Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Q&A with Lauren Edmondson


Photo by Cassidy MR.Photography



Lauren Edmondson is the author of the new novel Wedding of the Season. She also has written the novel Ladies of the House. She lives in Northern Virginia.


Q: What inspired you to write Wedding of the Season, and how did you create your character Cass Coventry?


A: I thought writing about a wedding would be a useful way to illuminate how people like the Coventrys are extraordinary, their famous name an instant draw to online gossip and mainstream press.


On the other hand, planning a wedding can be an acute stress point for even the most functional of families, so the event was useful in bringing out just how hilariously regular the Coventrys are, concerned both with things existential—careers, love, life’s purpose—and mundane—Instagram followers, outfit choices, knick-knacks.


I thought it would be so much more fun, and complex, to have our main character Cass caught between this past and present, still saddled with the name and the thorny, problematic family legacy, but no longer welcomed into the corridors of power—economic or social.


It’s no mistake that Cass is a middle child, scrunched between her more famous siblings, initially unable to see a place for herself in the family or in Newport.


I also loved how she is a photographer, more comfortable behind the lens than in front of it, and it was really enjoyable to explore how she reacts when she is thrust back into the spotlight.


Q: The writer Meg Mitchell Moore called the book “Elin Hilderbrand meets Edith Wharton.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am so flattered by it! My goal is to write books that are fun and engaging, as well as rooted in the thorny realities of navigating family expectations, money problems, and romantic relationships. I am honored that Meg compared me to both these stunning authors.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I generally knew how the novel would end, but--as my editor can attest--we made tons of changes along the way in order to make the plot lively and interesting to readers.


Q: The novel is set in Newport, Rhode Island--how important is setting to you in your writing?


A: Before I knew the characters, I knew I wanted to set the story in Newport. This “city by the sea” is more than just the place where the story takes place; it is the reason for the story.


I loosely based the fictional Coventrys on the Vanderbilts, who, like many Gilded Age families of the time, took to Newport to build their spectacular summer “cottages,” only to lose their grip on the grand, unsustainable mansions as federal income tax was codified in the Constitution, cheap labor became not so cheap, and spheres of society moved out of Newport.


How families like the Vanderbilts saved, or lost, their historic homes was of great interest to me, and kickstarted the novel. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Another fun and dishy read - this time set in elegant East Hampton, New York.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Find me on Instagram at @MrsLaurenEdmondson. I'm also happy to Zoom with book clubs, and love connecting with readers.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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