Best-Selling Author Tackles Love and Texas Football

A Baltimore native tells us why she chose a fictional Texas town for her latest book.

By Emily DonahueMarch 24, 2015 8:09 pm

Emily Giffin is the author of seven novels so popular, one has made it to the screen and the others are on their way. Giffin’s latest, “The One and Only,” takes place in a fictional Texas town and centers around the also-fictional Walker University.

Giffin says she called upon her background as a former collegiate basketball manager for Wake Forest for part of the book, but the Baltimore native says she was less familiar with the novel’s setting.

“I’m very familiar with the world of college athletics and coaches and the dynamics and the NCAA knocking on your door and investigating, I know about that, so that part was easy,” Giffin says. “I don’t know Texas as well, so I definitely did my research on the Texas front – I came down to Dallas several times and… the book is set close to Dallas.”

Giffin says despite the warm feedback she’s received from Texans about her portrayal of the state and the primacy of football in sports, “The One and Only” really could’ve been set anywhere.

“Originally I though about putting this exact same story and have the framework as insider-trading in New York City,” she says. “Really it’s a relationship-driven book so you really don’t need to like football to get into it.”

Giffin’s story follows a girl who falls in love with her best friend’s father. She says there was less controversy over the relationship in “The One and Only” than others she’s written about.

“It was exciting to release this book into the world and see what the very different reactions have been,” Giffin says. “They’ve been strong and I embrace those. In some ways, I’d rather have people say ‘I hate what she did’ or ‘I loved her’ or have a mix of reactions rather than just mild acceptance.”

Giffin says she’s currently working on a new book about the relationship between sisters, set in the context of an accident that happens to their brother.