Ask Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus discussion

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 1 comments Mod
Emma and Nicola will be answering your questions on Friday, June 22! In the meantime, feel free to introduce yourselves. If you have a question for the authors, please ask it in this thread!


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (chicklitcentral) | 2 comments Emma and Nicola,
I just finished BYAM this week and will be sharing my review next week. It was an eye-opener into the life of a celebrity.
My question is about working together. How much of the book is written by each of you? Or does one of you write and the other edits? Have you had a time when your ideas were contrasting? If so, how did you come to a compromise?
Thanks!
Melissa
Chick Lit Central


message 3: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Thank you for your review, Melissa! We outline together, which takes anywhere from 1 to 3 months. Then we each write every other chapter. But that is just the first draft. By the time she book is published we have each gone over every scene so many times.
I have a question for you: did you get the book off netgalley? Because that was a very old version. We cut 75 pages off it in post.


message 4: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
We are so excited to discuss Between You and Me tomorrow! And for those of you who haven't had time to read it yet we log in here every week and will be answering questions about it as you have them...
XO


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna M | 2 comments Hi Emma and Nicola,
If it wasn't for the invite I got to this group, I wouldn't have known you guys had written books other than the Nanny Diaries. So not only will I be reading Between You and Me, but I'll also be picking up Dedication and The Real Real while anticipating Over You.

As I am writing my first novel, I have hundreds of questions for published authors, but now that I'm able to ask you guys one, I get that deer-in-headlights, tongue-lolling, I don't know what to ask other than the overused "uh, any advice for an aspiring writer?"

So, I'm not going to ask that. Phew. Okay, here's my real question(s).

Regarding book signings and promoting Between You and Me - is it a whirlwind tour of the U.S. or just one or two cities? do you do international venues as well? how long does it take (weeks/months)? are you able to bring your family with you (kids/husband)?


message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Strohm (stephaniekatestrohm) Hi Emma and Nicola,
I'm a huge fan of your books! I've devoured each one the minute they've hit the shelves.
So Between You and Me is your second book featuring a pop star (or rock star - not sure which most accurately describes Jake!) - do you guys know people in the music industry, or are you just devotees of Us Weekly? If you weren't novelists, would you be singing sensations? What is it about the music industry that drew you back to exploring it a second time?
Thanks so much!
Stephanie


message 7: by Rosary (new)

Rosary (rosary_goodrum) Hi Emma and Nicola!
I have only read The Nanny Diaries and Nanny Returns but I loved both books! I'm excited to add Between You and Me to my reading list and I am interested in picking up the others as well.

I find it so interesting/exciting that you can write together because I feel like, what better way to bond than working together on something you love!?

I have a few questions about your work as writing partners:

1. When did you decide to write together?
2. Do you feel like having two opinions/writing styles enriches your work? And, do you find it more challenging sometimes?
3. How do you get a rythm and flow down when writing? Since each has their own voice, I would expect the differences to show up in your books but I don't notice it at all!

I am inspired by your abilities to write so many books together and I'd love to learn from you guys!

Thank you!
Rosary


message 8: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Thank you so much, Rosary! That is awesome to hear and I'm glad you have questions for the chat today :)

1. We were five years out of college and neither of us were totally loving our careers. I was acting and Emma was working for one of those big dot.coms than went belly up. I wrote a play and invited her to a reading of it and she emailed the next morning and asked if I'd like to write a book about nannying with her. I though, wow, who would want to read that? But okay!
2. Definitely. We never get stuck because we just call the other one, read what we have so far and the other person says, "this should happen next." When we disagree it just means that something isn't clear yet. If we're confused, the reader will be, too. Sometimes we flat-out fight, but that is soooooo rare. Like, once a year.
3. That is the magic part. We each wrote every other paragraph of the prologue for nanny the first week we started writing together. And when we strung it together it was impossible to tell who wrote what. We got the shivers and we've been writing together ever since--twelve years now!


message 9: by REDD (new)

REDD (sf_reader94114) Hi.

