Emily Giffin came to Chester County Book & Music Company on Tuesday night for a book signing of her latest book, Where We Belong, which was released a week earlier. I decided at the last minute to ditch my night class (earth science…need I say more?) and attend the signing with Shari, who is a huge fan of Emily. I paid cover price for the book ($29, yikes!) because I bought it at the store the day of the signing (they’re super picky about that), but that meant I had a reserved spot in line for Emily’s signing.
We had really good seats for Emily’s talk. Listening to her talk about her inspiration was fun because I love hearing where other writers get their ideas. She said she wanted to explore the idea of a secret and whether or not “the truth will set you free.” Her process is definitely different than mine (I usually start with a character or specific situation instead of an overarching theme/idea of the story), so it was interesting to hear her take on it.
My favorite part, though, was when she discussed writing her first young adult character, Kirby. Without spoiling anything, Where We Belong flips back and forth between two different points of view: a woman in her late thirties and an eighteen year old girl. Kirby, obviously, is the teenager and the reason I picked up the book in the first place. YA is my favorite genre and the reason I’ve stayed away from “grownup” books. I’m not married, I don’t have a career, no kids…what’s the point of reading adult books I can’t relate to? (Sidenote: I’m getting better about this lately) So Kirby’s character was perfectly placed in the book for me and gave me something to grasp onto. Emily was worried about writing a convincing YA character at first, but she admitted Kirby has become her favorite character she’s ever written.
All you writers out there, has a character you’ve written ever become your surprise favorite? And readers, have you ever become interested in a character you didn’t expect to?