The Authors of The Nanny Diaries Tell Us About Their New Book
21 Aug 2015
We got the chance to interview Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of The Nanny Diaries, about their new book: How To Be a Grown-Up.The Nanny Diaries is a novel that I will always adore. I remember voraciously re-reading in the summer of 2003, as I was a teenager completely obsessed with books (and had my fair share of babysitting experiences to relate). I’d throw my beloved copy into my gym bag, bike to morning swim practice, and spend the following hours pouring over the pages. I probably read The Nanny Diaries five times that summer alone. I love how Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus can write a novel that is extraordinarily relatable and peppered with smart humor. After chatting with the authors, I am convinced that How To Be a Grown-Up will earn a spot on my ‘favorites’ bookshelf – right next to The Nanny Diaries.
Rory is a 40-something mom stunned when her husband, former child-star Blake Turner, starts backing out of their marriage—and family. She ends up taking a job working for a MONSTROUS 23 year-old and going Converse-to-Manolo to save her job and her dignity.
Has your writing style (or habits) changed at all since The Nanny Diaries? How has it evolved?
Believe it or not, we actually follow the same method we established on the fly when writing our first novel. We still outline extensively, divvy the chapters up to get a first draft and then edit together until the publishers pry it from our hands. The biggest difference between our first and our tenth books is how much we trust each other. We have almost no disagreements. One of us will call the other and start to pitch her on changing a scene and the other one will interrupt to say, “You had me at hello. Go for it.” It’s such a shame that you can’t jump to the trusting part when you first meet someone, but that’s life.
Where is your favorite spot in NYC? Why does it bring you joy?
We both still swoon when we walk the reservoir path in Central Park. Something about finding yourself by this serene body of water right in the middle of the city with limestone buildings just beyond never loses it’s magic. It makes a girl want to throw a beret up in the air, Mary Tyler Moore style.
What have been your biggest “pinch me” moments in your careers?
Oh, hands down meeting Madonna. And having her know who we were! We’ve never sweat that much in our collective lives. She was just lovely. The follow up would be going to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. And of course, when we sold our first book and stood at an ATM in midtown, where we got the call from our agent, crying and hugging.
Who are your literary heroes working today? Why do you admire them?
Honestly, any author keeping their lights on while getting books into stores is our hero right now. It’s such a tumultuous moment in history for the industry that we tilt our hats to anyone and everyone figuring out how to adapt.
What books are currently on your night stands?
What advice would you give your teenage selves?
The memories you wish you could cut out of your brain at eighteen get fuzzy fast at 40. All that boy drama you can’t wait to outgrow and marry away from — WRITE IT DOWN. What he said. What you said. Whose backyard you were in. What you were wearing. All of it. Because when you’re on hour six of driving your kids to a theme park, it’s a nice film to play in your head now that you know the happy ending.
What’s your favorite line from How to Be a Grown-Up?
“She’s got a Working for Old Bitches checklist and I’m helping her check every box.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
In the moments before a big test or performance, my (Emma’s) dad used to always pull me aside like he was going to tell me a secret and whisper, “Hey, this time f*** it up.” Knowing that my value or lovability wasn’t riding on the task at hand relaxed me enough to get out of my own way. Now we say it to each other whenever we get so caught up in what we’re trying to accomplish that we’re tipping into paralysis. F*** it up! Throw your whole self in, warts and all—the vital thing is that you show up and try.
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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.