WWC Spotlight: Christine Pride & Jo Piazza
Through the Wise Women Collective, we spotlight women whom we admire and who inspire.
Meet real-life friends and co-authors of the Good Morning America Book Club Pick, We Are Not Like Them, and the fourth pick for our #BoozyBookClub series.
OB: Could you tell us how you came to write We Are Not Like Them?
CP +JP: We met when Christine was Jo’s editor on the novel Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, but we very quickly became friends. We also worked really well together on another project, the Marriage Vacation novel that was a tie-in to the television show Younger. The author and editor roles and boundaries quickly collapsed into much more of a collaboration because the project had to be completed so quickly. We were on text constantly, and we really enjoyed working together. And that's a rare thing to enjoy writing together, because writing is such a lonely process. Christine had had an idea for a book simmering for a while but she thought she would never write it. It was about best friends, one white, one Black, dealing with the aftermath of police shooting of an unarmed Black man and how their friendship is affected. It really lent itself to being a book that we should write together. It would be a different book if either of us wrote it separately, but the benefit of it would be that we could take on these two different perspectives.
OB: Female friendships deepen with time. How does that apply to you as co-authors and friends?
CP +JP: We are such better friends now than when we began. But to be honest it could have gone either way. We could have come out of this as great collaborators who want nothing to do with one another personally or we could have let our friendship continue to evolve and decided not to be creative partners. It’s hard to go into business with a friend and that is a little bit what writing a book is so the balance needs to be carefully nurtured. And we’re committed to that.
Because of the intimate nature of our book we had no choice but to have some really deep, meaningful and sometimes painful conversations about friendship and race. Those conversations pushed us to new places in our friendship and we can genuinely say we genuinely enjoy one another (and understand one another) more than ever four years into our relationship.
OB: Philadelphia is almost a character in your novel. How did you come to choose it as your locale?
CP +JP: Jo is from Philly and as she likes to say, “it is the best goddamn city in the world.” (She truly says this every chance she gets). Christine can argue that New York deserves a place on the pedestal but chooses her battles carefully. For our novel, it was important to us that the city we set it in have genuinely diverse neighborhoods which can be rare. Philadelphia also has a long and complicated history with systemic racism that we wanted to weave through our story.