Lana Ferguson talks The Nanny, inspiration and what’s next

The Nanny by Lana Ferguson. Image courtesy Berkley Books
The Nanny by Lana Ferguson. Image courtesy Berkley Books /

Reading a debut author is always exciting and for 2023, one author I’d been dying to read was Lana Ferguson.

Ferguson is set to release her debut novel, The Nanny on April 11th, 2023. Upon hearing the premise of it, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. Thankfully, Berkley made that happen along with scheduling an interview with her.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Nanny follows Cassie who is a former OnlyFans model and Aiden who is a single dad that hires her to help take care of his daughter. If the premise sounds amazing, then you’ll want to check out our interview and hopefully, it’ll inspire you to pick up the book upon release.

If you’re excited about The Nanny or just want to find out a bit more about Lana Ferguson, then we’ve got the scoop.

Lana Ferguson shares thoughts on her debut, her inspiration, and more!

Culturess: With a title like The Nanny, I’m sure a lot of our minds went to the hit TV series. Were you inspired by the show or did the idea for the story come from somewhere else?

Lana Ferguson: I can’t lie and say that this book isn’t a horny little baby born from a sexually frustrated younger Lana screaming at a television because Mr. Sheffield wasn’t just grabbing Fran by her overly hair sprayed curls and kissing the hell out of her. That was a compound sentence, but I have a lot of compound feelings about this. Five seasons before ending the will-they-won’t-they? How dare they. Not in my book.

Also, after the OnlyFans element made its way into the story, I ended up borrowing Cassie’s OnlyFans name from CC Babcock, because, I mean. CC. Babcock. There’s an immature joke there just dying to be made.

Culturess: A huge part of the story is Cassie previously having OnlyFans. Did you always plan on writing a character who was a former sex worker?

Lana Ferguson: Not when I originally started plotting, but once the idea got into my head, I fell in love with it. Writing a female lead who is bright and funny and great with kids and also a past sex worker I hope highlights how the people in this industry are just as multifaceted as people with any other job. They have lives and friends and interests and struggles—they’re people, and I find it frustrating when they are depicted in the media as anything less. I loved having the opportunity to include this element, and I can only hope that it resonates with someone in a positive way.

Culturess: Bouncing off the last question, The Nanny is an incredibly steamy book and features a lot of great sexy scenes between Cassie and Aiden. How were you able to write such explosive chemistry between the two?

Lana Ferguson: I think the key to writing good chemistry is really getting to know your characters at a personal level. A lot of my personality traits/quirks tend to sneak themselves into my characters (they say write what you know, eh?), which definitely makes it easier to know the ins and outs of their personality (it also explains their terrible sense of humor). I think having a good grasp on what they as individuals would find appealing makes it easier to play one off the other. Just like people in real life need that “spark” to connect, so do your characters. Knowing them personally only makes writing their chemistry easier, and it also makes it read more natural.

As for the actual act of writing steamy scenes…I consume a lot of, ahem, reference material, keeping mindful of the body and how it moves. These scenes I write play out in my head, and I try to pull at the threads that feel most natural while still being erotic. Again, I try to be mindful of my character, putting myself in their head and imagining what they would like, what they would do or say. I think writing a sex scene that a reader connects with (in mind and nether region) all boils down to making it feel as authentic as it can be so that they can fully immerse themselves. Sex is fun and messy and not always perfect—but that’s what makes it real.

Culturess: Sometimes in single-parent books, the kids can feel like a bit of an afterthought yet Sophie was a huge part of the story and deservedly so. How did you balance writing such a steamy romance while also featuring Sophie and her story?

Lana Ferguson: I actually modeled Sophie after a very real nine-year-old, one that is too smart for their own good and full of just as many questions. I knew that writing a child as a main character with the premise of a single dad romance meant that I would have to pay attention to Sophie’s actual wants and needs. Putting yourself in the mind of a child is difficult, but her existence is such a pivotal part of Aiden and Cassie’s relationship (without her, they would literally never have found each other again), and that meant that she deserved to be more than just some backdrop to their relationship.

I think the most important thing was ensuring that Sophie had moments to shine, to have a real personality that showed her as part of the growing family unit they were becoming. I wanted all my characters to find a happy ending, and I fully believe that if Sophie wasn’t happy by the end of the story, it meant Aiden hadn’t grown into the dad he wanted to be, and there is no way Cassie could be satisfied with that outcome.

Culturess: Wanda is one of my favorite characters in the book. She’s so much fun and I couldn’t get enough of her advice for Cassie. Was there someone you modeled Wanda after?

Lana Ferguson: Absolutely. My grandmother. For my entire life, she has been a person that never holds back what she thinks. She has strong beliefs, and she never shies away from telling you about them if she feels necessary. I have always felt a strong bond with her from a young age, and her advice, while sometimes hard to hear, has always been one that I have held to a higher standard. She also says whatever thing that pops into her head at any given moment without any care as to who might hear. Can relate.

It’s very full-circle, knowing that she (at the time of writing this) has this incredibly steamy book I wrote pre-ordered to put on her shelf. A Catherine Coulter novel was my first introduction to romance (it’s been almost eighteen years, and Alexandra and Douglas still live rent free in my head), and I pulled it off the same shelf that my novel will sit on. I love that.

Culturess: I feel like I speak for everyone who has read this book, but could we eventually maybe see a bonus scene or short story in which Aiden cooks for Cassie? I loved reading about a chef DILF but I was dying to see him cook, too.

Lana Ferguson: I have to assume that every writer looks back at their finished work and has that one thing they wished they included (or at least, that’s what I tell myself so that I can sleep at night), and this is mine. There was just so much close proximity between Cassie and Aiden, and their constant dancing around each other paired with his hectic work schedule meant that there was simply no good time to put a scene like that in the book.

That being said, I would love to write bonus content for them; I actually pitched an idea for future bonus content that involves a scene from their, ah, past internet encounters that I hope happens, and adding a dinner scene (hopefully that preludes Cassie becoming the meal) is more than fine with me. (I’ll see myself out.)

Culturess: What’s your next project we can look forward to?

Lana Ferguson: I have another book set to release in the fall called The Fake Mate. It’s a contemporary romcom that is a play on fake dating, but with a twist, since…they’re shifters. So, more like fake mating? A taciturn interventional cardiologist who most people are afraid to talk to suddenly finds himself in need of a fake mate, and wouldn’t you know it, the sunshiny new ER physician just lied to her Gran about having a boyfriend to get out of another bad blind date. What could go wrong?

Lana Ferguson’s debut novel, The Nanny will be released on April 11th, 2023.

dark. Next. Interview: Kaitlyn Hill talks Not Here To Stay Friends and more

Will you be picking up The Nanny or Lana Ferguson’s upcoming release this fall? Share in the comments!