Interview with novelist Ruby Lang

Romance author Ruby Lang joins me today and we’re
chatting about her new contemporary romance, Playing House.

During her virtual book tour, Ruby will be awarding a digital copy of Playing
to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance
to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel
free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series.
She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote
about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also
appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She
enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She
lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
Please share a little bit about your current
Playing House is about two city planner acquaintances, Fay and Oliver, who accidentally
run into each other during a historic homes tour and feign being in a
relationship in order to thwart the tour Romeo. They end up having so much fun
that they continue to look at apartments and houses (and to pretend they’re a
couple) over the course of several weekends. It’s the first book in my Uptown
series about life, love, and real estate.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the seeing gentrification
of Harlem, and also by my planner friends. I liked the idea of setting the
story in a place with a rich history, but that is entering a period of change.
The characters also have a history, and they’re in the midst of re-evaluating
their lives and relationships.
Excerpt from Playing House:
Oliver sagged in relief—and a little
disappointment. When the crowd passed beneath them through the front hall, he
turned to Fay and she turned to him and they said, simultaneously, “Are you
A pause.
Fay started again. “He was so
persistent. Sorry to involve you.”
Then, as if realizing they were
still standing close, Fay slipped her arm out from his and they stepped away
from each other.
“Don’t apologize. It’s messed up
that you felt like you needed a cover.”
Fay shook her head as if to clear
it. “That was tense, wasn’t it? He started pestering me one house back on the
tour. I said I wasn’t interested, and he didn’t listen. When we got to this
house, I told him I had a boyfriend and then I started trying to edge back
downstairs to find the greeter when you arrived. But really it was nothing. It
was fine.”
Oliver was quiet for a bit, trying
to process what she’d said. She was slightly embarrassed judging from her
abrupt manner—not that she had anything to be ashamed of at all. But the other
thing that stood out was that she’d made up a fake boyfriend instead of
referring to her husband. Which meant… He glanced at her hand. No ring. Maybe
she wasn’t married anymore. So not the point here. But why did he suddenly feel
so—not happy, not relieved, but…alert? Interested.
He hadn’t felt interested in
anything for a long time.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m finishing up edits for House Rules,
which is about a long-divorced pair who end up as roommates in a spacious
Harlem apartment. It’s the third book in my Uptown series and it comes out in
February 2020.

When did you first consider yourself a

I started writing my first novel during
summer vacation I was 15 or 16. It was a retelling of a fairy tale and I wrote
a draft and was terribly proud of myself, only to discover that Newbery-winning
YA-fantasy writer Robin McKinley had published a book based on the same story
and had done it better. Oddly enough, that spurred me to write more. After all,
if the source material was fascinating to Robin McKinley, maybe I was onto
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your
work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time
to write?
I write full-time at the moment (although I take
freelance editing work during the year depending on deadlines). I usually sit
down at my desk with a cup of tea after my kid and husband go out the door in
the morning. If I’m feeling stuck, I pack up and go to the library, or to a
café. If I’m working from home, I intersperse writing with laundry. If I’m at
the library, I usually get in a good chunk of words, then give myself
permission to wander between the shelves.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I’ll get up in the middle of the night and (try
to) quietly scribble down an idea in the dark, usually without my glasses on.
(Because what’s the use of glasses in the dark?) My husband has grown accustomed
to having me sit bolt upright and diving for a pen and paper. And I’ve gotten
used to setting out a pad opened to a blank page in order to capture my night-brain
As a child, what did you want to be when you
grew up?
I wanted to be a botanist, a clothing
designer, an English professor, and a writer. All of these interests and ambitions
will probably end up in a book someday.
Anything additional you want to share with
the readers?
Thanks so much for reading and for having me
on the blog to talk about my writing and Playing House!
Social media links:
Buy links:
Thanks for stopping by today. Happy writing!

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