: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY (Minotaur, January, 2010)
FADE TO WHITE: A SKI DIVA MYSTERY (Minotaur, Winter, 2011)