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Friday 9 August 2019

ℚ Playing House: Uptown [1] - Ruby Lang

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Playing House (, Carina Press, 113 pages), a Contemporary Romance, book one in the Uptown series.

“Playing House is relatable, heartwarming, and oh so sexy. I zoomed through this thoughtful and joyful story about two people finding themselves and each other.” —Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date and The Proposal

|| Synopsis || Teaser: Excerpt || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Ruby Lang; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Playing House?

"PLAYING HOUSE, my contemporary romance about Asian-American city planners who indulge in a fake relationship while looking at real estate, was in part inspired by my real life planner friends whose love and enthusiasm for exploring New York City neighborhoods was infectious.

Another inspiration was Harlem: the people, the houses and businesses, the culture. It’s a historically Black neighborhood that’s been gentrifying over the last decade and I was interested in setting stories in the midst of all this change."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Fay and Oliver are not great at understanding what they want out of life, and, not unrelatedly, they both deal with feelings of failure.  This is, as the kids say, a mood.

At various times in my life, I’ve studied to become an academic, I’ve worked as a health journalist, and I’ve written and published in genres other than romance.  And every time, I’ve put one of these paths behind me, I’ve felt like I failed, or that I didn’t truly know myself or what I wanted."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Playing House - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"This adorable cover was designed by Deborah Peterson of Dandelion Designs, and the art direction was done under Krista Oliver from Harlequin.

I was so lucky to have them working on this.  I feel like it really captures the tone of the book: the wit and playfulness, and the maturity and stylishness of the protagonists.  I had almost nothing to do with it, except for oohing and aahing over the cute townhouses, and Oliver’s glasses and Fay’s garland."
Why should we read Playing House and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"If city planners kissing in walk-in closets and jokes about architects of yore aren’t enough, then maybe readers will be tempted by the idea of a failed seduction in the bathroom of a historic house."
Can you tell us something quirky about Playing House, its story and characters?
"My friend Sulagna told me that she would love to see her name in a book.  So with her permission, I named Fay’s business partner after her.  Real Sulagna is far more organized and on top of it than Book Sulagna. But both are very perceptive."
Who would you recommend Playing House to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is for readers who like witty stories about the perils and pleasures of adulting.  Both characters cope with some anxiety and depression, so gentle warnings and sympathies to those who are sensitive to such depictions."
If you could / wished to turn Playing House and the Uptown series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Simu Liu in chunky spectacles!  Ming-Na Wen being brisk yet vulnerable!

Loving shots of Harlem, showcasing the streets, the people, and the culture, especially the historic area around Marcus Garvey Park, and further uptown among the beautiful townhouses of Strivers’ Row!"
Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, looking at 124th Street
Strivers’ Row in Harlem
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Light-hearted contemporaries have been my bread and butter thus far, but I’d love to branch out and write something involving magic."
What is your writing process?
"I outline and then proceed to ignore my careful notes.  I name my characters and try to find their motivations, only to have them change on me.

I get up in the middle of the night to jot down dialogue, or walk down the street thumbing madly into my phone.  I snack rabidly.  I heave heavy sighs at my lack of progress and take myself to the library.

I always, always get stuck trying to draft the last few pages and do my utmost to avoid my laptop.  I hand in my drafts to my editor when I’ve given up in despair.  Somehow it works."
What is in store next?
"OPEN HOUSE, the second book in the Uptown series comes out in November.  It’s about two people, Magda and Ty, who are on opposite sides of a battle over the sale of an empty lot-turned-urban-garden in Harlem, and continues on the theme of community and neighborhoods.

HOUSE RULES, the third Uptown book, comes out in February.  In it, a long-divorced couple, Lana and Simon, wind up living together again after they find a deal that neither can refuse on a Harlem townhouse apartment."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"This tiny hand-cranked music box plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which is probably my favorite song from one of my favorite movies.

My daughter gave it to me when she was 7.  I love examining the bumps of the barrel.  I love the tiny handle.  I love the fact that this unprepossessing small industrial-looking thing produces such tinkly, magical music."
Sounds lovely. Thank you for sharing this with us :-)

We hope you are having a great tour!

Playing House
Available NOW!

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