Can girls and guys ever really be just friends? That’s the big question begged by romantic comedy novel The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me.
It tells the story of fictional childhood best friends, Holly and Alex, who don’t realise they are in love with each other but as their stories unfold they find each other again in Greenwich and Blackheath.
In a quirky twist, the characters of Holly and Alex are written by two best friends; Laura Tait, who was raised in Bexleyheath, and Jimmy Rice.
The pair met while studying journalism at Sheffield University and they know how to talk about life and love; it’s what they’ve been doing for the past ten years.
Since debuting as an ebook three months ago, The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me has beaten The Fault in Our Stars to number one in the iBooks store and has just been released in paperback.
Laura, who lives in Blackheath, explained that co-writing isn’t a matter of sitting together and writing.
It’s more about planning, so that both writers know what is going to be in each chapter in the novel, to avoid anyone stepping on each other’s... keyboards?
She said: “In some ways it’s harder [than writing alone], in some ways it’s easier.
“Because there’s two of you doing it, you’ve always got someone reading your work and telling you if something’s not working. The editing process happens all the way through, which is really useful.”
She added: “I think the co-authoring thing only works if you’re doing it with someone you know very well, because you have to be completely honest with each other. You’re not worried about offending each other; you respect each other’s opinions.”
Some writers openly admit to living vicariously through their characters. So how much are Laura and Jimmy like Holly and Alex?
She said: “It’s completely fictional, and a lot of people wonder, because Holly and Alex are kinda similar to me and Jimmy, they ask ‘has anything ever happened between you’ – no, ‘do you think it ever will’ – no. But in terms of the characters themselves, there are small things that come up in both of us.”
The Best Thing that Never Happened to Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice is out now, published by Corgi.