WASHINGTON— When Emily Giffin graduated from law school, she had a plan.
It didn’t involve landing a job at a large Manhattan law firm— she already did that. Her plan was to work for as long as she needed at that demanding job until she paid off her student loans. Then, she was going to quit and write a novel.
That plan doesn’t work for everyone, but for Giffin, it did.
After five years, the University of Virginia law graduate said “goodbye” to the lawyer life and started to write full-time.
“Everyone goes to law school when they have no idea what it is they want to do or they’re afraid to do what they want to do. I mean, how often do you meet a ‘used to be’ doctor?” said Griffin, who was recently in D.C. for a book signing at The Hepburn.
“I think that writers know that from a very early age. It’s just something that’s in you.”
Of course, success wasn’t immediate. Giffin says she struggled for a few years before she became a celebrated author.
“I had written a manuscript to a novel that was rejected by eight publishers — everyone I submitted it to,” she said.
But in 2004, her book, “Something Borrowed,” which was later turned into a movie starring Kate Hudson and Gennifer Goodwin, climbed the charts to popularity. This summer, the New York Times bestselling author is out with her eighth book, “First Comes Love.”
Giffin’s new novel focuses on two sisters, both of whom are at a crossroads in their lives and are forced to come to terms with a family tragedy.
“They’re really asking themselves: are they living the life they’re meant to be living?” Giffin explained.
Meredith, who has a husband and a child, questions her path and her marriage. Her sister, Josie, on the other hand, would give anything to be in Meredith’s shoes, and even considers having a child without a significant other.
At first, Giffin says she was hesitant to tackle the complex relationship of sisterhood. (She, herself, has a sister, and they are close in age and in bond.)
“I think part of me was concerned I wouldn’t be able to separate myself from the one relationship I’ve had my whole life … But sister stories have always fascinated me and it was a lot of fun to explore this family dynamic,” she said.
In addition to sibling rivalry, Giffin says exploring how different people cope with tragedy inspired the novel, as did women in their 30s realizing, “this isn’t what I imagined for myself.”
“But it’s always hard to pinpoint the one inspiration, because it’s so many different things,” she said.
Giffin’s latest book will no doubt find its way into the beach bags of many readers this summer. But if you’re looking to expand your summer reading list, we found out what’s on Giffin’s nightstand this season.
Here’s what she’s reading: Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Eligible,” Leigh Himes’ “The One That Got Away,” Allison Winn Scotch’s “In Twenty Years,” Rumaan Alam’s “Rich and Pretty,” and Julia Claiborne Johnson’s “Be Frank With Me.”