Emily Giffin is something of a superstar in the world of publishing. She’s the bestselling author of eight novels which have been translated into 31 languages and sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. Something Borrowed, her first book, was adapted for film in 2011 and starred Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson and John Krasinski. So yeah. Superstar might actually be an understatement.
Emily’s book tours are legendary. She draws the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen turn up for an author of contemporary fiction. We’re talking hundreds of readers at each stop. Over the course of the past six years, I’ve travelled to two different cities on four separate occasions to hear Emily speak. I might be a little obsessed. (I totally am.) So of course I wasn’t about to miss the chance to see her on the promotional tour for her just-released book, First Comes Love.
Emily was kind enough to chat with me and give all of us at HelloGiggles the scoop on everything from her favorite book boyfriends to the upcoming Something Blue movie (which is totally happening! Cannot. Wait.). She’s every bit as charming and real and wonderful as anyone who follows her on social media would expect.
HG: What was your inspiration for writing your newest book, First Comes Love?
EG: Sister stories have always been among my favorite in fiction. So I was excited to write First Comes Love, a story told from the alternating perspectives of two thirty-something sisters, Josie and Meredith, each facing a critical crossroads in her life, while struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy and the secrets that surround it. The book is about the sister bond, for sure, but also about marriage and motherhood, friendship and family. And of course it’s about love–it’s always about love!
HG: First Comes Love is told in the alternating POVs of two sisters, Josie and Meredith. Which sister do you identify with more, and why?
EG: One of the things I try to do in all of my books is create empathy for each of the characters, despite their circumstances or sometimes unsympathetic choices. In that sense, I can certainly identify with aspects of both Josie’s and Meredith’s lives, though the book is not autobiographical. And think that all readers will be able to relate to that moment when you ask yourself, “Am I really living the life I’m meant to live?”
HG: Some of your books are written from the POV of one character (Something Borrowed, Something Blue, The One and Only, etc.), while others are told from multi-POVs (The Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, First Comes Love). Do you have a preference as far as writing from singular or multi-POV? At the start of a project, what factors go into determining the book’s format?
EG: I love writing both ways, but maybe I have a slight preference for the two voices. I spend over a year writing a book so it’s nice to be inside two heads rather than just one.
HG: Your book Something Borrowed was made into a movie starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Colin Egglesfield, Kate Hudson and John Krasinski. (And it was awesome.) If you were to imagine casting First Comes Love as a film, which actors would you choose for the lead roles? (And please include Gabe because I have a massive literary crush on him now.)
EG: Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie…Casting is so hard for me because I picture the characters a particular way and it’s never like any one actor. I do love Reese for Meredith, though she could play Josie too. Maybe Jennifer Aniston as Meredith and Reese as Josie? That would be amazing! And I agree with you about Gabe! I love him too—so much that I don’t want to cast him yet!
HG: Your book tours are immensely popular, and your readers are so happy that you continue to go on them. What are your favorite and least favorite things about traveling to promote your work?
EG: Meeting my readers is my favorite part. Writing is such a solitary profession, so it’s always gratifying and meaningful for me to meet my readers face to face. I love interacting with them on social media for the same reason. (Find me on @emilygiffinauthor and facebook.com/emilygiffinfans!)
Being away from my children is my least favorite part. I try to do everything I can to minimize that time apart, but I know that I’ll be missing a large chunk of their summer vacation. It’s a difficult trade-off, which is a feeling I’m sure every working mother can relate to.
HG: Of all the books you’ve written, is there one that’s nearest and dearest to your heart?
EG: This is such a difficult question! It’s sort of like asking a mother which child is her favorite. If I had to choose one, however, I think Something Blue will always be my sentimental favorite perhaps because of the timing in my own life. I was writing it when I was living in London and pregnant with my twin sons, a very special time in my life, and obviously mirrored what was happening with Darcy in the book (in fact, the scene when Darcy finds out she’s pregnant is pretty spot-on autobiographical!). Also, I just love the relationship between Ethan and Darcy.
HG: Before becoming a full-time writer, you worked as an attorney in Manhattan. You moved to London shortly after September 11, 2001 to write full time. Did the events of 9/11 have an impact on your decision? Or was your move to the UK already planned?
EG: My move was planned well in advance of 9/11, but oddly, I actually ended up being on the very first international flight they let out of New York following the attacks. It was crazy timing—and felt a bit like I was abandoning my city and country. So that, along with the jitters that came with giving up a stable professional life as an attorney for a very uncertain future as a writer, made it such a difficult, emotional move.
HG: Is there another genre you’ve thought about exploring as a writer? Or an idea you’ve always toyed with that would be a total surprise to your readers?
EG: I would love to write a YA novel. The first novel I wrote (that was universally rejected by the publishing world!) was YA. I would also love to write a book from the perspective of a male character. It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit, and feel like I could do well. I love my male characters.
HG: What are working on next?
EG: Right now I’m heading out on my book tour and focused on First Comes Love. Once the tour is over I’ll start my next book—and already have a few ideas and early seeds of inspiration. I’ll also be working on bringing Something Blue to the big screen. We have a fantastic script—and I promise it’s happening soon! Very soon!
HG: Who are your favorite book boyfriends?
EG: In my books, I have to to go with Gabe in First Comes Love or Ethan in Something Blue (though I thought Leo in Love the One You’re With is the hottest)…In all of literature, I have had crushes on Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, and of course Mr. Darcy!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Emily! Best of luck on the rest of your tour.