Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: How to be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

HowtobeagrownupWe LOVE Emma and Nicola. They are not only great people who blurbed our debut novel and have been kind enough to give us advice along the way, but they are fabulous authors. And we couldn't love How to Be a Grown-Up more! And we have a copy for #giveaway! To be entered to #win, leave a comment on this post or on the status on our FB page. Contest closes Thursday, September 17th at 6:00 p.m. PST.  The scoop: From bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus comes a timely novel about a forty-something wife and mother thrust back into the workforce, where she finds herself at the mercy of a boss half her age.

Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings.

A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion—that the future of digital media is a high-end “lifestyle” site—for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses’ lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials…whatever it takes.

Our thoughts: So damn witty and smart! As forty-something self-proclaimed technological dinosaurs, we related to Rory and her roller coaster life. This is a LOL funny novel we could not put down.

Liz & Lisa's Book Club: How to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

EmmaandNicolaWhat inspired the idea for HOW TO BE A GROWN-UP?

When we graduated from college we looked up to the women we worked for who were in their 40s.  They were in the corner office.  They had great husbands, great kids, and seemed to have figured it out.  Fast forward twenty years and there is no corner office—only a bullpen.  In New York our friends in their 40s are being eliminated and replaced with kids in their 20s at half the price.  The whole idea of job security seems a thing of the past.  Add to that our culture’s idea of beauty skews ever you nger and it can leave a women with a serious case of the blues.  We wanted to create a character who’s up against all of that—and vanquishes it.

As 41 year old women, we really related to your main character. How much of that character comes from your own experiences?

Emma kept saying to me as she was writing, “Is this actually funny—or just my morning?”  Rory is so close to us we kept losing perspective.  BUT we are luckier than Rory in two regards—we have not had a 23 year-old boss—YET.  And thankfully we are both married to men who are very much grown-ups.

How has your writing changed over the years as you've both gotten older?

You know, for a few discombobulated years after our kids were born we tried to “write to the marketplace”—I think out of fear that we wouldn't be able to support our new families.  The results were uneven.  We knew this was our last book and we wrote it for the sheer pleasure of it.  The lesson being follow the love—write for yourself first and foremost becasue if you write what someone in the industry tells you is “hot” or “on-brand” and it doesn’t sell, you’ll kick yourself.

What are you reading right now?

I (Nicola) just finished The Girl On The Train, which I loved. And Paper Towns.  John Greene, man.  He sticks the landing every f’ing time.  Now I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Imperfect Birds.  It was in the cabin we rented and I couldn’t leave it behind!

You've said this book will be your final book together. (Cue tears!) What's up next for both of you?

Emma has returned to organizational development—which is what she was getting her Masters in when I seduced her away to the very not-grown-uo world of entertainment.  She has a thriving transition coaching practice.  I have a comic book series called The 29ers coming out next year about a group of teens who survive when the world suddenly stops.  And I’m writing a self-help book called How To MANifest Your Husband.  We are still each other’s kidney donors.  Nothing could ever change that.  We grew up together!

Thanks, Emma & Nicola!

Diary of a Debut: NYC edition & giveaway!

IMG_2675So we have to admit that this whole "having your book published" thing hadn't quite sunk in until we met up in NYC for BookExpo America.  Yes, we'd talked about our publishing deal incessantly. But with the release date of our novel, Your Perfect Life, still a year off, it felt like a dream that we might wake up from, but didn't want to. (Like that one Liz had about Chris Pine the other night! *swoon*) But after finally meeting our editor and agent in person (for the best lunch ever), not to mention countless authors, publicists and bloggers that we've known *virtually* for years, it began to sink in. Holy Shit.  This is actually happening!  And in case you were wondering, everyone we met was sweet, smart and fun as hell!


L&L with Sarah Jio and our agent, Elisabeth Weed

So yes.  BEA was great.  The food?  Fantastic! (Can we just take a moment of silence for the quinoa hush puppies we had at Market Table.) The cab drivers? Freakin' friendly! (Even the one who crashed into another taxi while driving Lisa to the airport!)  The only problem?  Us. We acted like an old married couple.  And not that really cute old couple holding hands on a park bench.  We're talking about the one that's nitpicking the shit out of each other at the table next to you at dinner.

