The Brontë sisters and the Waugh brothers made it big as writers, but Pat and Mike McGrady have done what no siblings in history have accomplished—this spring they’ve been on the bestseller list at the same time. Pat, 47, is co-author of The Pritikin Program for Diet & Exercise (currently No. 12); Mike, 46, wrote Ordeal, Linda Lovelace’s memoir of her career as a porn queen (which rose to No. 6). Pat’s book has been on the list for 52 weeks, Mike’s ran for six. “It’s all rather meaningless,” says Pat, “but nice to have.” Adds Mike, “It’s also a tribute to the way we select our co-authors.”
Both McGradys have had best-sellers before. Pat’s was The Youth Doctors, a 1968 study of jet-set physicians and quacks. He also has published five other books, including a ghostwritten autobiography about which he must remain forever mum. Mike is best known for Naked Came the Stranger, the 1969 literary hoax he concocted with 25 journalist friends. Each wrote a chapter and submitted it under the nom de plume Penelope Ashe.
The McGradys were born into a literary family—their late father was a well-known science writer, and younger brother Shamus is an occasional contributor to the Reader’s Digest. Pat and Mike attended Yale and did time as daily journalists—Pat with the wire services, Mike on Newsday. Each is the father of three children, all of whom, they say, take a keen interest in writing. “I don’t let them know about the trauma, the rejection slips,” says Mike. “I only bring the checks home.”
The brothers, who both live in New York, do not foresee working together, chiefly because Pat’s expertise is in medical and scientific writing. “The advantage of collaborating on a book,” says Pat, “is that you get someone to do some of your work. The disadvantage is that they take half the money.”