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Nicola, Between You and Me, is a huge departure from the Nanny Lit fiction you and co-writer Emma McLaughlin are renown for. What made you tackle a book this dark in terms of human nature?
To us this feels like an extension of The Nanny Diaries, in that we're really looking at bad parenting West-Coast-style. A Park Avenue family and a Hollywood family organized around a child's success have so much in common. Grayer and Kelsey are really kindred spirits and Logan, our heroine, is the Nan of this book.
Some reviewers have stated that the book is a tough read because of the emotional punch it packs, was it a difficult or risky proposal? Was your editor and agent immediately supportive?
Thankfully they have been really excited about this idea from day 1. To us nothing will ever be harder to write than leaving a four year-old crying in the dark. All our books explore very dark places, using a lot of humor to make those stories entertaining. But we always want those wet eyes at the end!
The dynamic between the two main characters Kelsey and Logan is intense, a cousin relationship that has roots in a collective troubled past, was the novel inspired by a real life story? If not what inspired it?
It's long been fascinating to us that so many contemporary celebrities have their cousins as their personal assistants, keeping it "in the family". At the same time it's no secret, when young women from Kirsten Dunst to Beyonce, have had to professionally divorce their parents, that these families are not the healthiest. So what would it be for a cousin to be trapped in the crosshairs between her best friend and best friend's horrible managers--when those horrible managers are also her family?! That kind of conflict makes for juicy drama.
In a society that increasingly places people in the spotlight - what do you regard as the price of fame for Kelsey?
Like so many performers whose families needed them to be successful from a young age, Kelsey has worked her whole life. What they do looks like fun from the outside, but it requires tremendous discipline. When you go straight from the child pageant circuit to not being able to drive five feet without a clamor of people hanging off your car you skip a crucial step developmentally. Kelsey has been forcibly psychologically arrested as a teenager by her parents, enmeshed with them in a way that is crippling. It's no wonder then that when her life gets unexpectedly out of her control that she cracks.
You and Emma are now busy moms, how do you find time to balance motherhood with your literary careers?
Hahahahahahaha. Thank you, though, for giving us the benefit of the doubt. Every day is a sweaty sprint. We, of course, have amazing help. Emma has an incredible nanny and my daughter is in a daycare that rocks my world. Without the support of these amazing women we could not do it.
You have a second book out this year, can you tell us a little bit about that?
It is called Over You and it is out August 21st! It's about a teen breakup coach who can get any girl over any guy in four weeks--or less. Until she runs into her own ex. It was the most fun thing we've ever written. If you have ever been heartbroken there is something in there for you.
Newsweek declared McLaughlin and Kraus's The Nanny Diaries a 'phenomenon.' It is a #1 New York Times best-seller and the longest-running hardcover best seller of 2002. In 2007 it was released as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney and Alicia Keys. They are also the authors of three other New York Times bestsellers, Citizen Girl, Dedication and Nanny Returns. And the soon to be released Between You & Me, and Over You. They have appeared numerous times on CNN, MSNBC, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and The View. Their work and partnership have been covered in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, TIME, Elle, Town & Country and Harper's Bazaar. They have contributed to The London Times and The New York Times as well as two short story collections to benefit The War Child Fund: Big Night Out and Girls' Night Out. In addition to writing for television and film, they travel around the country speaking to young women about gender issues in American corporate culture.