Q&A with Brenda Janowitz, Author of The Grace Kelly Dress

by Heather Caliendo
brenda grace kelly dress - book club chat
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Brenda Janowitz is the author of several novels and the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Her sixth novel The Grace Kelly Dress is out now!

Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, USA Today, Bustle, The Forward, the New York Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Hello Giggles, Writer’s Digest Magazine, WritersDigest.com, and xojane.

Get to know Brenda with the below Q&A where she talks favorite novels, inspiration behind The Grace Kelly Dress, and much more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

As the PopSugar Books Correspondent, I pick my favorite books of each season, which you can find here: https://www.popsugar.com/author/Brenda-Janowitz.

As for all time favorite novels, I re-read The Great Gatsby every few years, and I find something different each time. I’m also a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I was lucky enough to see on Broadway last year. (So, of course, now I need to re-read that one, too.)

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

I have always loved to write. It’s the reason that I became a lawyer—it seemed like the perfect profession for someone who loved to read and loved to write. But after a while, I found myself roaming the halls of my law firm late at night (always late at night), thinking about the stories I wanted to write. When my best friend, Shawn, got my friends together to buy me a group gift for my 30th birthday, they sent me to a writing class, and that was the thing that made me start taking my writing more seriously.

What inspired you to write The Grace Kelly Dress?

My agent sent me an article from The Today Show about a wedding dress that had been passed down through eleven generations. The moment I heard the story, I was hooked—I knew that I had the idea for my next novel.

Once I decided to write about a wedding gown, there was only one thing I envisioned: Grace Kelly on her wedding day. So, when it came time to describe what this heirloom gown looked l like, I found myself describing her dress—the lace sleeves, the cummerbund, the full skirt. I quickly realized that the characters in the book should be as enamored of this design as me, and The Grace Kelly Dress was born!

What do you hope are some of the key takeaways from the novel?

Generally, when I write, I just want readers to feel they’ve been taken on a journey, and taken outside of their own lives for a few hours. I mostly want readers to enjoy the reading experience.

That said, it’s been lovely for readers to tell me that the book made them think more deeply about the different generations of their own family, and the things that have been passed down. I’m very close with my mother and I was very close with both of my grandmothers, so to enable readers to think more about their own families brings me joy.

 Do you have a favorite genre to write? 

I love to read and write upmarket women’s fiction. I’m a sucker for a story for women by a woman.

 What are you working on next? 

I’ve loved writing about an heirloom item and the family that owns it, so I’m doing it again! I’ll be focusing on another family and another heirloom that has been passed down. Heirlooms are so incredibly important to me—I wear one of my Grandma Dorothy’s rings every day, and I love having a piece of her with me as I go through my day to day. 

 What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read)?

Now that my PopSugar Best Books of Spring list (https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/best-spring-2020-books-for-women-47175657) is done, I’m getting together my Summer list. I’m reading The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia, which is about two families with competing fried chicken restaurants in the same town. KJ was the editor who gave me my first byline at the New York Times, so it’s a delight to see that she writes just as well as she edits (which is to say very, VERY well!).

Thank you to Brenda for participating in the Q&A! Click here to order The Grace Kelly Dress on Amazon.

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2 comments

Heather Wisher March 14, 2020 - 11:22 am

Great Q&A Heather!

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Heather Caliendo March 14, 2020 - 11:59 am

Thank you so much, Heather!!

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