What's in a Page: How Could She author Lauren Mechling on avoiding the 'hot mess' cliché
Fifteen years after the finale of Sex and the City, our collective appetite for stories of highly ambitious female friends living, laughing, and loving in New York City hasn’t waned one bit. (Nor has our appetite for comparing every tale of thirty-something women in the Big Apple to SATC, apparently). This summer’s living proof of that concept is the bitingly funny and often painfully realistic How Could She.
It centers on an artist and two writers in varying stages of professional and personal success but who are all hit hard with the many trials and tribulations that come with working in today’s media landscape and living in today’s urban landscape. But, lest that sound overly bleak, there’s plenty of great fashion and real estate to round out the tale.
Ahead, author Lauren Mechling fills EW in on her well-honed storytelling technique and the snack she can’t write without.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?
LAUREN MECHLING: A letter that I wrote to my next-door neighbor, Mr. Murphy. I really wanted to visit the pet turtle he kept in his garden. I tossed it over the fence and he replied the next day, with a warm invitation to come meet Winston.
What is the last book that made you cry?
Washington Square by Henry James. The ending just about killed me.
What is your favorite part of How Could She?
Near the ending, when one of the main characters engineers her own self-destruction in order to begin again. It was very satisfying to write.
Which book is at the top of your current To-Read list?
I’m looking forward to reading two books that came out in the last couple of years and I didn’t get a chance to read when all my friends read them: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Severance by Ling Ma.
Where do you write?
At my kitchen table before my family wakes up, and then at a groovy co-working space. It’s so groovy that it played the part of the co-working space on an episode of Broad City.
Which book made you a forever reader?
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit, and the entire Norma Klein catalogue.
What is a snack you couldn’t write without?
What was the hardest part to write in How Could She?
The character Rachel started off as a hot mess of bitterness and insecurity. As I worked on the book, I started to understand her more and I took it easier on her in the revisions.
If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be?
The cover of one of my YA novels always reminded me of a raggedy Band-Aid. It was not a best-seller.
If How Could She had a movie poster tagline, it would be:
Friendship is the best. Except when it’s the worst.