Ladies, HEAD TO THE BOOKSTORE NOW (or order on Amazon) to get your copy of Love and Miss Communication. The debut novel from my smart, beautiful, successful, and witty friend, Elyssa Friedland. This book came out yesterday (!!!) and has already been named a “must read” by InStyle Magazine and Popsugar. I couldn’t agree more — I had the privilege of reading it before it came out, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. The novel provided a great look into modern living in New York City through the eyes of Evie Rosen, the main character who swore off the internet (hard to imagine!). I loved every part of Elyssa’s book — the flow, the story, the concept, the humor, EVERYTHING! I could not put it down. And I was fortunate enough to sit down with Elyssa to discuss her amazing book.
How in the world do you write a book? You are a mom to three kids, a wonderful wife, super social, the PA of Preschool, always perfectly coiffed, immaculately dressed and stunning — AND JUST WROTE A BOOK??? And a great book. How did you fit everything into your schedule?
I started almost five years ago! That’s how. After Lila was born I thought about trying to write a book instead of going back to my law firm job which I wasn’t really enjoying all that much. What I started with was absolutely terrible and it took the help of a freelance editor to get it into decent shape. After I finished, I then had to get an agent which took some time. Then we worked on it together and finally it sold to Harper Collins a year ago. It’s been a long journey. And I’m certainly not perfectly coiffed! I’m just lucky “beach waves” are in style and workout clothes are so cute these days. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in New York. We could be out every single night at dinners or at other obligations and all I really want to do is watch TV. I seriously love television, which I guess is a weird thing for a novelist to say.
Did you know the whole story — beginning to end — when you started writing the book or did the story line change as you were in the process?
The basic plot didn’t change much. Or at least I don’t think it did. I honestly can’t remember anymore. Some of the subplots definitely evolved.
You have an incredibly adorable and supportive husband. How was he supportive during the process?
That’s really kind of you to say. He was awesome the entire time. He said he could tell how happy writing made me and he agreed it was the type of career I could balance with having a family. He also read the manuscript three times, not easy for a guy who prefers biographies of presidents and oil tycoons.
It is funny that in your “note from the author” ( I LOVED YOUR HONESTY AND REALNESS IN THIS SECTION — you are amazing, yet again) you mentioned that you first noticed the difference of social media at your college reunion. I finished your book at Ken’s 10th year Business School reunion last week — and it was completely true — it was such a different experience because some strangers felt more bonded strictly by the fact we were friends on facebook. People knew our whereabouts that wouldn’t have otherwise. During that weekend, I was thankful for facebook. But other times, I despise it. I agree with everything you said in that section. What social media platform do you like the best? and why?
I like Instagram the best. It’s obviously mostly about the pictures which is fun but I also appreciate that it’s just organized by time. Facebook has such a complicated algorithm for what shows up in my feed that I feel like I’m being manipulated.
Now that your book is out and a slew of incredibly glowing and positive reviews are pouring in, I am sure that social media is a critical way to showcase your book. I am sure that you have found it helpful — but in any surprising way? Anything different than you expected?
I feel a bit disingenuous to be honest. Here I wrote a book about a woman giving up the Internet and now I have to promote myself on it. So far it’s just been a way for me to broadcast news to my friends, I haven’t really reached many new fans yet. I assume that will change once the book is actually published.
You mentioned that you take long stretches off the internet — how are you able to accomplish it? Kind of sounds like going on a diet — the temptation would kill me and I would indulge more. How have you been able to do it and has it been helpful?
I actually never really went off the Internet – what I did do was stop checking social media. And actually it just gets easier. When I was tempted to flip to FB or Instagram or Twitter, I would instead play a game on my phone. I know that sounds equally wasteful but it was better because it was just about me and not about seeing what other people were up to, which I think can be destructive at times.
I loved Evie and her relationships throughout the book — with her grandmother, mother, boys, and various friends. It all appeared real and relatable — the kinks, the insecurities, and the bonds. Are the characters based off or real people and friendships you have?
Hm. Great question. Stasia is sort of a composite of some of the girls I met at Yale. I just hadn’t seen that many tall, blonde, gorgeous and athletic women before in my life! Caroline is interesting because I think she represents the type of women I know on the Upper East Side – they can be judged for their affluent lifestyles but they are wonderfully substantial and intelligent people and that can get overlooked if they are carrying a Birkin bag.
Do you see yourself in Evie? Are there any similarities — if so, what? Or is she completely fictional, and how did you create her?
Yes, I see a ton of myself in her. I think I make a lot of the same witty comments (if I may say so myself!) and I’m also a big overachiever who doesn’t always make the best choices for myself. I’m also very close to my family, especially my mom, but of course they can drive me nuts too sometimes.
I had no idea you were so funny, but there were a handful of times when I would laugh out loud reading the book. When you were writing, did you find yourself laughing at the jokes you made? (STUPID QUESTION BUT I AM SERIOUS)
I never laughed out loud but I could tell which parts were going to make people crack up. I wish I could have laughed while writing but I was too stressed out trying to choose the best words.
What has been the most surprising / rewarding part of the process?
How nice writers are!!! It is such a warm community to join. Because getting a book published is so hard, I think anyone who has done just wants to help others. I know I’m already excited to pay it forward.
Are you currently writing your next book? What is next for you?
I am theoretically writing my next book. I have two chapters done so far. But there is so little time with promoting Love and Miss Communication. I’m also getting a lot of freelance requests now and I’ve been doing a bunch of those to build my fan base and because writing a 1,000 word essay is a lot easier than a book.
Book recommendations (other than Love and Miss Communication) for the summer? I would love to know what you recommend!
Right now I’m reading Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois. It’s awesome. It’s loosely based on the Amanda Knox story and at first I was hesitant to start it, but she’s a fabulous writer and I’m totally sucked into the murder mystery. I also thought The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer was one of the finest character studies and best pieces of writing I’ve ever come across. My next book will likely be The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I loved Big Little Lies and I’ve heard The Husband’s Secret is just as good if not better.
Totally random question: You are one of the most stylish people I know. What are your favorite places to shop? Brands?
Why thank you! I need to get interviewed by you more often. I love Net a Porter. I think 80% of my wardrobe comes from there, which ties back to your question about time management and balancing work/family. I wear Derek Lam pants a lot and Frame jeans. I find the coolest designers on Net a Porter like Roksanda Ilincic and Richard Nicoll. I’m very into statement pieces and bright colors. For a long time I didn’t own anything black, white or gray until someone I love did a bit of an intervention on me and told me to get some staples.