chick lit

With Friends Like These: An Interview with Sally Koslow

August 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm , by

In Sally Koslow’s third novel, With Friends Like These, four women—Quincy, Talia, Chloe, and Jules—struggle to maintain their ten-year friendship. Some have babies, some don’t. Some have money, some don’t. Some have happy marriages, some…not so much. But those differences haven’t seemed to matter until now—when what the women thought were lifelong loyalties are betrayed.

What do you consider to be the central message of With Friends Like These?
It’s that friendship is fragile. And it gets increasingly complex as our lives become more complicated. It’s somewhat more straightforward when we’re in our twenties, but as our lives progress we have partners, children, financial constraints, ambition and professional rivalry. We would like to be able to do the right thing by our friends, but sometimes our more immediate goal is pleasing our families.

Was there one character you most related to?
I put parts of myself, people in my imagination, as well as little tiny molecules of people I’ve known in my real life into all four women. I tried to draw on my better and worse parts to create four characters that were realistically flawed. I don’t think there are any villainesses here. While a reader might relate to one more than others, I tried very hard to come up with situations that reflect real dilemmas people face.

Because two of the characters ultimately betray their best friends, some critics may say these women reinforce some of the negative stereotypes about women—the back stabbing and cattiness. How would you respond to that?
Well, I think that stereotypes come out of truth, and I think that life is not all Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Women are no worse than the other gender when it comes to looking out for themselves. I feel this book is a pretty accurate portrayal, but I would urge readers to read to the very end because it’s about forgiveness and regrets. We do often live with a lot of regret, and I think that when we’re 25 years old or even 35 years old we might think that if we lose a friend, there’s somebody else to replace that person. And that’s simply not the case. Sometimes you have a whole phantom limb where that friend used to be—and you feel that for the rest of your life. To a certain extent the book’s a cautionary tale.

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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.]

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