It’s always a treat to have the opportunity to speak with authors after you’ve read their books. So I was thrilled to interview Emily Giffin about her latest novel, Heart of the Matter, for our May issue.
We mostly talked about Heart of the Matter, of course, but I was delighted as our conversation veered off-course a few times. I couldn’t include all of the great content in my print interview, so here's the dish on Giffin’s writing process, how she balances a full-time writing career with raising three young children and—gasp—some then “off-the-record” (and now public) details on the upcoming movie version of her debut novel, Something Borrowed.
We’ve heard the good news that Something Borrowed (and Something Blue) are being adapted for film. Something Borrowed is slated to begin filming this summer. What can you tell us about that experience?
It’s been totally thrilling and I’ve been very involved with the details and become very close to both producers and the director. It’s been such a positive experience. I’ve heard that it can be a very negative experience for writers and they can be completely not involved and hate the direction. They have listened to my thoughts, and they don’t always agree with what I say—which is fine, because I’ve always viewed it as a separate project—but they listen and they are just great people. So it’s been awesome. Ginnifer Goodwin has been cast as Rachel—she’s perfect. So sweet. And John Krasinski is in for Ethan.
[This is where Abby devolved into total celeb geek mode and Emily and Abby discussed all the casting options and possibilities. Recently, more of the cast has been revealed (and even seen on set the week of April 19), including: Kate Hudson as Darcy, Colin Egglesfield (from the new Melrose Place) as Dexter and Steve Howey (who co-starred with Hudson in Bride Wars) as Marcus. Giffin said the movie is slated for release in early spring 2011, and you can bet I’ll be first in line at the theaters.]
So will you get to be on set and meet all these fabulous people?
My book tour starts May 11 and filming starts April 27 and I’m like, 95% of my life is totally boring, why do these two things have to happen at once? But I should be able to get up there a few times. And technically, in the contract, I’m supposed to have a small speaking part.
How does your creative process work? What comes to you first? The characters? The situations?
It’s pretty much worked the same with all of my books. It’s more of a very general premise. What would happen if a woman fell in love with her best friend’s fiancé, or what would happen if a couple got married and then, a few years into their marriage, one changed their mind about something that was fundamental to their marriage? Or what would happen if you ran into your “one who got away” and suddenly you realized that being with him was an option. I think I always start with that scenario, and I try to make it very relatable. Most everyone has someone from their past who they wonder about; and most of us have a friendship that is not 100% pure, marked by an undertone of insecurity or competitiveness, or something toxic about it. I think women—people—of all ages can relate to that. So the situation comes first and then the characters emerge from that. And then as I get to know the characters and write about them, the plot comes after [that]. It’s a very character-driven process for me.
Do you outline and plan it all out?
No, I don’t. I haven’t for any of my books. I have a very general sense of beginning, middle and end, but I don’t outline any scenes or specifics. I just think to myself, “Ok, this is where they’re starting out, this is where they’re going and this is where I think they’ll end up.” But in many cases they don’t end up where I think they will because as I get to know them, I think to myself, “Well, that’s not actually what this person would do.” You get to know the characters as you spend time with them, and sometimes I’m very surprised. For me, it’s a lot more fun to write that way. It’s inefficient, but I enjoy the little surprises along the way.
How do you balance a full-time writing career with raising three young children?
I think it’s interesting that people often ask that question. In a way, I think it gives me too much credit. I think every time we go into a bookstore, Harriet that she’ll have a role model—someone who does both.
You initially tried to break into publishing by writing a YA novel. Do you ever think of revisiting that genre and writing anything for a younger audience now that you’re a best-selling author?
Occasionally. If I had more time, I definitely would. I have been writing the screenplay for Baby Proof and I’ve been thinking about young adult books. I just wish I had more time because there is so much I would like to do. But I have to prioritize because I do have small children and I don’t have all the time in the world to work. So I think I’m going to stick with what I’m doing, for the most part.
Are you working on your sixth novel? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’ve started it. But it’s a little too new to get into what it’s about.
Read the complete interview with Giffin on BookPage.com.
Fans of The Office—and funny women everywhere—rejoice! Writer/producer/blogger/twitterer Mindy Kaling (who plays the hilarious Kelly Kapoor on the workplace sitcom) has just inked a book deal with Random House’s Crown imprint.
The Contents of My Purse, slated for a fall 2011 release, will be “a collection of comic essays detailing moments from a woman’s life, including everything from relationships to fashion.”
Or, as Kaling tweeted: “My book will be essays and personal anecdotes, pictures, fashion, and general opinionated bossiness about how women should live. Twitter has an 140 character limit, but I hear books can have something like 500,000 characters!”
While she is best known for playing the outrageous, unstable Kapoor on The Office, Kaling is also co-executive producer of the show and has written 18 episodes over the course of its six seasons (the most recent of which was last night’s hilarious, ridiculous “Secretary’s Day.”)
If that didn’t keep her busy enough, Kaling has signed a deal to write and star in a new NBC comedy, and is in the process of writing her first feature-length film, The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie. Not too shabby for a woman on the cusp of her 31st birthday.
Are you a fan of Mindy Kaling? Will you buy her book?
What book blog posts have you enjoyed this week? Read on for a few of my top picks.
We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
Posted by You've GOTTA read this!
