Acclaimed author Emily Giffin discusses her new novel, the Chicago-area stops on her book tour, and how growing up in Naperville inspired her writing career.
Chicago-native author Emily Giffin.
Emily Giffin—author of chick-lit, cult favorites like Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong—got her start in creative writing class at Naperville North High School. Next Wednesday (May 28), the six-time New York Times-bestselling author comes to Chicago to sign and discuss her new book, The One & Only, at Bloomingdale's on North Michigan Avenue (5:30-8 p.m., 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-440-4460; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to attend).
We sat down with Giffin to discuss what inspired her new book, how growing up in Naperville kick-started her writing career, and why she loves chickens.
Tell us about your new book, The One & Only. EMILY GIFFIN: It's a little different than what I've written in the past in that it's set in Texas in the world of college football. But it's still very much a relationship-driven story with a friendship and a romance at its center. One of the themes I tried to explore is the idea of unconventional relationships—and what happens when you fall in love with the one person you shouldn't?
What made you write about football? EG: I have a passion for college sports and have [had that passion] since I was a young girl. I actually chose Wake Forest for college because I was promised a job as manager of the basketball team by the coaches there. It was an incredible experience and I'm still friends with the coaches and many of the players. So I considered writing about basketball, but I thought football in Texas was a bit more colorful. I've actually described this book as a cross between Friday Night Lights and When Harry Met Sally.
What was it like growing up in Chicago? EG: I actually grew up in Naperville, which I think is the most wholesome, apple-pie, All-American town. I went to Naperville North High School where I had amazing teachers, including an English teacher who really encouraged my creative writing. I love returning to Naperville on every book tour, and will be at Anderson's, a fabulous indie bookstore, on Tuesday, May 27 (7 p.m., 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, 630-355-2665)
Have you ever set a book in Chicago? EG: Yes. My last novel Where We Belong was partially set on the North Shore. It's such a beautiful place. My husband and I have talked about moving there from Atlanta, but I'm not sure I can endure the cold after so many years away.
What are some of your favorite places in Chicago? EG: My favorite hotel in the country is The Peninsula. It really is like coming home whenever I roll in there—and I've written part of every novel while staying there. I actually have a week stay coming up this summer when I start my eighth novel. I also love to shop and eat in Chicago. Some of my favorite restaurants are Lula Cafe, Avec, and Grace. My children—I have twin sons who are 10 and a 6-year-old daughter—love to go to Cubs games and Oak Street Beach. And [my daughter] Harriet loves American Girl Place.
Is there anything else you want to tell us? EG: I love chickens! Unfortunately all three of our beloved pet chickens met an early demise in the past year, but we have a whole new brood of baby chicks now and are just trying to keep them straight before we name them. Chickens make such sweet pets, and are so much smarter than most people realize. Plus, there is nothing better than fresh eggs!