Emily Giffin is the gold standard when it comes to women’s fiction. Her success surges past a writer’s wildest dreams into the realm of the fantastical, encompassing everything from multiple New York Times bestsellers to movie deals to dozens of translations around the world. I think it’s fair to say she’s struck a chord with her readers; in fact, during a recent event in my city, the woman sitting next to me—a banking executive—confided with tears in her eyes that Giffin’s books had changed her life.
In person, Giffin is warm and witty. During her recent cross-country book tour, I had the opportunity to meet her backstage in Charlotte. She didn’t miss a beat as she pre-signed copies of her latest NYT bestseller—All We Ever Wanted—asking me so many supportive and enthusiastic questions about my own novel that the event organizers were forced to drag me out of the room with one of those big vaudeville hooks in order to get her onstage on time.
People often describe books as ‘unputdownable’ but in the case of All We Ever Wanted that is literally true: I was lucky enough to score an early copy and I read it in one sitting, so sucked into the story I nearly petrified. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. Her husband recently made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes, the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
Let’s learn a little more about Emily Giffin! Find out who she idolizes (and with whom she has since become friends), what she wishes she could do that she cannot, and the surprising thing she doesn’t ever do.
Kimmery Martin: Where do you love to be?
Emily Giffin: On my back porch, reading a good book with my dog Dolly at my feet, while my kids swim in the pool.
KM: Which talent do you wish you had?
EG: This is random since I don’t play tennis at all, but I’ve always wished I could be an amazing tennis player. Serena Williams is an absolute queen.
KM: When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
EG: A sports writer, but I imagined writing a novel on the side.
KM: Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about.
EG: I hate driving and don’t drive on highways.
KM: What is the best perk of your job?
EG: The complete freedom when it comes to my schedule. That and free, advance copies of books from my publisher and other authors.
KM: Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
EG: Yes. Van Jones. I convinced his publicist to send him to Atlanta so I could moderate an event for his book tour. He was amazing, and we have since become friends.
Emily Giffin, a Chicago native, graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, she moved to Manhattan and practiced litigation at a large firm for several years while she paid back her school loans, wrote a novel in her very limited spare time, and dreamed of becoming a writer.
Despite the rejection of her first manuscript, Giffin persisted, retiring from the legal profession and moving to London to pursue her dreams full time. It was there that she began writing Something Borrowed (2004), a story of a young woman who, upon turning thirty, finally learned to take a risk and follow her heart. One year later, Giffin’s own gamble paid off, as she completed her manuscript, landed an agent and signed a two-book deal on both sides of the Atlantic. The following summer, Something Borrowed, hailed as a “heartbreakingly honest debut” with “dead-on dialogue, real-life complexity and genuine warmth,” became a surprise sensation, and Giffin vowed never to practice law again.
Dubbed a “modern day Jane Austen” (Vanity Fair) and a “dependably down-to-earth storyteller” (New York Times), Giffin has penned six New York Times bestsellers, Something Blue (2005), Baby Proof (2006), Love the One You’re With (2008), Heart of the Matter (2010), Where We Belong (2012), The One & Only (2014) and First Comes Love (2016). Her eight novels, all filled with endearingly flawed characters and emotional complexity, have resonated deeply with both critics and readers around the world, achieving bestseller status in a number of countries, including the United States (#1), Canada (#1), United Kingdom, France, Brazil and Poland (#1). The books have been translated into thirty-one languages, with over eleven million copies sold worldwide. In addition, five of her novels have been optioned for the big screen and are in various stages of development. The first, Something Borrowed, hit theaters in May 2011, starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski.
Giffin now resides with her husband and three young children in Atlanta. Her ninth novel, All We Ever Wanted, was released on June 26, 2018.
Learn more about Emily Giffin on her website. This interview originally ran on The Debutante Ball on August 4, 2018.