January 2010


Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus met at New York University and wrote their best-selling debut The Nanny Diaries after a stint as nannies. They then went on to write another three books Citizen Girl, Dedication and the young adult title The Real Real before writing the sequel Nanny Returns. (Interview by Angela Smith)

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  1. 1. Why did you decide to write a sequel to the Nanny Diaries - and why did you wait so long?

    Emma: Right after The Nanny Diaries came out, there was so much unexpected interest and the publisher wanted a sequel right away. They already had a certain vision - one vision was of Nan becoming a mother herself and having a horrible nanny - we decided that we'd never write a sequel if that was how it had to go! But then, over the past few years we had visions of what would happen when Grayer was older and saw the video Nan had left behind ... so we got really excited about that idea and decided to do the sequel.

  2. 2. Was it easy working out how Nan and Grayer would be after 12 years?

    Nicola: We wanted to stay true to the evolution of Grayer's psychology. Nan and Grayer have a tremendous bond and we wanted to show that ... we knew how he was at four years old when Nan left and we wanted to show how he evolved.

  3. 3. Would the storyline have worked so well without the shadow of the global financial crisis?

    Emma: That's a good question ... When we started writing Nanny Returns, the economy hadn't become what it is now. What we originally based it on was the Astor trial in New York. I don't think it got much press outside of New York, but it was about a wealthy socialite whose son was her caretaker and was accused of embezzling money from her. There were a lot of whispers in New York society about how a son could do that to his mother. How loyal will Grayer be when he is the caregiver for his mother? After the way she's treated him. When the economy started impacting so many lives across the country we thought it was important to have that in the story.
    Nicola: Originally it was just the X family falling on hard times when we pitched the story. Even then, the publisher thought it was far-fetched. So we changed it to the entire community being affected.

  4. 4. What is your favourite scene in the book?

    Nicola: My favourite scene is the one in the beginning where Grayer comes back.
    Emma: That's one of my favourites, too. But, I'd have to say I love all the scenes between Nan and Citrine. I want that to be a novel by itself! Nicki wrote those parts and I just really love them.
    Nicola: Thanks! Right back at you ...
    Emma: We just really love each other's work.

  5. 5. How does your writing partnership work? What happens if you disagree with where the story is going?

    Nicola: 99 per cent of it happens in the outlining stage. It takes weeks and weeks to figure out the characters, the plot ... We never really have a disagreement, just some miscommunications.

  6. 6. Would either of you write a book solo?

    Nicola: No.
    Emma: No, I have zero interest. I don't understand why anyone would want to write alone. It just seems so terribly lonely!

  7. 7. How do you deal with any critical reviews?

    Nicola: Some of it is helpful. But some people are just haters. We're not going to please everyone.
    Emma: Sometimes it's confusing, especially when the criticism is personal. It can be very hurtful and it hurts our feelings. It's not required reading... if you hate it that much, please put it down! But that is part of putting something creative out there, you won't please everyone who reads it.

  8. 8. Did you pick the actors for the Nanny Diaries movie?

    Emma: No but we were really happy with who they chose!
    Nicola: We were lucky enough to be on set on a few occasions and we met Laura Linney, who played Mrs. X It was scary how well she played it! But she was very nice and sweet off-screen.

  9. 9. Tell us about your next YA release Over You?

    Emma: It's basically our exploration of a broken heart and how to get over it. It's about a teenage break-up coach.

  10. 10. Which do you prefer YA writing or adult writing?

    Nicola: Both are really fun - the only difference is keeping the language clean for the young adult novels!
    Emma: Although young adult books don't always have clean language! Gossip Girl makes your jaw drop!

  11. 11. What else are you working on?

    Emma: Besides Over You, which is out in 2011, we're writing a script and will be starting our next adult novel soon. And Nicola is working on having her baby...
    Nicola: I'm due literally any minute now!

  12. 12. Do you know if it will be a boy or girl?

    Nicola: Yes, it will be a girl. We were trying to stay neutral but we didn't have any boys names, so we're relieved!

  13. 13. How do you think being a mother will change you?

    Nicola: I don't know really. It terrifies me! I'm hoping that I'll be much more efficient.

  14. 14. Will there ever be a third Nanny book?

    Emma: We'd love to do a third Nanny Book. Maybe see Nanny as a parent and maybe even down the line, Grayer as a parent...

  15. 15. What is your favourite chick lit book?

    Nicola: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. She also wrote Cause Celeb, which was a great book. She's a very intelligent writer.
    Emma: Mine would be Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I know it is a classic but I think it fits all the chick lit criteria. It's very sexy.

  16. 16. What is your favourite movie?

    Nicola: The English Patient. I could be stuck on an island with just that movie and I'd be happy!
    Emma: I'm a big movie fan, I have a top 10 list. But I'd have to say my favourite is Jerry Maguire. And anything by Pixar too!

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