Even though we email, text and talk on the phone more than a couple of tweens, we, ahem, don't actually spend that much face time together now that we live two thousand miles apart.  So to throw us together for 24 hours a day, five days straight? Let's just say we *may* have experienced some growing pains...

We thought we knew everything about each other, but much like the characters in our novel, we discovered that there are always things you don't know about even your closest friend. We learned who can't so much as string three words together until she's hit Starbucks, who doesn't give a shit about sightseeing, who wanted every last New York City trinket and who has a strange humming problem (long story...). We discovered how to "take a meeting" together, who's better at hailing a cab (Lisa!) and who always carries snacks in her purse (Liz!)  But most importantly, we found out how to not only be better co-authors, but much better friends.  The thing is, any long friendship is going to have it's ups and downs. You are going to argue about things.  But what we learned from this experience is that it's how you move on from a disagreement that defines the strength of your sisterhood. (Or at least that's what we're telling ourselves so we don't feel bad about the girl fight we had over a copy of Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings--another long story!)

So, here are the top 5 things we learned about each other.  And we'd love to hear your thoughts on friendship too.  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win five of the books we were lucky enough to get at BEA: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (of course!), Morning Glory by Sarah Jio, Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire, A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams and The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  We'll choose the winner on Sunday June 9th after 3pm PST. Good luck!

5 Things Liz & Lisa learned about each other

With our new BF, the Penguin penguin!

1. We both like to be in control of things. Now this is not exactly news--we've always been Type A. But we'd never seen this uber-control freak side of each other before. (We blame our nerves!) Whether it was navigating the way to a restaurant on one of our iPhones (someone may have physically grabbed the other's cell (and claimed she could follow the blinking dot better!) or deciding how to respond to an email (and we quote, "the word start sounds so much better than begin"...) we learned we are definitely two beyotches who each like things done HER way. Funny how we can write and edit a book together, yet can't agree on which direction is Northeast.

2. We got first date jitters again. We were seriously acting like a couple of school girls before meeting our editor and agent in person for the first time.  Picture one of those sequences in a romcom where the girls try on a thousand outfits to the tune of some glorious 80's tune. That was us--acting like we were going on a first date, our palms sweaty and our hearts beating hard as we arrived at the restaurant AN HOUR early so we could have a glass of wine to calm our nerves. And although one of us over-talked, one of us under-talked and neither of us could eat the glorious food that was put in front of us, the lunch still somehow went better than great!

3. Liz can make everyone on a busy NYC street corner stop and stare

Lisa wasn't paying attention and stepped off the curb, excited to cross the street and get to Market Table to have dinner. After a day of being on our feet for 12 plus hours, she was hungry! So, no, she didn't see the cab barreling her way. But, yes, she did stop in her tracks at the sound of Liz's very firm and loud "Liiiiiissssa!" And she wasn't the only one who froze. Liz is solely responsible for silencing a small section of New York City for several seconds. That's got to be some kind of world record. (Thanks for saving my life, Liz! xoxo)

4. We have a shared superpower. This just in! We have developed a superpower since the last time we saw each other. (Cue dramatic music!) We can now talk to each other without opening our mouths or even moving our hands. We can have an entire conversation with our eyes. And believe us, there was a whole lot of eye talkin' going on last week! Whether one of us was warning the other to shut the hell up or to just say an effing word already, we're excited to have this new skill. It will definitely come in handy on the book tour!

5. Neither of us is perfect. And that's more than okay. Our week in NYC together was a learning experience in so many ways.  Not only as business partners, but as friends.  As self-proclaimed control freaks/perfectionists, it's sometimes hard to take a step back and realize you haven't been the friend/wife/mom you wanted to be. That sometimes we forget to tell the people we love most all the things that make them great.  But it's in those tough moments that we all have a great opportunity to move forward, to take our relationships to the next level. To realize that we don't have to be perfect to be loved or even liked. So for that, we are thankful.  (We're also grateful that we'll have separate hotel rooms next year, but that's another very long story...)



