Emily Giffin’s books have been translated into 31 languages, with more than 11 million copies sold worldwide—and counting. Before the Buckhead-based, bestselling author’s ninth novel arrives this summer, she shares her favorite places on and off the page.
You lived in New York and London while working on your first two novels, then relocated to Atlanta by the time your debut “Something Borrowed” hit shelves in 2004. How has living here shaped you as a writer?
My books are all relationship-focused, so most of my inspiration comes from people and emotions, rather than specific geographies. That said, Atlanta has been the setting in two of my nine books so far. It was a lot of fun to share my own neighborhood and so many places I love with my characters. I really consider Atlanta home now—and it certainly is to my three children, all of whom were born here!
Where are you when not writing?
In my own backyard. Whether reading, playing board games or drinking whiskey, I can often be found on my back porch with friends, family or my dog Dolly. It’s actually a great place to write, too—though that often ends up with whiskey and a nap!
Where do you take out-of-town visitors to show off the city?
I was a history major in college and especially love American history, so I always enjoy taking friends to the city’s historical sites, such as the Atlanta History Center, the King Center and the Margaret Mitchell House. Other than that, it’s all about shopping and dining out! I love the diversity of both scenes. Some of my favorite restaurants include Leon’s Full Service in Decatur, Local Three in Buckhead, Staplehouse in Old Fourth Ward and The Optimist on the Westside (ask for Mike Cook, the city’s best bartender!). I also love strolling around Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market and all the great farmers’ markets in town, especially the one at the Carter Center. Oh—and I’m totally psyched for our new soccer team. Go Atlanta United!
What’s one thing you crave often?
What is your go-to bookstore?
I’d say A Cappella Books in Inman Park, Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur and, for those outside the Perimeter, FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock. They are all fantastic independent bookstores run by bona fide book lovers and great people. Of course, the Barnes and Noble in Buckhead is right down the street, so we can often be found as a family, browsing books and drinking coffee!
A common theme with your characters is finding the courage to live life on their own terms— a theme that echoes your own choice to leave a career in law to pursue your dreams. What would you say to someone who may be fearing a change?
One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I really believe in this. My advice to fellow writers or anyone contemplating a change: be authentic while also taking risks.
Your work has been sold millions of copies worldwide, translated to more than 30 languages and the 2011 film adaptation of “Something Borrowed” starred Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski. What are you most proud of?
Honestly, just getting that first book deal was my most satisfying moment, simply because it was the culmination of a long-term dream. I had wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember, at least since the first grade. And after having gone through so many stages of being rejected to get to that point, it really felt like such a huge achievement.
You’ve had other books optioned for film, including “Something Blue” – the follow-up to “Something Borrowed” – and “First Comes Love.” Can fans expect to see these in the movies anytime soon?
Yes! We are very hopeful that "Something Blue" will go into production soon, and are working on a very fun television project involving my other books. Projects in Hollywood can be uncertain and slow, but I feel very optimistic about the producers I’m teaming up with.
You have cultivated a strong connection with your readers across the globe by regularly sharing personal updates on social media and even asking followers for their input on a plot. How does your online community affect your writing?
Writing is such a solitary activity, that I love being able to connect with my readers through social media. It is also a fun, natural way to keep me in touch with the people for whom I’m writing my stories. I find it to be inspiring and energizing.
What can you tell us about your latest book, “All We Ever Wanted”?
Set in Nashville [Tennessee], it’s a story about two families and how their lives intersect after a crisis. Although I explore love and friendship and relationships in much the same way I always do, there is some new terrain here. It’s the first time I’ve written specifically about money and privilege and entitlement. It’s also the first time I’ve written from a male point of view— which has been challenging but also a lot of fun.