Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Release and Q&A with Lauren Fox and her newest novel Friends Like Us

Q&A Lauren Fox
Friends Like Us

Lauren congratulations on Friends Like Us, tell us a little about it.

Thank you!  Friends Like Us is about (you guessed it) friendship.  It’s the story of twenty-six-year-old Willa Jacobs, who lives with her best friend Jane in an apartment in Milwaukee.  They’re riding the wave of impending adulthood happily together, working jobs for which they’re overqualified, hanging out, going out with guys but always coming back together to tell each other the stories of their dates.  It’s clear that they are the most important people in the world to each other, the way friends are at particular points in our lives.  At the beginning of the novel, Willa’s high school best friend, Ben, re-enters the picture after several years’ absence.  He and Willa reconnect, to her delight, and she brings him home to meet Jane.  Pretty quickly, and with Willa’s blessing, Ben and Jane begin a romantic relationship.  Willa, Ben and Jane are a perfect, happy trio of close friends… for a while, until things get more serious between Ben and Jane, and Willa has to figure out how much she’s willing to sacrifice for her friends’ happiness.  To me, Friends Like Us is also very much about adulthood and that intense time in your life when some people are striding confidently toward the future, and others are stuck, stagnating in jobs they don’t like and relationships they can’t sustain.  Willa is forced to figure out who she is when everything in her life comes together in a moment of crisis.

I love your bio and invite everyone to read it here, it’s very poignant in it’s vulnerability and yet is funny too. Friends Like Us in your second novel, let’s go back to before Still Life With Husband.
Tell us what it was like getting the message that you were going to be a published novelist.

My friend Elizabeth says that on the day I found out that my first novel was going to be published, I called her, “weeping like Miss America.”  (I remember calling her, but not the weeping part.  Although I’m sure it’s true.)  It was the culmination of years and years of hard work and just loads of failure.  I had tried to support myself after college by working as a freelance writer, which I did for a long time and found to be very difficult.  Finally, when I moved to Milwaukee with my husband, I just decided that I would get a part-time job and focus my energy on writing a novel.  It took the pressure off of me.  I wasn’t doing it for anyone, and I wasn’t pitching it or trying to sell it.  I didn’t really have any expectations for the novel (hopes, yes, but not expectations), so when Knopf bought the book, it was just one of those amazing, shocking, perfect moments.

Is writing a full time job for you, do you limit it to novels or do you still write for publications too.

Right now, yes, I’m writing full-time, and at the moment I’m focusing on novels.  These days, if a freelance assignment comes my way, I’m very happy to do it, but I’m not struggling through the hard part of pitching ideas right now.  I’m just starting my third novel and getting excited about falling into a the world of new characters and situations and conflicts.

What does Lauren do for fun

I love to read.  My ideal vacation would involve a cabin near a lake, a comfortable chair, and a suitcase full of novels.  (And a maid and a cook.)

Do you belong to a writers group
why or why not

I do, and I love my little group so much.  We’ve been meeting for a few years now, and we’re comfortable enough with each other that any one of us can show up with a messy few pages from a scene we haven’t quite figured out yet, or a more completed draft of something, or just a few ideas we want to toss around.  And I think I speak for all of us when I say that no matter what, we leave our meetings having received excellent feedback and critique, excited about writing the next pages.  For me, just knowing that three people expect me to give them something to read and comment on is great motivation.

Take us through an average day in the life of Lauren Fox

Well, I have two young children, so during an average day I’m on mommy duty in the mornings and afternoons/evenings, and in between, while they’re at school (or, with my younger daughter, at my parents’) I write.  I feel insanely lucky.  I get to spend a ton of time with my family, and when I’m not with them, I get to do the other thing I love.

Who is your focus audience or do you not like to be put on a specific genre shelf

I had a creative writing professor in college who said that she writes for a reader who is exactly like her, only smarter.  I think about that a lot as I’m writing.  I think it keeps me from overexplaining or dumbing things down, at the same time that it gives me free reign to be weird or funny or dark.  I guess this implies that I prefer not to be put on a specific genre shelf, mainly because when people hear something like “women’s fiction,” it excludes a whole section of readers.

Do you have any signings or events planned for Barnes & Nobel locations, I’m sure some of the members here would love to meet you in person.

I would love to meet readers, too.  Unfortunately we don’t have anything scheduled at this time.

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and good luck with the book.
Thank you so much!

Visit Lauren's website here


  1. "Friends Like Us" is a funny, engaging read with a likable, sympathetic, and entertaining narrator. The relationships are believable (though most of the characters in those relationships aren't fully developed), and the plot is realistic enough, even if it is pretty formulaic. The book starts out asking the question of whether relationships can last as people change and follow different paths, but I felt that the answer it finally gave was a bit confused. Overall a good read, but it could've been better.

    1. thanks for your thoughts Sveringe. I am still hoping to read this soon.