LITTLE BLACK DRESSES, LITTLE WHITE LIES tells the story of Harper, a girl who lands the dream internship at one of her favorite magazines, except she gets hired to write a dating column. And this is a bit of challenge since she doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to finding love. Next thing she knows, Harper is finding herself living in the big city, trying to navigate the complicated world of friends, work and of course, boys. We spoke with the author of this fun novel, Laura Stampler, and she told us all about what inspired her to tell this story and how her own real-life experiences influenced her writing.
ML: Where did the inspiration for Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies come from?
LS: I was a reporter at Time Magazine at the time covering the intersection of technology and culture — and I had made dating apps my beat. Tinder was playing a big part of my life, both personally and professionally haha. Since I’ve always — and I mean always — written fiction, I thought it would interesting to put a girl who was kind of like me in high school (aka zero game in the romantic department whatsoever) was put in a situation where she had to write about dating in the wild world of online media.
ML: Harper really goes on quite the emotional roller coaster in the book, from figuring out how to keep up the ruse that she is a dating expert, to dealing with her friends and boy drama of course. Which of these more dramatic scenes was your favorite to write?
LS: I loved putting Harper in seemingly normal situations that then took a turn for the bizarre. For example, when she breathes a sigh of relief after finally finding a cute guy who will give her the time of day only to slowly but surely realize that he is trying to recruit her into his cult. It’s so fun to play up the comedy of misunderstandings and explore the unexpected.
ML: Are any of the characters inspired by yourself at all?
LS: I put bits and pieces of myself into all of the characters. Like Harper, I have struggled to figure out who I am. Like Brie, I don’t think that girly stereotypes negate feminist convictions. Like Princess the pug, I really love naps.
ML: How much of your own personal experiences working as a journalist influenced what Harper faced working at Shift?
LS: Shift magazine was totally fictional, and I’ve never worked at a glossy magazine, but I definitely pulled some experiences from my real life as a journalist. I wanted to capture the simultaneously exciting and overwhelming world of online media. Sometimes you write intensely researched articles you’re incredibly proud of that is available to a huge audience. Sometimes you are quickly churning out blogs about how Miley Cyrus’ knee looks like Seth Rogen’s face (true story!) to get traffic. There are the highs of going viral, and the lows of getting torn apart by trolls. I wanted readers to see different aspects of what it is like to write for the internet.
ML: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
LS: First drafts don’t have to be perfect!
ML: Can you describe the book in only 5 words?
LS: Female friendship trumps insignificant boys
ML: This book ended with a total surprise that leaves it open for more story to tell. Are there any plans for a sequel?
LS: We’ll have to wait and see!