We love when we discover a new author who excites us, and right now, Allie Kingsley and her delicious debut, The Liar, The Bitch and The Wardrobe, is on our radar. Kingsley sits down with SheKnows to dish about the story behind the title, to just how much of the book — an insider’s look at the dark side of Hollywood — is based on her own real-life experiences.
SheKnows: You’re active on Twitter (@AllieKingsley). Tweet us about your novel (in 140 characters or fewer, of course).
Allie Kingsley: LBW is a fashion-based comedy & the first book ever to have the characters wardrobes professionally styled. Vogue meets Voltaire(ish)!
SheKnows: As a debut author, what’s been the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about the publishing world?
Allie Kingsley: Honestly — I was so surprised by how nice everyone is! Or maybe I got super lucky by falling into a great pool of people. Regardless, I imagined the offices at Penguin to be ultramodern in an intimidating way, with buttoned-up stuffy types stomping in and out of scary doors. When going in for my first meeting there, I was so nervous that I’d have to deal with sharky-types and expected to feel overwhelmed but luckily, I was way off!
The offices are actually warm and inviting and so is everyone that I have gotten to work with there. Whenever I stop by, there is a lot of hugging happening, and it feels like I’m getting together with my extended family as opposed to having a sit-down with a publishing giant. A pleasant surprise!
SheKnows: The Liar, The Bitch and The Wardrobe is the first book ever where the characters have been professionally styled. What’s the story behind this?
Allie Kingsley: In so many ways, Sex & the City has always been my biggest inspiration, and one of the things that I marveled over most was how the City was a character in its own. The main characters were constantly having a love/hate relationship with Manhattan and the city itself provided just as much drama and romance as any of its co-stars. I aimed to have that same aspect in my book but rather with the Wardrobe. I wanted the reader to get just as swept away in the materialism as the main character Lucy does.
I figured in order to evoke that, the reader needed to not only understand but be able to visualize and experience it with her. If you tell a fashionista, “she was wearing blue platform pumps,” they’ll get it — but if you explain, “she was wearing cobalt-blue velvet Brian Atwood platform pumps,” they’ll start salivating.
That said I knew the wardrobe not only had to be spectacular, but each piece needed to be selected with the intention of adding to the drama and romance just as the City did in S&TC.
As much as I love fashion — I recognize that it’s not my specialty and there are others who are far more qualified to discuss and direct it, which is why I decided to hire professional stylist Robert Verdi. The producer of a movie wouldn’t style the characters — why would I?
SheKnows: How did you come up with your book’s fabulous title?
Allie Kingsley: I loved the idea of twisting the words from a classic title, so I printed out a list of the top 100 classic novels that I found online and brought it to my friends. We were sitting around goofing off and being silly with the list — when someone said, ‘Oh I always loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and one of my friends called out, “The Lion and the Bitch!” followed by another friend yelling, “No! The Liar and the Bitch!” and we all together screamed, “The Liar, the Bitch and the Wardrobe!” At that moment, in that second, I knew that was going to be my title and one of my favorite memories, too.
SheKnows: Your novel is inspired by your real life. They say write what you know, but how do you decide where to draw the fine line between fact and fiction?
Allie Kingsley: I have a girlfriend that refuses to gossip and as frustrating as it can be — because sometimes you just want to dish! — at the same time it is what I admire about her most. She always says, “Don’t tell other people’s stories.” I try my best to apply that rule socially and also kept it in mind when writing my book.
SheKnows: What are you reading right now?
Allie Kingsley: Delia Ephron’s The Lion Is In — loving it so far!
SheKnows: Are you working on your next book? If so, any hints?
Allie Kingsley: I am working on the next book! I can tell you that the follow-up follows one of the secondary characters from the LBW on their journey, from their perspective and that it, too, is influenced by my current real-life experiences!