I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Gross, recently. He was promoting his latest book, “Everything to Lose,” a thriller which actually kept me up a few nights as I was reading it.
“I don’t like to terrorize people, but I enjoy creating a feeling of suspense,“ he said, modestly.
In addition to being charming and fairly easy-on-the-eye, I found Andy to be one of the luckiest men I’ve ever met. (Look, his publicist called him “Andy,” so I did, too.)
Not because his father and grandfather ran the Leslie Fay Companies. (Andy worked there, too, before leaving to pursue his own opportunities at Le Coq Sportif, a boutique tennis/ golf brand, and Sun Ice, Inc, a Canadian skiwear manufacturer, the latter, “ending poorly and abruptly,” as Gross says, “and hastening my writing career.”)
Andy is lucky because he finished a draft of his first book Hydra, a political thriller, in 1998. Rejected by dozens of agents and ultimately publishers, the book was never printed. Gross admits “not knowing what my next step in life was, and sitting around my study, wondering what cliff I was going to drive our SUV off of, I received a phone call from someone who asked, ‘Can you take a call from James Patterson?”
They met for breakfast – “The smartest thing I’ve ever done” – and discussed the early concepts for what ultimately became the Women’s Murder Club series. Patterson explained that the head of his publishing house forwarded Gross’s unpublished manuscript to him with five words written on the cover: “This guy does women well!”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Hell, I’d sharpen James Patterson’s pencils if he asked me to.
But Gross, who learned his craft from a master, also had some advice for me: “Have patience. Don‘t rush the process. Most good work comes from the second or third draft. Keep at it until it’s GREAT.”
I plan to, Andy. And when it is, I’d like to take you to breakfast.
Renee Garrison is completing her new Young Adult book, “The Anchor Clankers,” and looking for her own literary agent.