Annette Brafman was an aspiring writer. Marty Meyers was a struggling actor.
"We wanted the same things," says Annette. "You know, we both wanted the life of artists, writers."
It was the early '60s. Nearly 40 years later, Marty and Annette Meyers are still together.
"And he has never bored me one moment in 39 years," says Annette. "He's made me nuts. He's made me crazy. I've wanted to kill him..."
And, in this marriage, murder is a real option. You see, Marty and Annette are collaborators. Under the pen name Maan Meyers, they have co-authored half a dozen murder mysteries.
Says Annette, "It's dangerous when we're working together. He's a night person. I'm a day person."
Annette works in a carefully ordered corner of their New York living room. Marty works in a cluttered den in the back of the apartment.
"It was Marty's debut in the movies. Mine too, but he did a little better," he quips.
Meyers went on to have a series of very small parts in very big films. He played the wedding photographer in Goodbye Columbus. He was a face in the crowd in The Producers, and a man on the street in Rosemary's Baby. And when parts were hard to come by, in the '70s, Marty wrote a series of pulp private-eye novels:
"I was writing because I was frustrated," explains Marty. "The way she baked in order to forget the fact that she couldn't get published, I wrote in order to forget the fact I couldn't get a part."
While Annette was waiting for her breakthrough as an author, she worked as the production assistant to Broadway legend, the director and producer Hal Prince. It was her job to help raise money for all the shows, including Cabaret, Company, Fiddler on the Roof and A Funny Thing Happene on the Way to the Forum.
But, after 15 years, she knew she had to leave the theater and Hal Prince.
She recalls, "He said to me, 'Oh, darling, you'll never be happy out there.' And I said, 'Why not?' And he said, 'Because you have an overdeveloped sense of injustice.' And I do! And he was so right. And that's what makes a good mystery writer."
She stumbled into a new career as a headhunter on Wall Street. Then, at lunch one day, a client excused himself to go to a phone booth.
"And I could see him huddled over the telephone. And I thought, 'What if I open the door and he slides out dead?' And that's how it started."
She called the book The Big Killing, which would be Annette's big break.
After that mystery series took off, Annette says, she was sitting at home one day and had a vision.
"And I looked up, and I saw a figure standing there that I call a hologram."
The image, of a Dutch lawman in 17th century New York, wouldn't leave her alone.
"And the Dutchman kept haunting me," Annette recalls. "And so I finally said to Marty with trepidation, because we fight about everything including how to stack the dishes in the dishwasher. And I said, 'Do you think you might want to write this with me?'"
When she came to Marty with this idea, when she said, "I've had this vision, this hologram," what did he think?
"I thought she was nuts," replies Marty.
But he eagerly agreed to collaborate, and the couple began to research the early history of New York.
Says Marty, "The first thing that I did, I wanted to see where we were. So I started with a map. I drew a map of the island as I saw it and as I read about it. And she said: 'What's that for? We don't need a map!' And subsequent to that, for all the books, she negotiated through the agents and editors that we must have a map for every book. How quick she turned."
Annette: "Well, the readers liked the map."
Marty: "Oh, but you don't need a map, right?"
Annette: "Who drew the map?"
Marty: "And you did it beautifully, too."
Annette: "That's right."
So how did they get through one book, let alone six?
"We didn't," says Marty. "We got through one, and we said, 'Never again!'"
Never say "Never again." The Meyers just have finished their seventh historical mystery. Annette also has started a series set in Greenwich Village in the '20s.
And, at age 67, Annette and Marty are still inseparable. What is the secret of surviving 37 years of marriage and 39 years together?
"I'm lovable," quips Marty.
"We're so close," says Annette. "We don't have kids, so we're each other's best friend, sister, brother..."
"And parent, in a way," Marty interjects.
"You know, we take care of each other," adds Annette.
A few years ago, they had a scare when Marty suddenly took sick and doctors wrned Annette she'd better call her family.
"And I thought, 'Oh, my God, what am I gonna do?' And then," she adds with a laugh, " I thought, 'How am I gonna clean out that back room?'"
A heart bypass saved Marty and meant the Meyers were stuck with each other for while yet.
Annette and Marty Meyers. A fine romance that's endured for nearly 40 years.
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