climb it in January and it’s really extreme.
A lot of people do it to train for Everest
because of the conditions. ;e wind is
just crazy, 50 mph and a wind chill close
to negative 30 or 35 degrees when I tried
it in January. ;e first day was bad. If you
took o; your glove to touch your iPhone,
it wouldn’t read your finger. I split my
gloves with my ice ax a few times, and I
came down and my feet were so swollen.
You have to know what you’re doing, so
I hired a private guide who is very experienced with avalanches and all that. We
didn’t make it to the top—the wind was
too intense. We made it two-thirds [of
the way], but then I went back in March,
when the winds were closer to 36 mph,
and I did make it to the top. It’s definitely
something I’m getting a little obsessed
with. I’m going to do Mount Washington
again because it’s a di;erent mountain
every time you climb it. I like the winter—
[there’s] hurricane-force wind every three
days and you’re in it with crampons [trac-tion devices that strap to your feet] and ice
axes, and you’re clawing your way up and
it’s such a great release. All you can think
about is one foot in front of the other. It’s
beautiful. You have to really be very present in a way that’s hard to do these days.
What was the most harrowing part of
;ere was one really steep section, and
the only way you can get through is if
you have the crampons really in. I did
slip once, and the guide was screaming
‘arrest, arrest!’ and I remembered, oh,
yeah, I know how to stop. You have to put
[the ice ax] in and put your weight behind
so it holds you, because if you gain some
speed while you’re falling it can be bad.
What’s it like to have a guide?
Most of the time you’re so focused on
what you’re doing that you don’t talk a
lot. He had to teach me how to use crampons and how to cross [certain sections].
We had some really steep sections, and
he would have to rope me in and talk
me through a lot of technical stu;—foot
placement, all of that. You don’t have a
ton of energy for finding out each other’s
personal stories, but I did meet
fascinating people on the mountain.
What were they like?
;ere was a professional fly fisherman,
and a young woman who was in the Coast
Guard. You talk to all sorts of di;erent
people when you get down to dinner at the
lodge—people I wouldn’t come into contact with in the course of my everyday life.
;e main group I met on the way up was
a group of five or six guys who were old
friends. ;ey were a very cool group. One
was an entrepreneur who founded [Health
Warrior], those great little Chia bars you
get at Whole Foods, and one was Jesse
Itzler [the author of Living with a SEAL],
who is married to the founder of Spanx,
and one of his buddies was a guy named
Mark Brown, an ex-NFL player. I’ve stayed
in touch with them on social media.
Any other mountains on your bucket
I would love to do Kilimanjaro, and Denali
in Alaska, and Rainier. I’m trying to get
my [9-year-old] into it because I figure I’ll
have a lot of years with him. He’s all for
it. He has to get a little bit bigger though.
Will your climbing experiences influ-
ence what you write about, or how
Definitely. I’m planning more climbs and
dreaming of a way to work that experience into a novel someday.;I have tons
of climbing books on my shelves, and
I’m toying with an idea for my next solo
novel that could tie in my new passion.
How did you end up writing a psychological thriller? How many of the plot
twists in The Wife Between Us did you
have in mind at the start, versus ones
that developed later?
Greer and I sat down and talked about the
kinds of stories that spoke to us, and we
were both drawn to strong female pro-
tagonists and novels with psychological
elements. ;ere are rules to;standard
thrillers and mysteries, but since neither
of us had written one, we didn’t know
what the rules were—or that we were
breaking them. I think that worked to
our advantage. As for the plot twists, they
developed as we talked. And talked. And
talked. At this point, we joke that we have
‘one brain’ because we need both of ours
to keep track of all of our twists.
;e book was more of an abstract
psychological pursuit. We wanted to
explore how everyone views their life
through di;erent lenses depending on
experiences—and how people even
change their own perceptions of their
What was it like selling the movie
;e Gotham Group represents me and
Greer, and the process for selling it was
crazy. We spent a day on the phone with
di;erent producers who all had di;erent takes on the book and what they’d
do with it. And then we talked to DreamWorks. We talked to the president [of
production] at Amblin [Holly Bario],
which is Steven Spielberg’s production
company, and she was amazing, so we
signed a contract with them.
Will you have input in the screenplay?
I hope so. I would love it. Greer and I
understand that they bought the rights
and it’s whatever they want to do with the
material. ;at was our agreement with
them. But we would love to learn about the
process, and we’re thinking of doing some
screenwriting on our own at some point.
As you get busier, are you still under
contract to write one solo novel per
My kids are in three di;erent schools, so
it’s kind of crazy right now. I have two
[books] due in the next year. After that
I’ll just see if I need to take a little breather
from one or the other, maybe make it 18
months rather than every year because
it has been quite a time crunch, but I’m
also so lucky to get to do what I really
love to do, it’s what I always wanted to
do. If it’s a little more work, or a little bit
busier, that’s OK. It’s been a crazy couple
of years, but it’s all good. ■
Christine Koubek, a regular contributor
for Bethesda Magazine, writes the Get