When Suzanne does rise she has only shaky legs for support. As on most mornings, Adele is up but Petra is not. Through the blunt headache and the whiskey aftertaste that survives toothpaste and mouthwash, she fixes Adele’s favorite breakfast of oatmeal with walnuts and too much brown sugar. She sits with her as she eats, a few quiet moments before Adele withdraws to dress for school.

It must be hard to live with another writer. What’s the worst thing about it?

We’ve managed not to succumb to the jealousy and insecurity that wrecks more successful writer couples, so we’re going to say the long initial period of straight-up poverty. The key is to have separate studies and agents—two things we learned the hard way. We do share an editor these days (the sent-from-heaven Fred Ramey at Unbridled Books), but he respects that we are different writers and different people.