“The Devil Wears Prada” author Lauren Weisberger wasn’t just a one-trick Wintour pony, and with four novels under an ever-chic belt, she’s just getting started. In town to kick off Bethesda Row Boutique Week — the fall-fashion fete ripe for trend stalking, trunk show gawking and of course, Georgetown Cupcake gorging — Weisberger signed copies of her latest novel, “Last Night at Chateau Marmont,” at Ginger Boutique on Monday. She chatted with Express about tabloids, superstardom and the crop of celebutantes penning semi-autobiographical takes on the next great American novel.
Your new novel is about a married couple. Are your characters growing up with your audience?
You certainly do write what you know. Most of my friends at this point have gotten married and you do take inspiration from who you know and who you hang out with.
The novel addresses this giant leap from ordinary life to fame that can happen overnight in the celebrity world. How do couples make that work?
That’s kind of the negotiation of the whole book. The fame part is probably exclusive to them. While not a ton of us experience international superstardom, I think that working really hard for something and wanting something so bad, that when you finally get it, it’s not at all what you’ve expected – I think that’s a common experience.
In some ways, this happened to you. Your trajectory is rare in the literary world. How did you cope with fame after “The Devil Wears Prada?”
People knowing about a book you wrote is not like tons of paparazzi or a total loss of privacy. But it was so exciting what happened. It was definitely a surprise, overwhelming at times.
Your novel looks at the real-time tabloid journalism that didn’t exist five years ago. What’s your view on the changing nature of that medium?
I’m still old school. I still wait everyday in the lobby for my copy of US Weekly. It’s a double-edged sword. So much of it seems so ridiculous, but then I’m also the one who’s spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone with my sister discussing Brangelina’s life.
What do you think of all the celebutantes and actresses writing novels? It seems like it’s becoming a fad.
I was just thinking about this yesterday. I wonder, do they write them?
Most don’t say whether there’s a ghostwriter involved. I thought maybe you’d know.
I don’t know anything. And I haven’t read them, not because I’m making any statement, I just haven’t had a chance. But I’d be curious. Because some of them do really well.
I’ve heard you’re a procrastinator, which is encouraging to would-be writers. How do you discipline yourself to sit down and write your novels?
I don’t. I need a deadline. That’s really it. There’s no trick, other than strict fear. Fear of not getting it in on time. That’s it.
Is it frustrating to see your books on film?
No! It’s wonderful! I take so much ownership over the books and I worry about every word and I think about them for years on end, so that when it comes time, if someone adapts it and puts it on the big screen, it’s so easy for me to say “Let the professionals do their job!” And it’s easy to take the attitude of “if it’s a great movie, all the better. If it’s not, it’s not my fault.”
There’s a lot of chick-lit out there, but with so many bestsellers, yours always stand out among the group. Why do you think that is?
I hope it’s because people can pick it up and get a laugh. But I also hope they can relate to what I’m writing. I hope they can say “These characters talk the way my friends and I do.”