make their way in the world. So, after several
thousand hours on the phone we decided to put
our ideas on paper and start a novel.
When I wasn't writing my graduate thesis (a
screenplay set in the world of professional
tennis) I worked on our novel. And when Sarah
wasn't toiling in small Manhattan cubicles (in
publishing...then advertising) she worked on
it, too. We would hand off chapters back and
forth. (Sometimes just pages...or sentences.)
And, before long, we found we'd cobbled
together a pretty entertaining story.
We began Happiness Sold Separately on a lark. I was in
graduate school in Ohio, and Sarah was just starting her
post-collegiate life in New York City. At the time we
were both voracious readers and devoured countless
stories about young women striking out on their own and
achieving their dreams. We were a book club of two,
reading then discussing our favorite scenes and our least
favorite characters. Some of the books were fantastic,
some were decidedly less than fantastic, but all were
inspirational in one way or another.
When we told our friends that we were working on a novel they were all very supportive
and complimentary of our initiative, but (we found out later) they never really
believed it would amount to anything. So, you can imagine their surprise when a
four-hundred page block of paper landed on their doorstep. We got amazed phone calls,
"It's really a real book!" "That's like an actual novel you have there!" "Seriously.
It could be, like, in a bookstore." Fortified by their enthusiasm we went on the hunt
for an agent. And, miraculously, we found one.
The rest, as they say, is history. Only a couple of years after our first phone call
we walked into the Barnes & Noble on 86th and Lex and saw our very own book on the
"New Books" table right up front. -- Emily
As devout television junkies Sarah and I
had, of course, discussed the possibility
of turning Happiness Sold Separately into
a TV show once or twice. This was usually
said wistfully, in passing, and after
several beers. It never went any further.
Until, that is, we were asked by a couple
of big, fancy Hollywood producers to write
Needless to say, it was a dream come true.
We finally had a legitimate excuse to lock
ourselves in a room and imagine bringing
our favorite parts of Ryan Hadley to life.
What happened next follows that well-trod plot that is now Hollywood cliche. Our
little pilot was written, handed in and loved by all. And then it was promptly
shelved in favor of a bigger, glitzier big-screen project. I feel confident that at
least one physical copy is, right this very minute, on a very expensive shelf on
That's it. That's the whole story. The End. Or, rather, "fade out" as the
appropriate parlance would have it. It's rather a truncated story, with the middle
and end all mixed up together in a messy clump.
That said, please don't read any bitterness in my tone. We really enjoyed our brief
brush with TV even if it didn't end with an Emmy--or better yet, syndication. (A
girl's gotta dream.) We laughed a ridiculous amount while writing the pilot. We went
to a couple of fancy lunch meetings. (We're suckers for free lobster.) The only real
disappointment that lingers is that nobody else got to see the fruit of our labor.
So, if you're into that sort of thing, we invite you to have a look at the pilot
episode of the television series tentatively known as "The Future Life of Ryan Hadley".
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Eventually, our book club "meetings" took on a new flavor.
They were more like story meetings. We bandied about ideas
for characters, the kind of scenes and stories we'd like to
happen to us in real life. We talked about creating
characters that were like the women we knew, struggling to