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AskAMogulAnything:Hi,I'mNicolaKraus,theauthorof'TheNannyDiaries'(&9othernovels).Askmeanythingyou'dlike!

Nicola Kraus
Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
almost 3 years Brooklyn, New York Conversation

Hi - I'm Nicola Kraus. I'm an author.

I'm best known for co-authoring, 'The Nanny Diaries', the New York Times bestseller that went on to become a film starring Scarlett Johansson. The book was based in part on my own experiences as a nanny on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In addition to 'The Nanny Diaries', I've written nine other novels and I'm currently working on another.

Some fun facts about me: I feel about high heels the way Alicia Keys feels about makeup. Come the revolution, I could be a dog groomer. And I think all of life's problems can be solved at Ikea.

Now's your chance to ask me anything! Please write your questions in the comments section below and I'll answer the questions live on Monday, September 19th at noon ET. 

It's all part of Mogul's new interactive Q &A sessions, Ask A Mogul Anything. 

Come on and ask me *anything* ... about getting published ... nannying on the Upper East Side ...and what it takes to succeed in the 21st Century.

24 replies

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  • Nicola Kraus
    Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
    almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

    Thank you, guys, for your GREAT questions! If you have any more about writing, entrepreneurship, or just....life....reach out to me on Facebook. Nicola Kraus. Have a great day!!!

    Thank you, guys, for your GREAT questions! If you have any more about writing, entrepreneurship, or just....life....reach out to me on Facebook. Nicola Kraus. Have a great day!!!

  • Nicola Kraus
    Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
    almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

    Hi, guys! I'm here live with you for the next hour! Ask anything! I have been in the entertainment industry for 16 years. And I run my own small business. I'm a mom, a wife, and domestic fanatic. Oh...and I only type with 2 fingers. So be patient :)

    Hi, guys! I'm here live with you for the next hour! Ask anything! I have been in the entertainment industry for 16 years. And I run my own small business. I'm a mom, a wife, and domestic fanatic. Oh...and I only type with 2 fingers. So be patient :)

  • Default
    Guest
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola, did you always know you were going to be an author? Did you ever struggle?

    Hi Nicola, did you always know you were going to be an author? Did you ever struggle?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Struggle. Yes. daily. First, I was single-mindedly focused on being an actress from ages 3-25. I even graduated college a year early to start auditioning. I always wrote, but I never considered it seriously until I was in my last year of acting. I was so done with working 18 hour days for almost no pay, creating work that I didn't think had purpose. I was teaching yoga, looking into med school, and writing a play. Emma came to a reading of it and asked if I'd like to write a book about nannying with her. Everything changed very quickly after that. Re: struggle. While I won a financial lottery at 25, writing is struggle. I LOVE the struggle. And I emphasize to all my clients, it is called a creative PROCESS. Every day I have a vague idea of what I want to create and my job is to nail it down, to use words to paint pictures and evoke emotions, and give instructions. Some days I feel so inadequate to the task. Occasionally I think, "I've got this." But thankfully not too often, bc the struggle is vital to what keeps me so excited to get into my chair every morning. Because with struggle comes curiosity. Can I do it? Can I pull it off? What will this become? It's just like going to the gym. I don't ever want t be the people mindlessly noodling on the elliptical, reading People. I want to be given a challenge, I want to be thinking, "Oh, God, can I do this?"

      Struggle. Yes. daily. First, I was single-mindedly focused on being an actress from ages 3-25. I even graduated college a year early to start auditioning. I always wrote, but I never considered it seriously until I was in my last year of acting. I was so done with working 18 hour days for almost no pay, creating work that I didn't think had purpose. I was teaching yoga, looking into med school, and writing a play. Emma came to a reading of it and asked if I'd like to write a book about nannying with her. Everything changed very quickly after that. Re: struggle. While I won a financial lottery at 25, writing is struggle. I LOVE the struggle. And I emphasize to all my clients, it is called a creative PROCESS. Every day I have a vague idea of what I want to create and my job is to nail it down, to use words to paint pictures and evoke emotions, and give instructions. Some days I feel so inadequate to the task. Occasionally I think, "I've got this." But thankfully not too often, bc the struggle is vital to what keeps me so excited to get into my chair every morning. Because with struggle comes curiosity. Can I do it? Can I pull it off? What will this become? It's just like going to the gym. I don't ever want t be the people mindlessly noodling on the elliptical, reading People. I want to be given a challenge, I want to be thinking, "Oh, God, can I do this?"

  • Maddy Bernstein
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola, what was it like for you to have The Nanny Diaries turned into a film? Were you happy how the film turned out? Were you on set a lot?

