Meeting Emily!

“I’m looking forward to reading your book one day. What’s your last name? That way I’ll remember you when I see it!”
~Emily Giffin

Emily and me

That quote above? Said by New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin … to me.

Cue inward flipping out, outward jumping up and down (after I was safely hidden behind a bookshelf, of course), and an entire rest of the day feeling so excited that I couldn’t help but smile. I’ve been a fan of Emily’s since I read the first sentence of Baby Proof – her third novel, and the first one that I randomly happened upon in a bookstore. To this day, I’m fairly certain that it holds the record for how fast I’ve gone through a book. I literally couldn’t put it down until I got to the last word, and I immediately wanted to read every other novel she’s written. She’s just that talented an author, the kind of writer who draws you in right from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. You want to know more about her characters, more about their decisions, more about their lives. Hers are the kinds of books you can get lost in, the kinds of characters who feel like friends. She does this amazing job of getting to the heart of the matter and crafting these stories that resonate far beyond the closing page and the last words. Writing is a love for Emily, and that shines through all the time.

She also happens to be such an inspiration to me when it comes both to writing and persistence. Never once did she give up on her quest to become a published author. She kept persevering and worked as hard as she possibly could to make her dreams a reality, despite an industry that’s so hard to crack. Not only is she the kind of writer I think so many strive to be, but she also has the tenacity and positive outlook that’s so, so essential. Her story of success is motivating, and so is she. Emily’s easily one of my favorite authors, no question about it. That’s why I was thrilled when I learned she’d be coming to Philadelphia for her Heart of the Matter book tour. I was excited to meet her and to tell her in person what an inspiration she’s been, and even though I know from interviews and her interaction with everyone online what a genuine, friendly, intelligent person she is, I don’t think anything could have quite prepared me for the response I got when I chatted with her.

From the very moment she breezed into Borders, you could just tell that there was this warm air about her – engaging, sincere, and as truly excited to meet everyone as we were to talk with her. She took some time at the beginning to sign books for the people who had to get back to work, and then launched into a short talk about her most recent novel and a Q&A that was both insightful and entertaining. We learned some tidbits about the upcoming movie for her first novel, Something Borrowed, and I was particularly interested to hear her speak about her writing process and how she approaches her novels. It’s something I always find fascinating, to see how such talented authors go about finding a process that works for them. That was one of many things Emily said that stuck out, actually, how it’s different for everyone and all that matters is finding what’s right for you. And something else that stood out – her comment about how it doesn’t matter if you’re published or not, because “if you write, you’re a writer.” Such a wonderful way to look at it. Another thing that also stayed with me was when she said the industry is about three main things – hard work, luck, and talent. She’s a true believer in the idea that if you work hard enough, if you have that dedication, then you can reach the goals you set. Beginning to see yet why I feel like I can relate to her so much?

FF to the signing portion of the event. I could easily tell how sweet and friendly Emily was, but her reaction to our chat was beyond any semblance of an expectation I could have had. I started off by telling her what an inspiration she’s been to me, both with writing and during my search for an agent, and her response to hearing that two agents have requested partial manuscripts from me already is something I’ll never, ever forget. There was such sincerity in her voice when she looked at me and exclaimed “that’s HUGE!” Seriously, that alone was enough to make my day. The woman’s a five-time bestselling author with unbelievable talent … and she was that excited for me? Too. Unbelievably. Cool. And it only got better. We chatted for a bit about the process of finding an agent and how tough it is, and then we moved on to discussing Baby Proof, since I had brought that for her to sign, as well. I also asked about her process for writing the end of her novels, whether she has an idea for that last paragraph ahead of time or she stays in the moment. It’s something that’s always been particularly fascinating to me when it comes to writing, and there was just something really special about discussing it with one of my absolute favorite authors.

Emily's reaction

And, um, speaking of special … the quote I posted above still makes me smile every time I think about it, even though it’s more than twenty-four hours later. After we chatted and took a picture, she thanked me for coming and wished me good luck again with my writing and finding an agent. Then, just in case she hadn’t already completely made my entire week, she said to me, “I look forward to reading YOUR book one day!” She followed that up by asking for my last name so she’d know my novel when she saw it … and I pretty much stood there in shock, trying to wrap my head around everything she’d just said and how, in that moment, I just felt so lucky. Talk about an amazing experience. Just meeting her would have been wonderful in its own right, but to have someone who’s inspired me so much say those things? And sincerely mean them?

