Q&A With Nicola Kraus

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Q&A With Nicola Kraus

This week I have the honor of doing this Q&A with New York Times Bestselling author of The Nanny Diaries books which she wrote with Emma McLaughlin. Nicola and Emma also wrote So Close, Between You And Me, Dedication, How To Be A Grownup & coming out May 2025 The Best We Could Hope For. 

Q: Nicola, would you like to give a brief description of The Best We Could Hope For? 

A: When Bunny Linden abandons her three children with her older sister, Jayne, in 1972, all she knows is that Jayne will be the perfect mother. The mother Bunny, a teen runaway, could never be. As months turn into years, Jayne and her husband, Rodger, a rising journalism star, strive to give the children the opportunity to flourish even as they have children of their own. But then Bunny resurfaces and sets a chain of events in motion that detonates all their lives.


As adults, their children try to reassemble the pieces and solve the mystery that has always haunted them. Who were their parents? What really happened between them? And who is ultimately to blame for the destruction? But will the answers they seek set them free—or lead to something far more damaging than anyone imagined?


Q: Where did the idea for The Best We Could Hope For come from? 

A: I’ve long been fascinated by the intergenerational trauma handoff of the 20th century—how the Great Depression informed the scarcity parenting Boomers received, the narcissism that created, and the ensuing impact on GenX.  I grew up around so many people in the 80s who basically raised themselves without any socio-economic driver of that neglect.  On the flip side, I’m also fascinated by the concepts of forgiveness and loss.  So often people will say to me about a loved one who’s died, “if only I had said…”or “if only they could have lived to see…” and my feeling is, say it now. They’re listening.

Q: How does The Best We Could Hope For, differ from your other novels, especially The Nanny Diaries and Nanny Returns?

A: It’s the first book I’ve written without my former partner, Emma, so this is my voice, rather than the one I shared with her.  Even though it is also set on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where I grew up the tone is very different; it isn’t a comedic social satire. But if you loved Little Fires Everywhere, I think this story will appeal to you.  

Q: What lessons do you hope readers learn after reading The Best We Could Hope For?

A: Love is all that matters, which seems obvious and yet too often we lose sight of that in our consumer-driven society.  And I believe that love transcends death.  The damage we sustain and visit on others lives in this silly flesh suit we carry around.  When we die and leave the physical and emotional pain behind, love can surface and flourish–if we tune into it.  

Q: How long does it take you to write a book, typically? 

A: It varies.  With Emma in an ideal world for two years.  But in the end we were under a contract to publish a book every twelve months and it was hard to stay in a place of optimal artistry.  The Best We Could Hope For took eight years!  But I was helping many clients with other nonfiction books at the same time.  Whereas with Emma I wrote fiction all day, now I only get an hour or two.  It goes slower but it is so pleasurable I don’t mind.  

Q: Would it be fair to say that the fictional worlds & characters within your novels are loosely taken from real people and places?

A: Certainly, The Nanny Diaries was inspired by our experiences as Upper East Side nannies, but we had to invent the circumstances of the X family to make the story entertaining.  Real life is rarely that entertaining.  I think every writer keeps their eyes and ears open as it were, but I’ve always preferred to disappear into the world of my imagination and listen to what the characters tell me.  

Q: Since Hollywood did the Nanny Diaries film adaptation, do they already have the rights to your other books as well as The Best We Could Hope For? The entertainment industry is in desperate need of original content again!

A:  Fingers crossed!  

Q: How did you and Emma McLaughlin meet? What was it like co-writing so many books with her? What is your advice for anyone wanting to write a book with someone else?

A: We both attended NYU and took classes together but didn’t meet until after I graduated, when we ran into each other at an ATM. We discovered that we were both nannies and became fast friends, but we didn’t start writing together until five years later.  To this day she and I share a brain to a spooky extent. We do and see so many things separately now but then we’ll call each other and discover that we had the exact same reaction to a place, play, or person.  My advice for anyone attempting to collaborate on anything—a novel, a business, or sharing a household is communication.  Articulate everything and do not assume any shared perspective or definitions.  For example, when you say “work hard” what does that look like to you?  Do we take weekends?  When is too late to call?  And when conflicts arise, get curious.  Ask questions.  Why do you want this outcome?  If you come from a place of mutual love and respect you will flourish.  

Q: If you are currently writing your next book, can you reveal any plot details?

A: It is set in New England and concerns two middle-aged sisters with a fractious relationship whose lives are upended when each receives what they think is the “wrong” inheritance.  

Q: I noticed on your website you said As a creative coach, I believe it’s the audience’s God-given right to be entertained. As a journalist, I want to know what drives people, what excites them, and how they get through the days when it doesn’t all come together. As an artist, I believe in sitting quietly for a few minutes every day to keep that channel open to the magical place where the words come from. So are you still currently a journalist & did you become a journalist before becoming an author?  

A: That went on the backburner for me during our partnership because it’s hard to write first-person pieces as a team.  The first solo assignment I received after Emma, and I separated was a big celebrity interview—the brass ring!  It ended up being the cover story for the last issue of that magazine ever published and when I reached out to my media contacts to let them know I was doing celebrity interviews they said that outsourcing those articles was the line-item Hearst and Conde Nast had just cut from their budgets.  All to say, I have written a lot of articles but in just the last decade I have seen those assignments go from five figures to unpaid and who has the time?  Now Substack is a great place for essayists to monetize their work and create gorgeous content outside the “clickbait” mandate.