To start, can you give us an insight to your new novel, "You Knew Me When"?
Absolutely. The story is about two best friends who were as close as sisters. Kitty Hill and Laney Marten grew up in Manchester, Vermont, as neighbors to a very wealthy woman, Luella Hancock. She became like a parent figure to Kitty, who lost her mother in a tragic accident. Right after they graduated from college, they had a huge falling out. Kitty left Vermont, moved to New York, and sort of ends up pursuing Laney’s dreams. Twelve years later, the book starts. You find out that Luella has left them her Victorian mansion. So Kitty, who then goes by Katherine, has to return home. She has to face Laney, who is still very mad, a love interest who she ran out on, and a family who she barely kept contact with for the last decade-plus. So the reader sees how they sort of try to mend these bonds that have been broken. The book goes back and forth between the past and the present. So it’s kind of nice to see how Laney and Katherine form their friendship in the first place, while you see them mend what has been broken.
I think this is a story that engages many readers because it's very relatable. Is that something you hoped for while writing?
I think everyone has had a friend with a huge falling out, the way that Laney and Kitty did, or a love interest and you think oh I wish I could go back.
Focusing on the product collaborations, you’ve partnered with Zoya (nail polishes), Meskita (dresses), and Dodo (jewelry) along with the novel launch. What sparked your marketing idea?
I just sort of know from experience. This is my first novel, but it’s my second book. My first book was "Facebook Fairytales", which is a narrative non-fiction. I learned from that because it was such an easy book to get publicity for. It came out in 2010, when Facebook was exploding. And I knew, being a debut novelist, that you can’t just write a book and expect the world to learn and write about it. Magazines are not just going to write up my book, if it’s just my book, but they will if there’s a nail polish collaboration connected to it!
Photo Credit: Zoya.com
You Knew Me When Zoya Nail Polish Trio, $24; zoya.com
Can you describe how the main characters’ personalities relate to the Zoya nail polish?
The two main characters, Laney and Katherine are both connected to the cosmetics industry so I originally thought it would be a fun way to gain publicity. So I went to approach companies to see if they would do a nail polish or a lipstick based off the novel. When I ended up picking Zoya, they had suggested doing a limited edition trio collection, [with each color] named after the three main characters. I also love that the polishes are made of non-toxic ingredients.
What colors will be available for the Zoya collection?We knew that it would be coming out in the fall, and wanted really beautiful gem tone colors. We picked a classic red for Katherine. Actually in the book, there is a mention that she loves her Zoya nail polish. Red is a theme in her life. Her mother, who passed away, always wore bright red nails. They also had a red door in the new house she moved into. We picked purple color for Luella because she was very regal. The pretty jewel tone really embodies her. And we picked an emerald green for Laney because she was green with envy. That worked out perfect for her.
Meskita Dresses, $200-$300; meskita.com
How did you start the collaboration with Meskita?
The designer, Alessandra Meskita, and I were connected through mutual friends. We just clicked immediately. I saw her designs, which were stunning, and told her about the Zoya collaboration. Then she had the idea to design dresses based off the novel. Since that time, Alessandra has become a really good friend of mine and had dressed me for almost every event. We will continue to work together. She designed the “Emily” dress, and the “Brooke” dress, after my middle name, then three more dresses named after the main characters. The “Katherine” dress is a very glamorous long, red, strapless dress. The “Laney” is a flirty sundress with a peep-hole in the back with a tie around the waist. And since Luella is an older character, the dress named after her is more conservative. But it’s short because it’s a modern version of her. The “Luella” dress was actually spotted on Ashley Greene while she was filming for her new movie.
Kate Hudson and Ashley Greene, in a Meskita dress.
The jewelry company graciously let me pick three of their charms, which all have these cheeky expressions that go with them, and I picked ones that best matched the characters’ personalities. The charms were also named after the ladies.
Dodo necklaces; $205; dodo.it
Yes, they’re amazing. All the charms are animals. I ended up picking the butterfly for Katherine, whose message is "I love my freedom”, the starfish for Laney, meaning, “Handle with care” and the angelfish for Luella, which means, “You work miracles.”
What are some of your future plans?
I just wrote my second novel, "The Love That Lies Ahead", which is now in the editing process. It will come out in September 2014. I received a two-book deal when I finished writing “You Knew Me When”. I'll be starting to write my fourth book, third novel. My publisher, Penguin Random House, just told me they want a book from me every 9 months to a year!
Liebert balances time between writing, hanging out with her husband and two boys at home in the suburbs of New York City, and still manages to practice a killer Running Man (yes, the dance moves!).
Want to learn more? Visit emilyliebert.com and be sure to order your copy of "You Knew Me When".
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Emily Liebert