1. Your YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life, has a main character named Lauren, who goes by Ren. Your latest, Pursuing the Times, has an author named Mercury Lauren. Is there a reason you reference your own name in novels?
Because I can? Seriously, with 26 books published and more soon to come, I think I’m running out of names! OK, that’s not serious either. Trying one last time: For the YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life, I thought Ren D’Arc was a cool name for a character – I think she’s only rarely, if ever, referred to fully by other characters as Lauren in the book. As for Pursuing the Times, given a lot of things about her, Mercury Lauren is probably as close to an alter ego as I have in my fiction, but she’s been more successful than I am, I’m pretty sure she’s crazier than I am, and Lauren is only her last name. I do have a book for young readers coming out in which Lauren Baratz-Logsted is Mayor of Danbury, but that’s another story.
2. As Mercury Lauren and yourself are both authors, did you also yearn for a book review from the New York Times (or do you still)?
I don’t know an author, no matter how successful, who wouldn’t like critical validation by The Paper Of Record. Exhibit A: Jennifer Weiner. Exhibit B: Jodi Picoult. But I’m not willing to go to the lengths Mercury Lauren does to get it. I mean, golf – really? That said, here’s a curious thing: many times, The New York Times has selected letters I’ve written to the editor for publication. So, obviously, someone there thinks I can write, if only a few sentences at a time.
3. The book summary says it is a nod toward Pride and Prejudice. Is there any particular ways it does so (that you can tell us now)?
Given that the novel opens, “It is a publishing truth, universally acknowledged, that anyone professionally involved in the pursuit of ‘Lit-e-ra-ture,’ must, by definition, despise Chick-Lit,” it might be easier to list the ways it’s not a nod. Here’s just one difference: I’m fairly certain that Jane Austen never wrote a scene in which a grown man and woman have to resort to calling Room Service for condoms because they’ve arrived at a naked moment in time woefully unprepared and are “too stupid to live.”