#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin on life, love, and the big screen.
Two years ago, author Emily Giffin gave us The One and Only and now she’s roaring back with the release of First Comes Love, already a #1 New York Times best seller. Here, Giffin joined us for a chat about her latest novel, owning your life, and the movie debut of her beloved book Something Blue.
A lot of fans have been waiting for your latest book, First Comes Love, but what makes this one different than your previous novels? EMILY GIFFIN: I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and I think that the main difference between First Comes Love and my seven previously published novels (as well as the unpublished one before them) is that it’s less about finding “the one” and romantic love, and much more about finding your life. It’s about strong women—and men—making unconventional, brave choices for themselves.
I got the sense that it’s a story about two women who have allowed their lives to pass by them, and eventually confront who they’ve become fifteen years after their brother’s passing—would that be an accurate assessment? EG: Yes, I think that that’s true. I think that can happen to people for a lot of reasons—that we can get stuck in a moment, so to speak, and that moment can quickly turn into years. For Josie and Meredith, I think it happened because of their shared tragedy, and their inability to fully move on from it. And it’s not just the grief—it’s that they used the tragedy as a crutch rather than taking control of their present, their future. As they face the anniversary of their brother’s death and begin coming to terms with the circumstances surrounding it, they take a crucial step towards reclaiming their lives. It’s a tough thing to do—to get out of those ruts and really take a hard look at yourself, but it’s the only way to truly move forward.
I think a lot of your readers are going to find themselves in the characters of this book.But how do they get control back the way your characters Josie and Meredith end up doing before the books close? EG: I think you really have to come to terms with the past. Without that, you’ll never be free to be true to yourself, or to live anything resembling an authentic life. It’s a theme that appears in many of my books, and it’s something I faced when I left my stable job as an attorney to write full-time back in 2001. Sometimes we have to shake things up, take a risk, and follow our hearts despite the obstacles or nagging doubts holding us back. Even if it doesn’t work out, so to speak, there is real growth that comes with change. After all we are all works in progress, right?
Is that why your books often end ambiguously? EG: For sure. I think in that sense my stories mirror real life. I’m an optimistic person, I’m a hopeful person, and I try to leave my characters in hopeful places, with an understanding of the past and an eye toward the future. But my endings are never really wrapped up with a neat bow and a contented sigh that comes with a true “happily ever after.” That’s not life. That’s not realistic.
Before I let you go, I have to ask about your book Something Blue and the news that it will finally be hitting the big screens.Can you give us any insight into what this new movie will be like and what the script looks like? EG: I actually wrote an early draft, which was then completely rewritten by a husband-wife team of writers. I was so worried that I wouldn’t like it after the rewrite, but it is amazing. So funny, smart, and filled with heart. After reading the script, I know it wouldn’t be a flimsy, vapid “chick flick”—but a deeper romantic comedy, more in the vein of Nancy Meyers or Nora Ephron.