She crafted one of modern literature’s best-known villains – the icy editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, Miranda Priestly.
And now, Lauren Weisberger is back with another love-to-hate-’em villain in her upcoming novel, The Singles Game, which revolves around the glamorous, cutthroat world of competitive tennis.
The villain in question? Todd Felter, tennis coach extraordinaire, who Weisberger says is a “jerk, plain and simple.”
“He says the most horrifying things,” she tells PEOPLE. “Truthfully, it was fun to write him. He says what everyone is thinking, but you could never say.”
“It’s super fun to draw these over-the-top characters, and he’s definitely the one in this book,” she adds.
In The Singles Game, readers follow a young tennis star on the rise, Charlotte “Charlie” Silver, as she jets from tournament to red carpet to another tournament – all with her brutal coach, Felter.
Before writing the novel, Weisberger immersed herself in the world of tennis, where she got to see just how intense it can be: traveling and competing for 10 months out of the year; living out of a suitcase and in and out of airports; and trying to live a “normal” life while jetting around the globe.
“Being on tour sounds so sexy,” she says. “But the reality of it is the opposite.”
The release of The Singles Game isn’t the only milestone Weisberger is celebrating this summer: it’s also the 10-year anniversary of the release of The Devil Wears Prada film. Ten years on, Weisberger says that the universality of the story is why it continues to be a favorite for both fans of the book and the movie.
“Everybody, regardless of what industry they’re in, knows that feeling of being out of place, combined with a really terrible work situation,” she shares.
And the movie, Weisberger says, was exactly what she was looking for in a film adaptation – “They nailed it I’m so happy with what they did with the movie,” she says – and yes, she’s a huge fan of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Miranda Priestly, just like the rest of us.
In fact, she thinks that Streep’s take on the harsh Runway editor brought the character to new depths – ones she chose to leave out of the book.
“She was a real person,” she says. “In the book, she was just straight evil.”
Speaking of real people, has Weisberger ever heard from her former boss, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, long considered the inspiration for Priestly’s character?
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Not personally, she says. But, after a recent viewing of the documentary The First Monday in May, she got to see the closest thing to a response yet: In the film, Wintour is asked about The Devil Wears Prada, and says that the movie and book drew more attention to the industry – never a bad thing.
“She gave a very gracious answer,” Weisberger says. “That was the first time I heard an official, direct reaction to it.”
The Singles Games by Lauren Weisberger will be available on July 12.