    Hi Nicola, what was it like for you to have The Nanny Diaries turned into a film? Were you happy how the film turned out? Were you on set a lot?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      It was such a surreal experience that had so many twists and turns. We sold the rights in 2001 and the movie came out in 2007. So many teams were hired and fired. At one pt we even suggested SJ and were flat-out told no. We got so lucky that such a smart team of people ended up helming it. And a ridiculously talented and nice cast. We were on set a lot, which was also just crazy--to see teams of people turning images in your mind into reality--I don't know that we'll ever be able to fully wrap our brains around it.

      It was such a surreal experience that had so many twists and turns. We sold the rights in 2001 and the movie came out in 2007. So many teams were hired and fired. At one pt we even suggested SJ and were flat-out told no. We got so lucky that such a smart team of people ended up helming it. And a ridiculously talented and nice cast. We were on set a lot, which was also just crazy--to see teams of people turning images in your mind into reality--I don't know that we'll ever be able to fully wrap our brains around it.

  • Amanda222
    almost 3 years ago

    And here's a favorite question - What does a perfect day like you look like? What's your idea of the best day ever?

    And here's a favorite question - What does a perfect day like you look like? What's your idea of the best day ever?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      That is a great question! I wake up well-rested (always a crap-shoot. Writers and insomnia are salt and pepper.) to an email from someone in LA saying they are buying something I've written. WooHoo! I'm at the beach. Any beach will do. My daughter is there, but she has friends to play with so I get to see her, but she's busy, happy, and fully occupied. I get to hang out with my husband, read for HOURS, swim, and eat french fries and have wine with lunch. For years Emma and I have worked at restaurants watched fancy women have wine with lunch and we ask, "When do we get to have wine with lunch??" On this imaginary day I do. And ice cream. And let's throw in a massage.

      That is a great question! I wake up well-rested (always a crap-shoot. Writers and insomnia are salt and pepper.) to an email from someone in LA saying they are buying something I've written. WooHoo! I'm at the beach. Any beach will do. My daughter is there, but she has friends to play with so I get to see her, but she's busy, happy, and fully occupied. I get to hang out with my husband, read for HOURS, swim, and eat french fries and have wine with lunch. For years Emma and I have worked at restaurants watched fancy women have wine with lunch and we ask, "When do we get to have wine with lunch??" On this imaginary day I do. And ice cream. And let's throw in a massage.

  • Amanda222
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola - You write about so many women and you have a daughter. What kinds of changes for women do you want to see take effect by the time your daughter is an adult?

    Hi Nicola - You write about so many women and you have a daughter. What kinds of changes for women do you want to see take effect by the time your daughter is an adult?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Can we close the pay gap, please??? Can she be safe at college??? And here is probably the weirdest thing that worries me: porn. She will grow up to always hook up with boys who have been steeped in the bottom-less cesspool that is the internet. Her generation is going to need to start an awareness campaign: just bc you saw some girl get paid to PRETEND something feels good, DOES NOT MEAN IT FEELS GOOD. In all seriousness I just helped a neuroscientist write a book and she was saying in no uncertain terms were our brains designed to process that level of stimulation. And average age of first exposure now is 8. That keeps me up nights.

      Can we close the pay gap, please??? Can she be safe at college??? And here is probably the weirdest thing that worries me: porn. She will grow up to always hook up with boys who have been steeped in the bottom-less cesspool that is the internet. Her generation is going to need to start an awareness campaign: just bc you saw some girl get paid to PRETEND something feels good, DOES NOT MEAN IT FEELS GOOD. In all seriousness I just helped a neuroscientist write a book and she was saying in no uncertain terms were our brains designed to process that level of stimulation. And average age of first exposure now is 8. That keeps me up nights.

  • aliceinwonderland101
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola - Everyone who's read The Nanny Diaries (including me) is dying to know - Was the mean mom inspired by a real person? Also - did you read Park Avenue Primates? If so, what did you think? The women portrayed in that book sounded like versions of your character.

    Hi Nicola - Everyone who's read The Nanny Diaries (including me) is dying to know - Was the mean mom inspired by a real person? Also - did you read Park Avenue Primates? If so, what did you think? The women portrayed in that book sounded like versions of your character.

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Honestly, we worked for so many a**holes, Mrs. X is a composite of people we worked for, moms we met on playdates, and also, I grew up in Grayer's world, so some things, like the house with duct tape down the middle, 100% true, but I witnessed it as a kid.

      Honestly, we worked for so many a**holes, Mrs. X is a composite of people we worked for, moms we met on playdates, and also, I grew up in Grayer's world, so some things, like the house with duct tape down the middle, 100% true, but I witnessed it as a kid.

  • miranda444
    almost 3 years ago

    Also - what's it like working solo after co-authoring so many books?

    Also - what's it like working solo after co-authoring so many books?