I enjoyed your first book. I tried reading your second book but it wasn't at gripping as the first?.
Even the ratings for your second book wasn't as good as the first.

Why is that? Were u pressured to write a sequel thus coming out flat?

Where do you get inspiration to write and how long do you do a research material on subjects you tackle?

Thanks.


message 10: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Okay, Anna, first off yea that you didn't know we had other books out bc we sometimes wonder if people know they're out there, so you have just confirmed our suspicions. We need to spread the word!
That is a great question and one we have never gotten before. For BYAM we are just going to SF and LA bc we had family stuff come up this spring and we weren't sure if we could be away yet so we're doing ti fast and dirty.
BUT!!!! For Over You we will going to Nordstroms ACROSS THE COUNTRY all fall! As soon as we have final dates I will post them here on Goodreads and on our Amazon author page and on our website. I hope we can meet.
Our best advice is just to keep making time to keep writing. Even just a few hours a week--don't judge the first draft, just get it down. THEN start editing, but if you judge too early you'll keep deleting and you'll have nothing to work with.
The best advice I ever got: keep your heart and ears open always, the rest is easy. XO


message 11: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Stephanie, that is an awesome question! I am obsessed with music--and musicians. What is it about an exquisite song that touches people across counties, languages, decades. And what must it be to have the ability to captivate people like that. Make them feel better, or make them cry. I think it's an amazing gift. have you seen the documentary about the making of Achtung Baby? How One was written? It's amazing. They were just pecking in the dark, in despair that maybe nothing would happen--and Bono says, "It's an act of faith from note to note." I love that.

Also....as far as pop stars go, the captivating kind that might not necessarily write their own music, but can hold our attention, well Emma and I are "put on a show" kind of girls :) So that's the fantasy.


message 12: by Rosary (new)

Rosary (rosary_goodrum) Nicola,
I love that you made a career change like that! I am currently 5 years out of college and, though I do enjoy my job, my dream is to write! I've tossed around the idea with my friend to pull an Emma-Nicola-style writing team and work on a book with her and even though it's still in the pipe-dream stages, I love that you have made something like that a reality!

I also love and appreciate your honesty about my second question! It's refreshing to hear that you are willing to work on something together but that you're still human and sometimes humanity steps in! Haha.

I saw that you met in college. Were you really close during your college years or did the friendship begin to blossom later on?

Rosary


message 13: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Rosary, it's actually a funny story. We took a class together the final semester, but we never spoke! I followed Emma to the elevator every day, but never got up the courage to talk to her. Then I graduated! And we ran into each other at an ATM on the Upper East Side and discovered that we were both downtrodden nannies.
Working together is great, but it's like a marriage--it takes constant communication. If one of you is putting in 10 hours a week, the other can't be doing 2, unless you talk about it and everyone is okay. Don't take an-y-thing for granted. Make a business plan. And check in a lot.


message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (chicklitcentral) | 2 comments Nicola wrote: "Thank you for your review, Melissa! We outline together, which takes anywhere from 1 to 3 months. Then we each write every other chapter. But that is just the first draft. By the time she book ..."

I got the book from Engelman as an ARC.
Thanks for answering my question. :)


message 15: by Wendie (new)

Wendie | 2 comments I read Between You & Me in 2 days; it was great. I cried at the end, and appreciate that it wasn't all tied up in a pretty bow b/c real life isn't like that (look at Lindsay Lohan - LOL). There were a couple references or comparisons you made that I didn't understand, such as the one when Logan is at Finn's house & she wonders if he wants her there or was it like finding a tampon.... I wasn't clear on how that related.

