Lauren Wise is a writer and producer known for her quirky sense of humour and love for entertaining people. She has cast, created, and produced short films such as Mixed Messages, The Dinner Party and Sorry. She has written many screenplays and worked as a writer’s assistant for Just for Laughs Galas in Montreal. This year she released her first novel, Swap Club, which follows one woman’s sexual awakening as she and her husband join a clandestine Montreal swingers club.

SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?

LW: How much time we spend on our phones and what kind of culture we have created by having a camera, the internet and messaging at our fingertips 24/7. On my way. Sorry, that wasn’t for you.

What was the last Netflix series you binged on?

Stranger Things. I know I’m late to the game…

One new thing you learned this year?

That anything is possible. Donald Trump is President of the United States.

What memory brings a smile to your face?

The first time I saw my daughter on stage in a dance recital. I kept hitting the poor guy next to me saying, “She’s my daughter!” My father said, “I know. Stop hitting me.”

What book/song/lyric/etc is resonating with you right now?

“Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson. My seven-year-old step-daughter has chosen the song for her upcoming recital and the lyrics are deeply moving. The line, “My heart can’t possibly break when it wasn’t even whole to start with” is so profoundly sad to me.

Describe the funniest thing you’ve experienced in recent memory.

We were just north of Toronto and I was on the phone with my step-son, who asked, “Which direction is north?” I responded, “Depends on the way you are facing,” to which he said, “I am facing forwards.”

Best advice you’ve been given?

You can’t win every battle, so choose the ones that really matter.

What is the best part of being your current age?

That I feel empowered at forty and not depressed about it like I had anticipated. My career is at an all-time high, with the release of my novel and it being optioned to become a film; it is amazing to me. (And I think I still look thirty-nine-and-a-half.)

What word or phrase should we use more often?

People should say, “I don’t know.” (Not me, but people.) Some people think they have all the answers and come off as know-it-alls and it makes me crazy. It’s okay to not know stuff.

What’s on your night table?

My phone, my Pjammer alarm clock from the 80s, and a picture of my late step-father, Max. And then usually my laptop and some sort of candy wrapper or leftover chocolate from Halloween.

What one item would you be lost without (besides your phone)?

Jasen. I know he is not an item per se, but I have become less materialistic as I’ve gotten older and have become less attached to things and more attached to people. Jasen came into my life and loved me at a time when I felt my lowest. He got me back on my feet, and Swap Club would never be what it is without his motivation and encouragement to keep going when everyone was telling me it wasn’t good enough. Also my Adidas.

Your biggest literary pet peeve?

Having just gone through the process of writing a book, I have let go of many of my literary pet peeves as people in glass houses should not throw stones. Or walk around without a towel.

What trends are you loving right now?

Army camouflage everything, sneakers with dresses, thicker eyebrows (on women).

Who was your celebrity crush when you were a kid?

Leonardo DiCaprio as Luke on Growing Pains was definitely one of my faves (still is. Leo, ignore all that stuff about Jasen). Okay maybe Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains too (Kirk, ignore the part about ignoring the part about Jasen). That show really knew how to keep a young female audience tuned in week after week.

What do you love about Toronto?

My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew live there so I travel to Toronto as often as possible. I love eating at Momofuku, the Drake Diner, and Little India. I love taking my kids to the Aquarium and for rides on the streetcar. And I really love how sweet and warm retailers are; it makes you understand why people think Canadians are so nice.