G Is for GIFFIN
Giffin, Emily. n. The “modern-day Jane Austen.” The queen of contemporary U.S. chick lit.
When I got the letter “G” in this chick lit scavenger hunt challenge, “Giffin” was the first thought that popped into my head. My next thought was, “Nah.” And then, “Why not?” Debatably the queen of chick lit on the North American continent, Emily Giffin is the reason I personally chose to write in this genre. As soon as I read the opening paragraphs of Something Borrowed, I knew I’d found a literary best friend—and by that I mean Emily herself, though her heroines are also people I’d happily hang out with over cocktails.
Though I love Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner and the like, Emily Giffin is the writer who hooked me on chick lit. Her stories are compelling from page one, and her characters are strong, professional, relatable women with problems far more interesting than mine. It’s gorgeous escapism. Reading Emily Giffin is like hanging out with girlfriends, which is THE reason I love this genre best of all. It’s what I aim for with my own books.
A few facts about Emily that solidify my adulation of her as a reader and fellow writer:
- She’s Southern. Not Southern-born, maybe, but Emily and her family live in Atlanta, and she’s written her city (citIES, but I’ll get to that) into her stories. I do the same thing with my hometown, Memphis. The South has its own special flavor, and I love reading it in EG’s books and writing it into my own.
- She’s a reformed lawyer. Emily Giffin quit the law because she hated working jillions of thankless hours at a New York firm. She’d always wanted to be a writer but took the law path as a matter of practicality. I took a different path to arrive in the same place. (Well, not the same place. I don’t have eight international bestsellers and a Kate Hudson movie to my credit … yet.) I took the LSAT and filled out my law school application, but I never applied. I read a book that made me rethink the decision (Law School Confidential—a book that helped shape my career and my life). I took a very different path to design school and didn’t start writing fiction until years later, but I’m convinced that, like Emily, I would have become a writer no matter what else I tried to do.
- She’s lived in and written about my favorite places. Something Borrowed is set in New York, drawing from EG’s own experience as an attorney in Manhattan. Something Blue is set in London and came from Emily’s own time in the UK. Along with Memphis, they’re my two favorite cities in the world. And one day, I want to live in the UK and set a book there, too. (Not stalking you Emily Giffin, promise…)
- She’s a smart, cool chick, which is probably why she writes them so well. Did I say I wasn’t stalking EG? Well, I did attend a book signing when she visited The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis, and I might have done a happy dance when the store’s marketing director told me she’d given a copy of my first book to the Queen herself. (My book was set up on a display beside hers at the time, and I’d had a signing there the same week.) At any rate, it was my little brush with greatness, and hearing EG speak was super fun. She’s funny, witty, sarcastic and instantly likeable. Those qualities come through in her writing, but it was cool to get in-person verification.
So during this sixth International Chick Lit Month, consider this my homage to one of the genre’s greats. Thanks for the great reads, Emily Giffin!! PS: My favorite EG book to date is Love the One You’re With. Just, you know, in case you’re seeking #chicklitreads recommendations. 🙂
Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry.” Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22, at midnight EDT. A winner will be chosen Monday, May 23. Best of luck!