Otherwise, you both did a great job of showing the pain & confusion that the characters were experiencing throughout. I was rooting for each of them, even Andy.
Thank you for your great writing!


message 16: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Wendie, thank you SO much!!! That is great to hear--we have spent the last year elbows-deep in that story, so we are so gratified to hear you liked it.
The tampon line...you know (or maybe you dated much kinder, more evolved men) when you start leaving things over at a guy's house, and suddenly you're not the sexy hookup anymore and he pulls back? That's what we were trying to conjure.


message 17: by Rosary (new)

Rosary (rosary_goodrum) Nicola wrote: "Rosary, it's actually a funny story. We took a class together the final semester, but we never spoke! I followed Emma to the elevator every day, but never got up the courage to talk to her. Then..."

I love it! Isn't it funny how friendships start? Thanks for the advice! I'll keep that in mind!

P.S. If your nanny experiences were even CLOSE to those in your book, I have a huge respect for both of you!


message 18: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 2 comments Hi -- So I do love your books -- read them right when they come out. I want to know who the character Aaron is based off of? I am not done with the book yet, so hopefully no spoilers in this discussion, but I read him to be better/hotter than Kevin Federline. Was there a different celebrity inspiration for him?

Best, Kel


message 19: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Dear Kelly,
Poor Kevin Federline...
Did you ever watch Chaotic? (I hope for your sake the answer was no.) When he first swaggered into her life he was hot. And trying really hard to make this whole thing work. AND most importantly, he was actually successful for what he was doing. He had worked his ass off to get to be at the top of his field. And be well paid. Then once he was with brit he couldn't get jobs anymore. So...I won't spoil the book, but it was a setup. Anywa, I want to hear more about how you feel about Aaron as the book progresses. Will you message me here at goodreads or on our facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/emmaandnicola


message 20: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Aw, thanks, Rosary! The depressing truth is the jobs we worked were just sad. People who had all the resources in the world to be great parents just missing it so completely. Making those stories funny was the great challenge. Time--and anger--helped :)


message 21: by Wendie (new)

Wendie | 2 comments I loved Aaron in the book. He, Finn & Logan seemed like the only sensible characters. I was rooting for their relationship to work itself out (I won't spoil it for anyone)!


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 2 comments Nicki -- I did see Chaotic. I don't really remember the details, but I remember it being such a train wreck. I can't wait to see how it all unravels. It is a great book so far, the proof is that I find time to read it with a busy job and a 1 year old at home. I would love to tell you how I feel about Aaron when I am finished. Thanks for creating a world that is a joy to escape to.

Kel


message 23: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Thank you, Wendie! When a family organizes around a child's success for financial, emotional and physical security, there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. There is a part of Kelsey's brain that is arrested in childhood. Because her parents have set her up to keep that way because it keeps their world organized. How many stars have had to publically divorce their parents? Kirtsen Dunst, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Sheilds, Beyonce, the list is long... and short on boys :)
Finn and Logan are lucky to be just enough on the sidelines that they are fully developed people.


message 24: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Kel, thank you! We both have two year-olds and that was our exact goal--to create a world that was rich, but still escapist. All I've read since Sophie was born is The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey!


message 25: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Redd, are you referring to Nanny returns or Citizen Girl? I'm sorry you didn't find it as gripping.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma and Nicola - congratulations on a new book! What I loved most about The Nanny Diaries & Nanny Returns was the fact that as former nannies, you had both "been there, done that", and totally understood what kind of story to tell (and what to leave out). It made for very compelling reading! How did you do that with your new book? How did you convey that delicious sense of an insider spilling secrets?

Also, how do you each hone your craft? Do you read & write constantly?


message 27: by Rosary (new)

Rosary (rosary_goodrum) Nicola wrote: "Aw, thanks, Rosary! The depressing truth is the jobs we worked were just sad. People who had all the resources in the world to be great parents just missing it so completely. Making those stori..."


I bet it really helped you become better moms since you knew how NOT to be with children. Not just the nanny experience but seeing how being so distant from your children really affects them!

What I really appreciated about the stories was the truth behind them. I think you did an excellent job honing in on what a difficult situation it was for Nan. The stories were so bittersweet because you saw how much she tried to make Grayer's life a little better but she can so many restrictions.

