Where’d you get the idea for this book?
To say it was
a combination of shared experience and pure imagination is probably
the closest thing to the truth, but not a very specific answer.
We’ve both known young women like Rachel—smart, fun,
as frequently cool as frazzled, and a bit uncertain about her “ultimate”
career path—and we not only empathize, we, too, have found
ourselves in similar situations. As we repeatedly tried to kick-start
various careers and repeatedly got kicked in the head by various
boyfriends, at a certain point (in fact it was at a Christmas party
in 2002) we said, “let’s get it on paper,” and
that started the process.
How do you write a book together?
Trust us when we tell you we did it with a lot of typos. First,
we brainstormed the general idea for the story, created a group
of characters, and then wrote a really detailed outline together.
Really detailed. The outline was without question the most time-consuming
part of the process, taking place after-hours and weekend afternoons
at various coffee shops all over Manhattan, since we both work full-time
jobs. We then divided up the outline’s dozens of chapters,
wrote the chapters individually, and then exchanged them. Each of
us edited the other’s chapter—wildly revising, cutting,
pasting and praising—and then sent it back for discussion
and approval. Dozens of chapters later, the novel got done and published,
and amazingly we’re still talking to each other.
Are you guys just like the Nanny Diaries girls?
How long did it take you?
From the time we conceived the idea to the time we finished our
first draft it was almost exactly one year. The re-writing, however—which
felt like it passed in dog years—took about another seven
How’d you two meet?
It was Freshman year of college at Princeton University, at a “bagel
nosh” mixer for first year students. Robin recalls harboring
an instant distrust for the young Miss Kaplan. “What type
of person goes to a stupid event like this?” she thought to
herself as she stewed in the corner chewing on her salt bagel. Renée
recalls harboring an instant distrust for the young Miss Epstein:
“What type of person goes to a stupid event like this?”
she thought as she stewed in the other corner chewing on her sesame
bagel. In truth we really became tight our senior year and have
remained the closest of friends ever since, thanks—in part—to
our radically different taste in men.
How’d you find your editor?
She was delivered unto us like a gift from the gods. (One of us
was very good in a past life, but we’re not telling which
one.) But she is wonderful, and we are thankful.
Have you ever started a business yourselves?
Once upon a time ago, there was a period of rather unsettling transition
in our lives. Robin was evolving from a Hollywood television writer
of network sitcoms into a New York freelancer at the same time as
Renee was evolving from a lapsed lawyer and legal writer into a
television producer. We discovered that times of transition breed
delusional speculation about ways to make a fun buck real quick.
And this briefly led us down a path of budding entrepreneurialism
to starting up our own consulting service. We fondly remember the
time when we dressed very properly, talked very soberly, and successfully
snookered one sweet believer into actually investing in our services.
We will remain forever grateful to him and hope that, despite us,
How did you find the time to write along with your full-time
It took a lot of job juggling, huge amounts of e-mailing, and a
lot of optimizing all of our down time. We learned to write in planes,
airports, cafes, hotel rooms, and dark, volume-challenged New York
apartments. Renée recalls writing chapters in a nasty hotel
room in Pueblo, Colorado, while investigating a story, in the Admiral’s
lounge at Charles de Gaulle on a shoot for another story, and in
the pre-dawn quiet of her New York apartment. Robin recalls being
so exhausted one summer night she accidentally started typing a
sex scene meant for Shaking Her Assets into one of her children’s
books. Fortunately the mistake was caught before any children were
harmed and Robin was given the Pee Wee Herman Suite in the federal
Are you going to quit your jobs and write full-time if this
hits it big?
When this hits it big, we’re gonna giggle giddily, crack the
champagne and celebrate. We’ll write a long Oscar-worthy acceptance
speech—because why not?—deliver it to each other between
gulps of hooch, maybe high-five some more, and then get back to
work. We’ll do this until our agent is done negotiating the
film and foreign rights and the high eight-figure second book deal.
And then we’re gonna quit our jobs.
This would make a great screenplay—you should totally
sell it to Hollywood!
Wow, are you in the industry or something? Because that’s
a genius idea!
*And if you are in the industry, please note: operators are standing