I've had Lionel Shriver on the brain since Trisha posted about the movie adaptation of We Need To Talk About Kevin. So yesterday, I was happy to see a long and thoughtful post about the book at You've GOTTA read this! Shriver's Orange Prize-winning novel about a mother's reaction to her son's high school shooting is "brilliant," according to Sandy. "It is just something you need to read when you are feeling resilient," she writes. "I don't think I can separate myself enough from the pain and anguish of reading this book to give it five stars, though on merit alone it deserves it. It will be a story that knocks around in my head for a long long time."
Posted by The Egalitarian Bookworm
Happy 446th birthday Shakespeare! Over at The Egalitarian Bookworm, Sarah is ringing it in in style with an excerpt from As You Like It ("It was a Lover and his Lass").
Become a BELIEVER
Posted by The Book Lady's Blog
Gina Welch went undercover at Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in order to write In the Land of Believers. In BookPage, reviewer Sarah E. White wrote that the book "provides a candid inside look at faith for people who don’t have a clue where evangelicals are coming from"—and she suggested that it might even alter a person's thoughts about "people of all faiths." If our review piqued your interest, you'll love Rebecca's blog post at The Book Lady's Blog. She links to a guest blog post Welch wrote for her about the initial seed of the book, and she links to other discussions and reactions to the book (including from an evangelical Christian). It's worth a look. Have you read In the Land of Believers? If so, share your thoughts in the comments.
The fall publishing season usually contains at least one blockbuster celeb bio. On the radar for 2010 is Keith Richards' Life, which will be released in October. Little Brown publisher Michael Pietsch calls it "the most exciting memoir I’ve ever had a hand in." He goes on to say
All those encounters and adventures we’ve heard of for decades—Redlands, Morocco, exile in France, Altamont—and the people—Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Gram Parsons, Patti Hansen, Johnny Depp and more—are here in Keith’s own vivid memories. The best news of all is how superbly written this book is. [Richards collaborated with writer James Fox.]
I can understand your disappointment if you got excited about Tinkers after hearing the buzz, and then logged into your favorite online retailer to buy the book—only to get messages like this:Well, this morning brought good news: PW reports that Perseus Books Group (a parent company of Bellevue Literary Press's distributor) expects a shipment of more than 100,000 copies of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to ship early next week. So, order the book now—Tinkers is coming!
Has anyone been able to snag a copy at the library or in a bookstore?
Comedian Sarah Silverman's first book came out on Tuesday. Called The Bedwetter, it's a hilarious (and foul-mouthed!) memoir that you'll gobble up in one sitting. Friend-of-BookPage Stephenie came up with some questions for Silverman, and I think you'll find a few of her answers surprising. Here's a teaser (click on the image to read the whole thing):
Have you read any good memoirs lately? Will you read The Bedwetter?
Last month I posted about John Grisham's debut children's novel—Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer—and today we have a little more information. Dutton released an excerpt from the novel as a PDF, which you can view here.
I took a quick look, and from what I've read, it's no wonder 13-year-old Theo wants to be a lawyer (or a judge; he hasn't decided yet). . . his mom and his dad are lawyers, and he has a dog named Judge! His favorite building in town is the courthouse, "where lawyers battled like gladiators and judges ruled like kings." In the opening scene, Theo comforts a friend whose parents are going through a divorce, and then he manages to convince a judge to let his class have guaranteed seats in the balcony for the opening day of a big trial. Not bad for a morning before school!
The book will be out May 25. . . will you read?
It's the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and of course we at BookPage have some reading suggestions to make! Anyone concerned about our planet's future shouldn't miss this Q&A with environmental activist Bill McKibben, who posits in his latest book, Eaarth, that climate change has already happened. Still, he says, it's not too late: "[W]e're going to need to be dealing with the ever-increasing effects of an unraveling climate, which will be costly and hard. But not impossible, not if we think clearly, calmly and as communities."
Other Earth day highlights include a roundup of environmental books for kids. Since we believe that reading can encourage environmental awareness in children, we're giving away three of the books from the roundup: Mary McKenna Siddals' Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth; Frances Barry's Let's Save the Animals; and 31 Ways to Change the World, produced by We Are What We Do. To enter to win, read Bill McKibben's Q&A and answer the following question in the comments section: What can we (as individuals) do to help our planet? The deadline is April 29 at 10 a.m.
Yesterday some BookPage staffers were reviewing summer middle grade novels, and I couldn't help but pause at the cover of Kathi Appelt's Keeper—and think of Katherine's cover déjà vu series over at A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore.
A person and an animal on a boat? Sea life lurking below the water's surface? For the record, I think Keeper is a lovely cover, and it looks even better in person (it's one of those thick squarish books that are so pleasing to hold).
Keeper will be out May 18 from Simon & Schuster. In the meantime, read about Appelt's Newbery Honor Book The Underneath.
Have you seen any book jackets lately that give you a weird sense of. . . déjà vu?
I don't watch a lot of late-night talk shows, but last night I flipped to the Late Show just as David Letterman was making fun of the Kindle—more specifically, joking about how the iPad will run Kindle out of business. During his monologue, Letterman ran a "commercial" about all the great things you can do with your Kindle. . . besides reading.
His suggestions (to watch the complete segment, view this YouTube clip; the commercial start around 3:10):
Of course, at BookPage, we've already made our thoughts known concerning Kindle vs. iPad. (If you missed Lynn's report, check it out here.) What do you think. . . is Dave right, and Kindle's on the outs?