My favorite character, though, was her grandma! I always like their relationship and her support in both books!


message 28: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Rayna, first of all I love your name. Thank you for appreciating that we left out A LOT. Miserable details and about 100 pages of description that we eventually just cut for pacing.
We do a LOT of research with all our books. We're lucky to belong to a network of kind helpful people who will say, "Oh, my cousin's roommate's dentist's cat was the roadie on the _____ tour and he'll talk to you!" We don't want to write a book unless we think were telling a side of the story that isn't the one in the magazines. Otherwise, what's the point? So you may think you know the story, but hopefully by the end you're thinking about it differently...

I am laughing right now. We do write constantly, but that's mostly because we're always under deadline. So it's more of a sweaty panicked thing than a craft thing. Like today. Our next book is due today and we have to finish it because we leave for tour Monday morning.

Before having kids I honestly only read very highbrow literary fiction. Dense shit. Since my daughter was born I have read The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades. After writing all day all I want to do is watch GIRLS or MadMen. I want to be ENTERTAINED. So we try to write entertaining books for tired people :)


message 29: by Nicola, Author of The Nanny Diaries (new)

Nicola Kraus (nicola_kraus) | 14 comments Mod
Thank you, Rosary. We were both raised by hippies who think makeup is for hookers. But both had these incredibly glamorous grandmothers who were huge influences on us. They taught us how to love large in spirit. They've both since passed, but they got such a kick out of it. I'm only sorry there was no grandma in the movie.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

"entertaining books for tired people"
Wow, you guys really are moms. lol
That is EXACTLY what I prefer (home schooling mom of a pre-schooler) most of the time. The stuff that makes my brain hurt is collecting dust for now.

Have fun w/your careers and thanks for the Q&A - I love your answers. :o)


message 31: by Anna (new)

Anna M | 2 comments Nicola wrote: "Okay, Anna, first off yea that you didn't know we had other books out bc we sometimes wonder if people know they're out there, so you have just confirmed our suspicions. We need to spread the word..."

:( I wish I could meet you guys at Nordstroms, but I'm a Texan living in Ireland; I met an Irish brogue while teaching English on a small island off the coast of South Korea . . . which is why I was wondering if you were doing any international stops. Oh well, I'll send my mom or my sister to Nordstroms for me!

Thank you, thank you for the advice. I've finished my first draft and am doing the edit now. I've got the "Nobody's going to want to buy this crap" voice in my head - it usually comes about once or twice a month - but I will persevere! Even if it's crap, at least it'll be finished, and I can learn from it.

And I loved what you said about writing for tired people! I was a high-brow, literary fiction, English grad student until reality hit me in the form of two sons. Now, when the house is quiet I write, so when I DO have time to read, I want to enjoy it. I tried to read Silas Mariner a few months ago - I couldn't get past page 2 without falling asleep. At least with FSog, it makes me laugh. And teaches me a lot about writing!

BTW - following both of your HP blogs now. I love author's blogs, even if they aren't about writing. Just a reminder that you guys are just as real as I am.

So, if you're ever in Ireland, I'd love to meet you guys!


message 32: by Cyndee (new)

Cyndee Thomas Do you see BYAM being made in to a film? Who would you both like to star in it? I cannot wait to read your latest book! I enjoyed your other books very much.
Keep the good books coming! Best Wishes,
Cyndee Thomas


message 33: by Cyndee (new)

Cyndee Thomas Patrick wrote: "Emma and Nicola will be answering your questions on Friday, June 22! In the meantime, feel free to introduce yourselves. If you have a question for the authors, please ask it in this thread!"
Thanks for the invite! Cyndee Thomas


message 34: by Doreen (new)

Doreen (nanascurse) | 1 comments Thanks Patrick! I'm finally here. I have no question, but would like to say that I enjoyed Nanny Diaries. I watched the trailer for BYAM and look forward to reading the book. I find that trailers rarely intrigue me. This trailer is good, though. The actors, dialogue, and film gimmicks are perfectly tempting!


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