Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Laura Hankin Interview - Happy and You Know It

Photo Content from Laura Hankin

Laura Hankin is the author of HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT and has written for McSweeney’s and HuffPost, among other publications. The viral videos that she creates and stars in with her comedy duo, Feminarchy, have been featured in Now This, The New York Times, and Funny or Die. She grew up in Washington, D.C. and now lives in New York City, where she has performed off-Broadway, acted onscreen, and sung to far too many babies.


Tell us about your new book, HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT!
HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT is about a musician, Claire, who gets kicked out of her band right before they skyrocket to fame. Desperate and broke, she takes a job singing to a private playgroup of wealthy new mothers and their babies on the Upper East Side. To her surprise, she finds herself smitten with these stay-at-home moms and their picture-perfect lives. As the mothers are drawn to Claire in turn and they all become more and more intertwined, secrets come out, and intrigue ensues!

What inspired you to pen this novel?
I myself worked for many years as a playgroup musician to wealthy mothers and their babies. (Yes, I have sung “The Wheels on the Bus” literally thousands of times.) As I sang to the babies, I watched the mothers – the ways in which they supported one another, the ways they competed, their fear that, even with all the luxuries in the world, they weren’t doing motherhood right. I wanted to get to know them, but since it would have been awkward to try and be their friend in real life, I just wrote a book about it instead!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Reading Cheryl Strayed has encouraged me to be more honest as a writer and as a human. I read Liane Moriarty when I need a masterclass in how to write something that is breezy and funny on the surface, but with a whole lot of depth and heart underneath. And watching work by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Greta Gerwig has taught me so much about form, and about how to create flawed-but-loveable characters.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I was lucky enough to go on a pre-publication tour, in which a couple of other authors and I got to talk with booksellers about our books. Drinking wine while getting to know a bunch of people who are passionate about reading? Heaven!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope for them to have the same empathy that I had for my characters, even when said characters are not necessarily making the best decisions…

What did you enjoy most about writing your main character, Claire?
Claire grows so much over the course of the novel, and that was really fun for me to track. I just wanted her to succeed and be happy!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I want to see what would happen if Claire went to sing for Daisy Buchanan, and inserted herself into the world of The Great Gatsby. Maybe things would’ve turned out very differently for everyone else, either for better or for worse.

Tell us your latest news.
I recently turned in a draft of a new book, so now I’m anxiously waiting to hear just how much of it I’m going to have to revise!

  • 1. Because you don’t understand how the perfect people seem to do it all and you want some ANSWERS
  • 2. Because you don’t understand how the perfect people seem to do it all and you want some SCHADENFREUDE
  • 3. For the complicated female friendships
  • 4. For the juicy romance scenes
  • 5. For the twists and turns that will, I hope, make you want to read it twice
  • 6. To step, for a little while, into the lives of the rich and not-so-happy
  • 7. So that you can pull a Sex & The City and figure out which character you and all of your friends are
  • 8. If you’re a mom
  • 9. If you’re not a mom, and are not sure if you ever want to be
  • 10. If you’re craving a vacation read that will make you laugh, gasp, and keep turning the pages
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
I recently learned that the average human body temperature is falling, and nobody really knows for sure why??

What’s the first job you’ve had?
My first-ever job was babysitting. But in my twenties, I worked a whole variety of weird day jobs. Beyond the baby music, I coordinated flash mobs, was a personal assistant to a terrible psychoanalyst, and performed a site-specific play in an actual graveyard. (And the list goes on…)

What event in your life would make a good movie?
Hopefully all those years I spent working as a playgroup musician to wealthy women and their babies!

What has been your best memory of being a writer?
One day, I was working on a scene in a coffee shop. I got so into imagining it – it felt so vivid to me – that for a few minutes I forgot where I actually was. I was in a crowded coffee shop, yes, but I was also with my characters on a hill overlooking the ocean, and it was kind of magic.

A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

Praise for HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT

May 2020 Library Reads Pick!

“For readers who want the fun of reality TV but the heart of a good drama." —BookPage (starred review)

“Absorbing.” —OK! Magazine

“A dramatic and immensely entertaining page-turner about secrets, lies, and mom culture.”—Kirkus

“With deeply drawn and relatable characters, this is an excellent read.” —Library Journal

"An engrossing and compelling story of the lengths women will go to convince the world--and themselves--that they're as happy and successful as society expects them to be. It's what would happen if the women from The Nanny Diaries met the women from Sex and the City in the social-media age. I devoured it in less than 48 hours." —Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words

"Combines wry humor and sharp social commentary with an utterly addictive plot. It’s nonstop fun, and I couldn’t put it down.” —Katharine McGee, New York Times bestselling author of American Royals

“The perfect mix of frothy fun, twisty mystery and social satire, Happy and Your Know It is a guilty pleasure of a book that is impossible to put down. Laura Hankin creates complex characters with lives that, like their Instagram feeds, are never as they seem. This is the summer read for book clubs, beachgoers and playgroup moms everywhere.” —Kristy Woodson Harvey, bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple

"A juicy look at how the other half lives, Happy and You Know It is a page-turning treat in the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and Momzillas. This story of social-climbing and dark secrets heralds a delightful new voice in women's fiction." —Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer

"Laura Hankin balances a sharp eye for the mad dynamics of a high-stakes playgroup with warm understanding of the occasional desperation of new motherhood. This book is bracing, fresh, and hilarious, like sticking your head in a freezer on a hot day." —Judy Blundell, bestselling author of The High Season

"Hankin has concocted a delicious, rollicking story that features a captivating ensemble of cosmopolitan moms and a down-on-her-luck musician who's paid to entertain their kids. Packed with laughs and unexpected twists, think Liane Moriarty meets Sex and the City--simply irresistible." —Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

"A skillful unraveling of desperate secrets and self-deceptions. Witty, unsettling, and all-too-believable. I raced through to the end." —Emma Rous, USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair

"Imagine if your hilarious best friend told you a really juicy story about a gaggle of rich new mothers While also delivering a sharp commentary about the expectations put on women. That is this book. Bonus for the excellent twist you won't be expecting. Put it on your list, kids." —Stephanie Wrobel, USA Today bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold
You can purchase Happy & You Know It at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAURA HANKIN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin.


  1. Talking to my friend on the phone.

  2. My daughter makes me laugh every day!

  3. I was looking at something on the computer.

  4. "What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?" I was watching an animated sitcom where someone referenced Canadians eating jelly with marshmallows and diced carrots, not unlike people I know in northern Minnesota.

  5. I was in a restaurant with family in Spain and we were laughing at a photo of my sister and brother, we couldn't stop laughing the whole restaurant looked at us like we were crazy lol

  6. Playing a game last weekend with my hubby & kids!

  7. I laugh every day at my little Chihuahua. Whenever he wants something he will come and sit up on his hind legs in front of me with this serious look on his face. Then I have to guess what it is that he actually wants. It is totally hilarious

  8. Listening to my mom telling me a really funny story over the phone.