‘Younger’ gets meta with real-life release of ‘Marriage Vacation’

Pauline Turner Brooks has a big book coming out this summer. But you won’t find her at any release parties.

Like her book, “Marriage Vacation,” Brooks is a work of fiction — a character from TV’s “Younger.”

On the last season of the NYC-set TV show, Brooks, played by Jennifer Westfeldt, was preparing to release a buzzy roman à clef “Marriage Vacation,” inspired by a sabbatical the character took from her Upper East Side life.

Empirical, the fictional publishing house run by Brooks’ husband, Charles (Peter Hermann), is publishing the book, thanks in part to millennial editor Kelsey (Hilary Duff) and her pseudo-millennial counterpart, Liza (Sutton Foster).

As last season wrapped with “Marriage Vacation” yet to hit fictional bookshelves, editors at another, very real publishing house, Simon & Schuster, wanted to see the appealing title in hardcover (and paperback, because it’s a perfect beach read).

“We are big fans of the show,” says Dana Trocker, associate director of marketing at Simon & Schuster. “Part of the joy of ‘Younger’ is seeing the books that they publish, some are real and some are clearly fabricated. I was watching the plot unfold with the publication of ‘Marriage Vacation’ and I thought that if it was a real book, I would read that book. And then I thought: That should be a book.”

So Trocker asked senior editor Christine Pride if she also thought the fictional “Marriage Vacation” should be a book. It was “a very simple answer: absolutely,” Pride says.

This was last November. Knowing that “Younger” would return in the summer, the publishing team wanted to make sure the metafiction title was available to coincide with season five, when “Marriage Vacation” would be published on the show.

Both the real-life book and new season of “Younger” are out this Tuesday.

For the role of Brooks, Pride tapped author Jo Piazza, who wrote “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win,” which Pride edited and Simon & Schuster is releasing this July.

Together, they wrote an outline of the plot based on the elements of “Marriage Vacation” which had already been teased on the show. Viacom, TV Land and “Younger” collaborated on confirming that the outline would work with the new season.

“Pauline was fascinating to write because we only see glimpses of her personality on the show and yet we also see Liza fall in love with her book,” Piazza says.

As a fan of the show, Piazza knew “Marriage Vacation” would be an intriguing read, but she wasn’t exactly sure why.

“We wanted Pauline to be multilayered — she’s a smart, sophisticated woman who let her dreams get away from her and she wanted them back,” Piazza says of her inspiration to write as the character, who adapts the pseudonym Kate Carmichael in the novel. “I think that’s something most women can relate to.”

Despite Kate’s choice to leave her family for a year, Piazza wanted the character to be relatable and likable.

“In the end, we tried to strike a balance between this fantasy of leaving your marriage for a fun break, or a vacation and also trying to find yourself again,” she says.

The novel isn’t just to entertain “Younger” fans between episodes.

“What’s perfect about ‘Marriage Vacation’ is that it’s integrated enough into the storyline that it’s a pivotal part of the show, but it also can stand alone as a novel,” Pride says. “For ‘Younger’ fans, there’s enough tie-in to the show and a few Easter eggs that people who have watched episodes twice or more, will be excited to find throughout the novel.”


The new season of “Younger” premieres June 5 on TV Land.