  • miranda444
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola - What's next? Can you please share what your next book is about?

    Hi Nicola - What's next? Can you please share what your next book is about?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      My Life After Emma has been an intense transition. Fantastically liberating, and also scary and poignant. First, without our contracts, I needed to figure out how to make money. I think it's important to talk about art and commerce, bc artists are always having to figure out the balance. I was HUGELY lucky to pay the bills telling stories for 15 years, but that was over and I needed to call up my old nanny smarts. I realized that my favorite thing in the world to do, when I'm not writing, is to teach other people how to effectively communicate. So I invested heavily in growing The Finished Thought. It has been a fabulous experience. My clients have gotten their first choice agents, their fist choice publishers, and have books coming out starting next March. I am SO PROUD of all of them. But after a few months I felt like I was missing a huge part of myself. There's a great line in the musical [Title of Show] sung by an actress waiting for her big break, "I'm dying inside, I'm dying inside, shine a flashlight in my butt and you'll see I'm dying inside." That's was how i felt. So I started prioritizing my own work again. I have a comic book, The 29ers, coming out next month, which I'm hugely proud of. I have a screenplay that will, fingers crossed, shoot next spring, a TV series I'm developing, and I am writing a novel. A big, scary, hairy novel, nothing like anything Emma and I wrote together. The "me" half of our shared voice loves sci-fi, action, and screenwriting. I get to do all those things now and that makes me really happy. But I miss Emma hugely. Especially bc she always reminded me to eat and pee.

      My Life After Emma has been an intense transition. Fantastically liberating, and also scary and poignant. First, without our contracts, I needed to figure out how to make money. I think it's important to talk about art and commerce, bc artists are always having to figure out the balance. I was HUGELY lucky to pay the bills telling stories for 15 years, but that was over and I needed to call up my old nanny smarts. I realized that my favorite thing in the world to do, when I'm not writing, is to teach other people how to effectively communicate. So I invested heavily in growing The Finished Thought. It has been a fabulous experience. My clients have gotten their first choice agents, their fist choice publishers, and have books coming out starting next March. I am SO PROUD of all of them. But after a few months I felt like I was missing a huge part of myself. There's a great line in the musical [Title of Show] sung by an actress waiting for her big break, "I'm dying inside, I'm dying inside, shine a flashlight in my butt and you'll see I'm dying inside." That's was how i felt. So I started prioritizing my own work again. I have a comic book, The 29ers, coming out next month, which I'm hugely proud of. I have a screenplay that will, fingers crossed, shoot next spring, a TV series I'm developing, and I am writing a novel. A big, scary, hairy novel, nothing like anything Emma and I wrote together. The "me" half of our shared voice loves sci-fi, action, and screenwriting. I get to do all those things now and that makes me really happy. But I miss Emma hugely. Especially bc she always reminded me to eat and pee.

  • dreamingoutloud87
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola! I love both the Nanny Diaries and the Nanny Returns and I would love for this one to become a movie too. Do you think there's a chance it will ever happen? Thank you

    Hi Nicola! I love both the Nanny Diaries and the Nanny Returns and I would love for this one to become a movie too. Do you think there's a chance it will ever happen? Thank you

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Thank you! So funny--there has been this groundswell on Twitter just in the last few days for the sequel. If we owned the rights we'd do it in a heartbeat.

      Thank you! So funny--there has been this groundswell on Twitter just in the last few days for the sequel. If we owned the rights we'd do it in a heartbeat.

  • booklover423
    almost 3 years ago

    Also - where do you get your ideas and inspiration? What are some of your favorite books, movies and television shows?

    Also - where do you get your ideas and inspiration? What are some of your favorite books, movies and television shows?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Getting inspired is SO IMPORTANT. Before kids Emma and I went to the theatre EVERY WEDNESDAY. Can you believe it??? I now go once a year. But it's so important for my work to watch and see things that expand my thinking. So I try to push myself to pick random small movies on demand once a week. And watch TV shows with great writing. Transparent melted my brain. I want to wear it as a blanket. I loved everything about it so hard. And the most amazing part is that it is 100% directed by women. And when you watch a few episodes back to back you're like, OMG, it IS a different lens on life! we do have a whole different visual vocabulary for telling stories. It is a mind-blowing experience. Women have never been at the table in that way before. The other show that just blew me away in Mozart in the Jungle. I'm working on a TV pilot and that show totally opened my mind to a different way of looking at a group of genius misfits. My big summer project was finally watching Breaking Bad. It took me 2 months, but I will never be the same.