Beyond cool. So beyond cool, and an experience I’ll remember forever. Emily’s not just a bestselling author. She’s not just an incredibly talented writer. She’s a kind, caring, genuine person, who truly deserves every single success she’s had and then some. Her words will stay with me as I continue this process, my autographed copy of Heart of the Matter on my desk as a reminder. Inspiring? You bet.


What about you? Have you ever met someone who’s played a pivotal or motivational role in your life or career? Did it exceed your expectations?


8 thoughts on “Meeting Emily!

  1. So, SO cool. Wow, I’ll definitely have to check out her books after reading your glowing recommendation. I’ve never met any of my career mentors–unfortunately, Diane and I haven’t crossed paths–but I continue to be inspired both my people I’ve never met and those I interact with every day.

    • It truly was an experience that was both SO cool and very special — easily something I’ll always remember and use as further inspiration! I absolutely recommend any and all of Emily’s books. They just have this ability to draw you in and make you feel like you’re watching the story unfold.

      Ah, Diane! I’m thinking that the two of you definitely need to meet one day. I bet she’d be very impressed with you :-) I love the way you phrased that, because it really IS a blend when it comes to inspiration: the people we have in our lives every day and the ones we’ve never met but still look to as motivation!

  2. OH. MYGOODNESS. i’m in love with this entry!!!! <3 First of all, i about DIED when i saw the picture of you talking to her! Everyone at and around that table is just SMILING!!! TOO CUTE! i'm so glad you got to have such an amazing conversation with her! and she's going to READ YOUR BOOK when it gets published! that was so sweet of her to say, i'm seriously beaming for you!!!

    aah this entry was perfection! Now you've got me thinking of authors i'd like to meet. I met Cassandra Clare a year ago and she was so cool! It was the first book signing i'd been to where the author is just a fiction writer, not some famous person who wrote a book about themself, and it was so much fun just to see the stacks and stacks of their books on the shelves/around the table.

    I think if there was one author who has impacted me and who i'd love to meet, it would be Sarah Dessen. She's probably had the biggest impact on my writing of any author. Her new book isn't coming out until NEXT May (grr…) but maybe she'll do a book tour then and come to Philly or something! Fingers crossed!

    :] this entry made me smile so much! Congrats again on the amazing day!

    • Your comment made ME smile! You are too sweet!! Thank you so, so much for everything you said. I know you get where I’m coming from with all this, and your excitement for me means more than you know.

      It was definitely an amazing day and one that I’ll always remember. There was just something SO special about getting to meet an author who’s inspired me the way she has. I’m so glad that my mom (who I hooked on Emily’s books, too!) took some candid pictures while I was talking with her. I love them all, but that one of her reaction to my telling her about the agents makes me smile every single time I see it. She was so genuinely excited, and that picture definitely captures the happiness surrounding the moment (as I was inwardly freaking out about how cool it was!!). She took the time to really talk with everyone, but to have such an amazing, long conversation with her was really special. She’s the kind of person who’s so genuine that she instantly feels like a friend. Oh my gosh, and I couldn’t believe it when she said that about looking for my book and reading it! I mean, I knew how she sweet she is, but that was so above and beyond, and the fact that she sincerely meant it makes me smile whenever I think about it (lots of smiling going on here, haha). Aahh!

      What genre does Cassandra Clare write? Her name sounds so familiar to me, but I can’t place why or who might have mentioned her before. Oh my gosh, and I know what you mean about the stacks and stacks of books sitting there! Somehow seeing them all on or around the table just had a different vibe than when they’re all on the bookstore shelves. Did you get to talk with her a lot at the signing? Did she do a reading and/or Q&A, too?

      Ah, now Sarah Dessen I KNOW that I’ve heard of. She’s so popular that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she does a book tour – she’d definitely be able to draw in a lot of people. My fingers are crossed that if/when she does, she’ll include a stop in Philly so you can meet her. There’s just nothing like getting to talk to an author who’s so inspired your writing, and I SO want you to have that amazing experience!! And hey, maybe by next May you’ll be able to tell her all about YOUR book deal ;-)

      Thank you again!!

  3. Pingback: First Love. «

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