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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

From the New York Times bestselling coauthor of “Five Feet Apart” and “She Gets the Girl,” Rachael Lippincott’s latest novel,  “Pride & Prejudice & Pittsburgh,” is a sapphic romantic comedy that reads like a combination of “What If It’s Us” meets “Bridgerton.” 

“Pride & Prejudice & Pittsburgh” follows Audrey Cameron who has recently been dumped by her first love and waitlisted at her dream art school in one week. She has no intention of putting her heart on the line again to get it back. So when local curmudgeon Mr. Montgomery walks into her family’s Pittsburgh convenience store saying he can help her, Audrey doesn’t know what she’s expecting, but it’s definitely not that she’ll be transported back to 1812 to become a Regency romance heroine.

Lucy Sinclair isn’t expecting to find an oddly dressed girl claiming to be from two hundred years in the future on her family’s estate, but she has to admit it’s a welcome distraction from being courted by a man her father expects her to marry—who offers a future she couldn’t be less interested in. Not that anyone has cared about what she’s interested in since her mother died, taking Lucy’s happiness with her.

While the two girls try to understand their time travel dilemma and how to send Audrey home, their emotions complicate things. As they both try over and over to fall for their respective suitors and the happily-ever-afters everyone expects of them, they find they don’t have to try at all to fall for each other.

Can a most unexpected love story survive such impossible circumstances?

Rachael Lippincott holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Pennsylvania with her wife, YA author Alyson Derrick, and their daughter. In addition to her other books, she also co-authored “All This Time.”

For this Author Spotlight, I wanted to focus on the Jane Austen influences in Lippincott’s latest YA novel as well as know more about what she was thinking when writing “Pride & Prejudice & Pittsburgh.” 

What challenged you when writing both Lucy and Audrey’s perspectives given they’re both from different eras?

I think the biggest challenge was probably just capturing Lucy’s voice. Prior to this, I’ve only written contemporary romance, so Audrey’s POV was something I felt very comfortable writing  in. But with Lucy, to take the leap and dip my toe into historical fiction was a bit intimidating. And then, having to make sure it was able to blend with Audrey’s perspective without being too disjointed was also something I had to worry about.

I felt like after the first draft passed the sniff test with Lucy’s POV I felt much more comfortable, and even more excited, to dive into her chapters.

What made you decide to have Lucy and Audrey in different timelines, versus writing a “Pride & Prejudice” retelling?

I wanted to set Lucy’s story, and the majority of the story, in the same year as ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ in a very similar setting and society. I don’t know if it was an intentional decision to not have it be a strict retelling, as much as it was the story that came to me and was exciting to write.

Where and when would Mr. Montgomery send you if he had to help you like he did with Audrey? What would he help you with?

I’m not sure! I feel like that’s part of the Mr. Montgomery magic; You don’t know where he’s going to send you, and you’re not 100% certain until the end why exactly he did.

Maybe it would be a joint trip with my wife, somewhere tied to our respective family ancestry. Both of our moms were adopted, so perhaps it would be something in relation to that, and our current experience with family and motherhood. Or, just a cool trip to Europe or something!

If you had to pick a Jane Austen novel and/or character to match your characters, what would they be and why?

Hmm. Maybe ‘Northanger Abbey’ for Lucy and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for Audrey, if that’s not cheating! Lucy enjoys escaping into books and her imagination, and Audrey is extremely close with her family, has a couple possible romances that aren’t the right fit and finds love with the very last person she expects to.

What did you learn from writing this book versus when you wrote your other novels?

Taking the leap into historical fiction, I think it taught me to trust myself more as a writer and to feel a bit more comfortable with stepping outside my comfort zone. That feels like a real gift, and makes me excited for the stories I write in the future.

Many thanks to Rachael for answering my questions! This book was the first of yours that I have read and I absolutely adored it. After reading “Pride & Prejudice & Pittsburgh,” I instantly made note of your other books because your writing and character development is perfectly fitting for a rom-com! 

I’d also like to thank Tara Shanahan from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing who forwarded me this interview opportunity and sent me a finished copy of Lippincott’s work. I always enjoy interviewing authors and writing about the publishing world, so I look forward to continuing working with you. 

Sabrina Blandon is an English major at NYU with a minor in creative writing. Avid reader herself and literary advocate, she has interviewed over 60 authors from New York Times bestselling ones to debut authors for Her Author Spotlight blog series for Her Campus NYU and Her Campus Hofstra. She loves exploring everything New York City has to offer and is a major foodie.