Emma & Nicola's Top 5 Reads for the Heartbroken

Today's guests: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus Why we love them: Hello, Nanny Diaries anyone?

Their latest: Over You

The scoop on it: When seventeen-year-old Max Scott got her heart broken she didn't just sit at home sobbing into her ice cream and obsessing over her ex, Hugo's, latest Facebook postings. Well, actually she did. But she also decided that no girl should have to be tortured like that, so she read through all the psych books, Oprah transcripts, and historical precedents she could get her hands on and came up with a foolproof program to get over being dumped.

These days, Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when Hugo shows up in her neighborhood, suddenly Max is so busy trying to avoid her own ex that she isn't able to help anyone else with theirs. As Hugo invades her life all over again, Max's carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients' hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over her ex once and for all.

Our thoughts: Loved. Who hasn't had her heart stepped on, crushed and then thrown away? I think we all wish we could've hired someone to help us get over him. (Liz definitely could've used some assistance--more than once-- when Lisa was bawling over some jerk while clad in her fattest of fat pants!)

Giveaway:FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3PM PST on Tuesday, October 2nd.

Fun fact: Ever wondered where they write their books? Check out their workspace.

Where you can read more about Emma & Nicola: Facebook, Twitter and their website.


We’re so happy to be back—did you guys have a great summer?  Did you miss us?  No, you’re not having déjà vu.  Yes, we did just have a novel, Between You And Me, out in June, but we have another book out!  Over You is the story of Max Scott, a seventeen year-old breakup coach who can get any girl over any guy in four weeks or less.  And she’ll keep you from texting a picture of your boobs to your ex while she’s at it.  She is our fantasy ideal of who would be standing over you at the moment of impact, handing you chocolate and a stiff something, disabling your Twitter, and directing all your phone calls to his number into her inbox.

And, what’s even cooler is that Estee Lauder has made an Over You Look, available exclusively at Nordstrom nation-wide.  We will be visiting a different store every weekend.  Check out our website (www.emmaandnicola.com) to see when we’ll be in your area and come say hi and tell us your worst break-up story.  We’ve been there and that’s why we invented Max!

XO, Nicola & Emma

Okay, here are our Top Five Books to Read When You’ve Been Dumped:

1.    Heartburn by Nora Ephron is a classic for so many reasons.  Not only is it charming, funny and peppered with mouth-watering recipes, this novel—which we consider the original Chic Lit—was made into an amazing film starring a young Meryl Streep, with a killer soundtrack by Carly Simon.  It delivers one of the most accurate portrayals of how the female brain works through the misery of a slow-kill rejection as the protagonist realizes that she can take control back by letting go and moving on.  Entertaining and comforting!

2.    It Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies is her endearingly honest book about the four months in her life between having what she thought was the perfect marriage and being legally separated.  She beautifully narrates the shocking experience with such humor you feel like you’re sitting across from a friend you love, hearing her catch you up on the break-up to end all break-ups.  Even though you know where the story is going it’s a total page-turner.

3.    Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.  This isn’t a novel.  But it can transform your relationship with suffering.  Tara lived in a Buddhist monastery for years until she had an epiphany and left.  She became a PhD in psychology and then she merged her Buddhist scholarship with her knowledge of how the brain works and holds trauma.  The combination is a unique—and radical—worldview.

4.    A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford is an awesomely juicy read.  An oldy but goody about a woman who works as a maid for a grand aristocratic family.  She has an affair with the son, gets pregnant and he disavows her and the child.  She is left destitute in post-war London.  But he grossly underestimates her and by the end of her life she owns his ass.  If you love Downton Abbey (and who doesn’t?) you will LOVE this.

5.    No list like this would be complete without Eat Pray Love.  If you are that one person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet treat yourself.

Thanks, Emma & Nicola! xoxo,