We sat down with author Lauren Weisberger to chat about her latest book, what her writing process is like, and how The Devil Wears Prada changed her life.
Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 bestselling novel, The Devil Wears Prada, took readers clacking down the hallowed halls of Vogue, and cemented its place in pop culture when the Chanel-filled screen adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep hit theaters in 2006. With a stack of other bestsellers under her belt, Weisberger’s latest read, The Singles Game, centers on the glamorous world of women’s professional tennis.
Here, the Allentown native talks attending Wimbledon, wandering around Rittenhouse, and how The Devil Wears Prada changed everything.
What inspired you to write a book about tennis? LAUREN WEISBERGER: The Singles Game is a bit of a departure from my other books. I’m a lifelong fan and player; I really love the sport, especially now after doing the research. I’m just in awe of the professional women players. It’s kind of remarkable because there is a fashion and celebrity aspect to them. We know them by first name: Venus, Serena, Maria. I think it’s really cool that we know them by first name because of their talent and hard work, and not just for being another pretty face on the red carpet.
What sort of research did you do? LW: I went to a lot of tournaments: Key Biscayne, Charleston, Wimbledon, and the US Open. I had access to all of the behind-the-scenes places. I did a lot of watching, talking, and interviewing people playing a variety of roles—it certainly didn’t feel like work.
Tell me about your writing process. Any routines or places you retreat to for work? LW: The routine has been a lot trickier now that I have kids. [Laughs] I typically drop them off at pre-school and work from home until they return. Then I head to the library for the rest of the day to write. I used to love staying up late, writing until 2 a.m., and then sleeping late the next day.
The Singles Game is definitely one of this summer’s big beach reads. What are the elements that make for a great beach read? LW: My definition of any book—but especially a beach read—is that it's fast-paced and compulsively page-turning. You've got relatable characters that you can root for and care about, and some fun moments, whether it’s exotic travel or a sex scene. That would be my personal recipe.
You were born in Scranton and will return here for an author appearance on July 14 at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill. Any fond memories of growing up in the Philly area? LW: I was born in Scranton but went to high school in Allentown. I spent a fair amount of time in Philly when I was working at Vogue because my boyfriend was in law school here. We spent a lot of time in Rittenhouse and always went to The Continental.
And, of course, I have to ask you about The Devil Wears Prada. As a writer, what does it mean to have your story endure not just as a book, but as a film that has crossed over into the stuff of pop culture legend? LW: There probably aren’t a ton of authors who are as thrilled as I am with their book adaptation to a movie. I got so lucky. It really could have gone in another direction so easily—it could have been one of these fluffy, sweet rom-coms that all look exactly the same. The whole movie team did such a bang-up job; The Devil Wears Prada movie is part of the pop culture lexicon now. That is just about the coolest thing! The success of the book really opened up a whole opportunity for me to become a writer. I’ll be forever grateful to that book for that reason.