      Getting inspired is SO IMPORTANT. Before kids Emma and I went to the theatre EVERY WEDNESDAY. Can you believe it??? I now go once a year. But it's so important for my work to watch and see things that expand my thinking. So I try to push myself to pick random small movies on demand once a week. And watch TV shows with great writing. Transparent melted my brain. I want to wear it as a blanket. I loved everything about it so hard. And the most amazing part is that it is 100% directed by women. And when you watch a few episodes back to back you're like, OMG, it IS a different lens on life! we do have a whole different visual vocabulary for telling stories. It is a mind-blowing experience. Women have never been at the table in that way before. The other show that just blew me away in Mozart in the Jungle. I'm working on a TV pilot and that show totally opened my mind to a different way of looking at a group of genius misfits. My big summer project was finally watching Breaking Bad. It took me 2 months, but I will never be the same.

  • booklover423
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola - You write about so many young female characters. Do you have a favorite? Is there one that's most like you?

    Hi Nicola - You write about so many young female characters. Do you have a favorite? Is there one that's most like you?

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Nanny was probably the most like us, if you put Emma and me in a blender. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is like picking a favorite child. I love all 9 of them. What was vital to Emma and me in creating our women is that they be competent. They flail, but they're never the asshole in the situation. The villain is. When we started writing there was a trend to have female leads be ditsy. Our leads are SMART and hard-working, they always go the extra mile, but are up against a system that doesn't value them, whether it's because that system is sexist, or classist, or both. There's a sentence in Nanny dairies that really sums it, "To have worked so hard and been hated so much." Eventually we like to think all of them find that place where they can shine and be appreciated.

      Nanny was probably the most like us, if you put Emma and me in a blender. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is like picking a favorite child. I love all 9 of them. What was vital to Emma and me in creating our women is that they be competent. They flail, but they're never the asshole in the situation. The villain is. When we started writing there was a trend to have female leads be ditsy. Our leads are SMART and hard-working, they always go the extra mile, but are up against a system that doesn't value them, whether it's because that system is sexist, or classist, or both. There's a sentence in Nanny dairies that really sums it, "To have worked so hard and been hated so much." Eventually we like to think all of them find that place where they can shine and be appreciated.

  • MaryPflumPeterson
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola - Such an honor to have you join us for Ask A Mogul Anything. Can you tell us more about the path to getting your first book, 'The Nanny Diaries' published? Was the process an easy one? A hard one? An overnight one? And did you have any inkling that the book was going to be the huge success that it became?

    Hi Nicola - Such an honor to have you join us for Ask A Mogul Anything. Can you tell us more about the path to getting your first book, 'The Nanny Diaries' published? Was the process an easy one? A hard one? An overnight one? And did you have any inkling that the book was going to be the huge success that it became?

  • Courtney Dercqu
    Courtney Dercqu Content Marketing Strategist & Writer
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi Nicola! I never knew that the "Nanny Diaries" was inspired by true events! (Great book, by the way!) I'm a writer that's been published in other books, but am finding the courage to publish my own novels. Do you have any tips on how to go about it? My goal is to have a book published (if not, at least pending publication) by the end of next year. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Hi Nicola! I never knew that the "Nanny Diaries" was inspired by true events! (Great book, by the way!) I'm a writer that's been published in other books, but am finding the courage to publish my own novels. Do you have any tips on how to go about it? My goal is to have a book published (if not, at least pending publication) by the end of next year. Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Nicola Kraus
      Nicola Kraus New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)
      almost 3 years ago Brooklyn, New York

      Thank you!! Yes, we both were nannies on the Upper East Side and it was a crazy experience. Coupled with the fact that I also grew up on Park Avenue so I had a unique perspective on my employers. So you have written a novel, but not sent it out to agents yet? Remeber that it's a SUBJECTIVE process. Nanny Dairies got rejected 8 publishers! And HARSHLY rejected. But the 9th bought it. You just need one. It's just like dating. Just bc you've been single for 8 years doesn't mean you're not going to meet your soul mate tonight. Prior rejection is no indicator of future success.

      Thank you!! Yes, we both were nannies on the Upper East Side and it was a crazy experience. Coupled with the fact that I also grew up on Park Avenue so I had a unique perspective on my employers. So you have written a novel, but not sent it out to agents yet? Remeber that it's a SUBJECTIVE process. Nanny Dairies got rejected 8 publishers! And HARSHLY rejected. But the 9th bought it. You just need one. It's just like dating. Just bc you've been single for 8 years doesn't mean you're not going to meet your soul mate tonight. Prior rejection is no indicator of future success.


Nicola Kraus
New York Times Bestselling Author (of 'The Nanny Diaries' and 9 more novels)

Nicola Kraus is the bestselling co-author of ten novels, including The Nanny Diaries, which was made into a motion picture in 2007 starring Scarlett Johansson and Laura Linney. She is also the co-founder of TheFinishedThought.com, a creative consulting company, which helps the next generation of [...]

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