The novel: Mr. Nice Guy
Purchase Here: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Nice-Guy-Jennifer-Miller/dp/1250189888
In Brief: Each week, two writers named Lucas and Carmen are tasked with a excruciatingly public, often humiliating task: They must sleep together, and then critically review each other’s sexual performance in a magazine. This is about what happens when people are honest about the thing nobody’s ever totally honest about. The novel is written by two people who, as it so happens, have also slept together—married couple Jason Feifer (editor in chief, Entrepreneur magazine) and Jennifer Miller (novelist, The Year of the Gadfly). Which is to say, yes, a writer couple wrote about a writer couple with a very… complicated relationship.
Details about us / working together:
For Entrepreneur, Jason commissioned a survey of 1,007 people from SurveyMonkey Audience, asking them if they’ve worked with close friends, family, or spouses. 87% said yes, and 78% said it was a good experience. They also identified some of the most important ways to make it work, including: having distinct roles and responsibilities, allowing for constructive criticism, and setting aside nonword time to spend together. Good data to talk about for the show!
Jen and I met on OKCupid. She said yes to a date because I used a semicolon correctly in my first message to her. (That would feature prominently later: The New York Times wrote about our wedding, and its lede was “It all began with a semicolon.”)
We’ve always been comfortable working together. One of our first big challenges while dating was when Jen asked me to edit her first novel. Definitely a make-or-break moment for an early relationship. (I said yes; we survived, and it was published.)
The idea for Mr. Nice Guy started with me in my 20s. A sex columnist had reached out to me asking for writing advice, and we started up a correspondence. That sparked the idea: What would happen if two people had to regularly have sex and then review each other?
I tried to write the novel for years, but failed each time. I’m a non-fiction guy. I just didn’t know how to do fiction. But then I married a novelist. After Jen sold her most recent novel a few years ago, she asked me what I thought her next project should be. “You should write my novel, because I’m never going to do it,” I said. “We should do it together,” she said. And so, it began.
It took us three years to write—plotting over dinner, during vacations, writing on nights and weekends and early mornings. We split up the actual writing: Jen wrote the majority of the story, I wrote the columns and some selected scenes, and then we edited each other’s work.
The book-marketing and selling process always turns Jen into an anxious wreck. She says the only reason she’s holding it together this time is because she wrote it with me.