It’s always intriguing to see how outsiders portray Miami in their work. When artist or authors use Miami as inspiration and research in their work, reflecting our city’s strange sense of normality back at unsuspecting consumers, it sometimes presents an even more authentic version of ourselves.
Lauren Weisberger, author of six novels including the New York Times bestseller The Devil Wears Prada, does just that in her forthcoming book, The Singles Game (Simon & Schuster). In 2014, Weisberger attended the Miami Open in the name of tennis research for her book. She spent most of 2015 writing, and next Tuesday, July 19, Weisberger will return to the Magic City to discuss and read from her newest release.
The Singles Game tells the story of 25-year-old tennis champion Charlotte “Charlie” Silver. Trying to take her game to the next level, Charlie decides to work with the highly touted yet crushingly intense coach Todd Feltner. Charlie is young, talented, and beautiful, but when playing by Coach Todd’s rules, her “good girl” image begins to crack. The novel follows Charlie’s self-discovery through the framework of sport and being a female professional in today’s society.
A tennis player herself, Weisberger traveled the world as part of her research for The Singles Game. “I’ve played my whole life,” she says. “My father actually put a racket in my hand when I was 4, much like Charlie’s did. Very different outcome! I’ve played casually, recreationally my whole life. I still do, and I love it. I’m just a big fan of the sport.”
Like her previous works, The Singles Game delves deeply into its subject matter, placing readers in a world foreign from their own. Attending events everywhere from Charleston to Connecticut, at tournaments from the U.S. Open to Wimbledon, Weisberger used journalistic tactics to gather accurate details for The Singles Game. At times, she’d sit and watch life behind the scenes at the tourneys, while also interviewing Women’s Tennis Association officials, nutritionists, physiologists, hitting partners, and ex-players for facts.
And for local readers, some scenes will feel particularly familiar (even if we all can’t get backstage access). After shadowing Slovakian star Dominika Cibulková for a seaside photo shoot across from courts at Crandon Park and dipping a toe into South Beach’s club culture during that 2014 visit to the Miami Open, Weisberger saw how Miami life, sport, and excess intersect.
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As a result, she divulges, “There is definitely a scene that takes place at the Miami Open... There’s a pivotal scene that happens at the player party on South Beach. It specifically happens as they’re walking the red carpet into the player party on South Beach.”
Over the years, Miami has been good to Weisberger in her research for The Singles Game and over the course of career. With family living here and a strong relationship with Books & Books, the author shares her enthusiasm genuinely and without pandering.
“I’m just so excited to be coming back to Miami!” she exclaims. “And I love Books & Books. I’ve come there every single book since Prada, and that’s one of the only stores where I can say that’s true. It’s one of the best independent bookstores in the country, hands down. The entire book world thinks that, believes it, and knows it to be true. And I’m not just saying that.”
Tuesday, July 19, at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.