It put Emily Blunt on the map and cemented Anne Hathaway as a serious Hollywood contender. Now, The Devil Wears Prada is back with its follow-up novel, Revenge Wears Prada.
Andy, now thirty, is a successful bridal magazine editor, about to get married, and has been careful to steer clear of Miranda Priestly. However Miranda isn’t the kind of woman who hides in the background. She’s back and more devilish than ever.
Here, Lauren Weisberger chats to Kristy Johnson about the phenomenon that is The Devil Wears Prada, and what to expect from the sequel.
As the bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada, did you feel any pressure to deliver a great sequel?
I definitely did feel pressure with the follow-up. I’ve shared these characters with so many people now. I really wanted to stay true to what the fans enjoyed, what they loved, and what they related to with the characters. I needed to strike that balance between letting the characters grow up and change over ten years which of course everyone does, but still sort of stay true to who they were at the beginning.
Is the writing process for a sequel somewhat easier when there’s a back-story?
It was easier and harder! I think it was easier because I wasn’t inventing characters from scratch. But in some ways it was harder because I really wanted to make sure that I was still true to who these characters were. So much can change in that amount of time. We don’t pick up where we first left off. It is a full ten years later where we meet Andrea, check in with her and see what’s going on. So that was definitely an interesting point.
When you first wrote The Devil Wears Prada, did you think it would be an instant hit as it has been?
It blew me away in such an unbelievable capacity! That’s actually the understatement of the century. I had no idea! I was just so young, it was the first book I had ever written, and I didn’t even set out to write a book. I was just so happy someone was publishing it! Or even four people would read it and they would all be my family members. I just could not have ever imagined it would be the phenomenon it became. So much of that was also because of the movie, but the whole thing was just an amazing and wonderful shock.
Why do you think readers fell in love with the story? Do you think people see part of themselves in Andy?
I hope so! I hope that’s why! Part of it is that they picked up the book and they liked to have a fun and relaxing read that hopefully made them laugh, but I do hope that part of them related to Andy. Everybody’s had a terrifying first job; everybody has felt alone and overwhelmed before. I really wanted to keep that with this book as well. Andy is up against a different problem, it’s ten years later and she’s at the top of her game, she’s much more confident, she’s found career success and success in her love life. I think maybe my readers have grown up with me, with Andy, and will hopefully be able to relate with her again.
How do you relate to Andy?
I definitely relate to Andy. I relate to all of my characters in some way. So much of my writing is formed from my own experiences. I definitely do see parts of myself in Andy and other parts, not at all.
Were you worried about any backlash from the fashion industry, with how magazines were portrayed?
The first 72 hours after the first book came out, I stopped reading the good and the bad as the reviews were totally overwhelming. But with this book it was fun for me to kind of move away from Runway but still stay in the world of magazines, create a really high end bridal magazine where Andy could be travelling, shooting on location and rubbing shoulders with these really glamorous people but not necessarily be in the fashion world. That’s what I really enjoyed with the second book.
Do you think readers will be happy with how Revenge Wears Prada finishes?
I can’t say! I certainly hope so! I certainly don’t want to give anything away. I don’t think it’s necessarily what you would expect when you start reading. I don’t think I’ve given much away when I say Andy does find her happiness.
If Revenge Wears Prada did happen to become a movie, who would you like to see play Max?
Oh, good question! I can see Jake Gyllenhaal. I feel that the physical description matches and I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve seen Anne and Jake on the screen together, but they just worked.
What’s next for you?
I’m just excited for the best part of publishing a book, which is getting out there and meeting the people who read your books. You know it sounds so crazy but writing always takes place in a virtual vacuum. It’s not until the book tours that you actually meet people that you get any kind of real feel. That’s coming up in the next few weeks for me, and I’m really just kind of focusing on that right now.
Interview by Kristy Johnson