The Nanny Diaries authors are on fire! They have a new novel out called The First Affair (think: president, intern, scandal), are adapting another of their books into a musical and each have a toddler (need we say more?). So how do Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus do it all? (And maybe more importantly, how did they tackle writing the steamy scenes in their latest novel?)
SheKnows: How did you think of the idea for The First Affair?
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus: Having an affair with the President of the United States is something we’ve been wanting to write about for as long as we’ve been friends. But we weren’t sure of the way into the story until we saw Mimi Alford, JFK’s teenage mistress, interviewed on 20/20. It really freed our imaginations and our heroine, Jamie McAlister, was born. She’s Class of 2012, from a working-class Irish family in Chicago, who gets this extraordinary opportunity to intern at the White House, but one man’s sexual obsession upends her whole life.
Snap up your copy of The First Affair here >>
SK: There are some steamy scenes in the book. How did you tackle writing these?
EM & NK: We’ve learned writing sex scenes is as hard as writing fight scenes! It’s so logistical — beyond being erotic, the logic has to hold up. The reader has to be able to put themselves fully inside those scenes — that’s the fun! If you have the character do something that makes no sense it scratches the record and kills it. So kissing can’t jump from the neck to the toes. You have to fill it all in!
These girls are hilarious. Follow their tweets if you want to laugh a lot >>
SK: Do you feel since you became moms you’ve gotten into a groove with balancing motherhood and writing?
EM & NK: Ha! Show us a mother who thinks she’s ‘gotten into the groove’ and we’ll show you someone helping her kid fill out college applications. Certainly now that they’re 3 we know how to structure our days better, but 5 p.m. comes faster than we expect every day. The blessing of having been nannies to kids who now have jobs is that we really know how fast it goes so we try not to sweat if some weeks the laundry is a little behind, the chapter is a little late, our roots are showing. Someday very soon we’ll look at our husbands and ask, “Hey, do you think our kid might want to have dinner with us this weekend?”
Emma and Nicola talk about their novel, Between You and Me >>
SK: What have you and your families done this summer for fun?
EM & NK: Toddlers are in heaven with a pail and a shovel. We both love taking our kids to the beach at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. They play — we chase them with sunscreen.
SK: What books are you reading now?
EM & NK: We are a book club of two. We both just finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, which we were head-over-heels in love with. It’s set in New York in the 1930s and it’s sumptuous and feminist and funny. Now we’re both reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, which has blown our tiny minds.
SK: What’s up next for you?
EM & NK: We’re already finishing our Aug. 14 novel, which we’re so excited about. Watch this space! And we’re adapting our third bestseller, Dedication, into a musical for the Araca Group, the team behind Wicked. We are huge musical theater nerds so this is the dream of a lifetime.