Amazon Exclusive: A Conversation Between Kristin Hannah and Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin (left) is the author of five New York Times bestselling novels, including Something Borrowed, which has been adapted as a major motion picture that will be in theaters in summer 2011. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her family.
Kristin Hannah (right) is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels, including Winter Garden. She is a former lawyer turned writer and the mother of one son. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Kristin Hannah: Well, first, I have to say, Emily, that I am just the tiniest bit irritated with you. When I got the call to do this interview, I was thrilled, to say the least. It came at a really busy time for me--right after the holidays and we all know how crazy that is--and my work in progress was giving me fits. Then I picked up
Emily Giffin: It never fails to thrill me when someone responds to one of my novels--especially when it's another writer. Writers understand the alchemy involved in making up something from nothing. And I just finished your book,
Kristin: Ah, the idea question. I don't want to sound coy, but the truth is, I don't quite know. It's the most magical part of the process for me. I'm a pretty analytical gal, and I approach writing in the same just-the-facts-ma'am way I approach most things. I need to find an issue that engages me on an intellectual level, and then I need to marry that curiosity with a kind of passion. I need to feel genuinely passionate about each story before I ever write a word, and I have to actually have something to say. It takes me at least a year to research and write a novel, and so I have to really adore each part of it--the characters, setting, story. Most of all, it has to make me feel something genuine. That's really the most important component. Usually it begins with a single "what if" question--what if you discovered your mother had a whole secret life about which you knew nothing (
Kristin: I'm amazed by how much we have in common. We're both moms, both lawyers, both lived in London for a time. You're like a younger, cooler version of me. How did you make the transition from lawyer to writer, and do you think you'll ever practice law again?
Emily: I would hardly say I'm cooler than you, Kristin! I hear you live in Hawaii part time! What is cooler than that? I made the transition from lawyer to writer because I was so miserable being a lawyer that I needed some escape from the day-to-day of it. And inventing stories was that escape. I can say, without hesitation, that I will never practice law again. Would you? What kind of law did you practice, and for how long? What did you find appealing (or discouraging) about law? Did you find that it gave you fodder for any of your novels?
Kristin: Honestly, I have met very few lawyers who don't say that what they really want to do is write. Like you, I can say with certainty that I will never practice law again. Not that anyone would want me to. But I still keep my Bar membership up...just in case this whole writing thing doesn't work out. And yes, in the past few years, I have finally begun to put some of that law school education to work for me. I find that I'm really enjoying adding legal issues to my work. Of course, I have to talk to real lawyers to make sure I'm getting it right...Read more of the conversation between Emily Giffin and Kristin Hannah
From Publishers Weekly
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