A Heart to Heart with Emily Giffin

May 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm , by

HEART OF THE MATTER C 3I happen to be a huge fan of chick lit. Not the sappy, preachy, predictable-ending kind where the heroine gets the man and the job and the cake and eats it too, but the realistic, emotional, relatable kind where the heroine finds herself and her happiness and maybe a man, if he’s lucky. So I was excited to get the chance to talk to Emily Giffin, author of Something Borrowed (currently being filmed in NYC) and Something Blue, about her new book, Heart of the Matter, which hit stores on Tuesday. It’s the intertwined story of a single, working mom, a stay-at-home mother and her pediatric surgeon husband, the event that links the three of them together and what happens when they all make decisions they can’t take back.

This book is a little more serious than your earlier novels.

My characters have grown up as I’ve grown up. I think as you get older and you make the decision to have children,  things become more serious in that your mistakes can impact somebody else. But I don’t see this as a radical departure from what I’ve done. I’ve always written about the complexities of relationships. As I wrote this book I thought a lot about how we tend to view our lives as these fairy tales, these picture-perfect stories, and when something doesn’t fit within that – when somebody disappoints us or a relationship isn’t exactly what we thought – we tend to panic. I write a lot about redemption and forgiveness, because I think forgiveness and empathy are the keys to so much in life. I also think it’s important sometimes to say, okay, there was a mistake made or a misturn, and we need to embrace it. I think there can be beauty in the mistakes.

Where did the inspiration for the new book come from? Did you know what would happen when you started writing?

I definitely start out with a premise, like what if you ran into your one who got away, or what if you and your soulmate suddenly wanted very different things, or if you fell in love with your best friend’s fiancée. From that premise I come up with characters, and the characters really drive it. That said, I definitely have a sense of beginning, middle and end when I write. I have this very basic outline of a story, it’s just fleshed out so much as I get to know the characters.

How’s the movie, Something Borrowed, coming along? Are you involved in the production? [It's currently filming in NYC, and stars Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin.]

I’ve been very involved. They have included me in everything from discussions about the script to casting and everything in between. It’s been really fun. When I saw the set design for Rachel’s apartment, and I went back and read the book, I hadn’t even described some of the things yet it was exactly how I pictured it to be. It’s crazy how much it feels like my vision is being brought to life. So it’s really exciting. And I have a cameo!

[BOOK SPOILER ALERT!!!! Well, semi-spoiler alert. The bit I'm giving away happens pretty early! Read on after the jump.]

In your new novel, like in some of your others, there’s a love triangle. Have you ever been in oEmily Giffin headshotne yourself?

No, I actually haven’t, which is surprising given the fact that it has been a theme for me. My books are not autobiographical, not based on characters or people I know or any sort of reality. But you’re able to explore so many different issues with that one theme. I think this one is much more of a study on marriage, and the mystery of marriage. No one can really understand the inner workings of someone else’s relationship. Sometimes even the two people in it can be very confused by it.

Dex and Rachel from the Something books pop up in Heart of the Matter. Will we see them again in future novels?

Maybe. I love coming up with new characters and stories and creating new worlds. I think that’s one of the most fun parts about what I do, coming up with that world. So I always hesitate to revisit one when I feel like there are so many more characters to meet. But I am curious about them, and I do think about them, which is why I had them crop up in this one. So I think it’s a possibility. I want to give them some time to do something interesting.

Check out the clip below of Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon narrating the first chapter of the Heart of the Matter audiobook.

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