I love reading in the summertime. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the yard or on the beach and getting lost in a good story. Lucky me that Emily Giffin released a new book, her tenth novel, titled The Lies That Bind this past June.
Emily Giffin always knew she wanted to be a writer. She remembers telling her parents that she was going to be an author when she grew up. She had a slight detour as a lawyer before she retired and moved to London to write full-time. Giffin published her first book in 2004, Something Borrowed and hasn’t stopped writing since.
Giffin’s tenth novel, The Lies That Bind, takes place in New York City in the months before and after 9/11. Like all of her books, all of the characters are complex and flawed. Says Giffin, “I find flawed characters so much more interesting than perfect ones. Life is about the gray areas. I believe most people are good at heart and sincerely try to do the right thing. Yet we are all capable of missteps and of hurting the people we love, and we all have had to grapple with the guilt and regret that come from these mistakes and weaknesses.”
Giffin finds inspiration in relationships and how people interact with one another. She explains, “My books are all relationship-focused for a very simple reason: my belief that nothing in life is more valuable than the sum of our relationships. So much of the noise in our lives revolve around things that are ultimately inconsequential, but the stuff that really matters – love, family, friendship – is timeless and universally relatable.”
Another theme that runs throughout all of Giffin’s novels is authenticity. It is something she wants for her characters and her readers. Giffin says, “The best compliment I can ever receive from a reader is that my books helped them in some small way find their true calling, whether it’s a new job, a new city, or a new (or old) relationship.”
The idea of authenticity drives Giffin not only in her writing but in her personal life. The 48-year-old married mother of three teenagers has been very vocal on her social media in recent years due to current social issues and the political climate.
Her decision to speak publically about her beliefs has been a bit of an evolution. “Certainly, I’m not afraid to discuss difficult topics with my friends and family offline (and often enjoy the debate!). But using a public platform to voice those same opinions can sometimes feel a bit out of bounds. That said, I do think it’s vitally important that we do speak out about injustices we see. Particularly when those words or actions inspire intolerance and hatred.”
As she has gotten older, Giffin says she feels more empowered to speak honestly. She says, “I do believe that, to some degree, that type of resolve and self-assurance may be something that comes with age—not because outspokenness and courage are qualities solely reserved for the more experienced, but simply because it’s easier to stand up for yourself when you have a stronger sense of your identity and worth.”
Giffin says, “It’s only human to worry about angering or upsetting people.”
She admits that she has gotten her feelings hurt by commenters on her social media accounts and has lost some friends based on the stances she has taken. But she doesn’t regret using her platform to take a stand for what she believes. Giffin says, “I understand that there are people who will not agree with everything I say and that I may lose readers in the process, but speaking to what’s right and leaning into what feels authentic to me is so much more important than book sales.”
Giffin believes the world is at a crucial moment in history and urges other women to speak up. She says, “You deserve to have your voice heard, and whether you choose to do that in public or in private is your choice to make. But make sure you have a voice.”
As for women in midlife who aspire to be authors, she encourages them to write down their stories and not give up. Giffin says, “At the end of the day, you can always find excuses not to do something. I’m not sure where to start, I’m afraid of what people might think, I’ll never be able to finish. I have those same fears every single time I sit down to work on a new book. If you have a story in you, I think you owe it to yourself to tell it. Even if it’s ultimately just for yourself. You never know what might happen.”
Emily Giffin is also proud to announce that her latest book, THE LIES THAT BIND, will be made into a limited TV series. She is working to produce the show with Black Label Media. They are currently casting the series and are interested in hearing suggestions from readers. Visit her on Instagram and let her know who you’d pick for the cast!