Emily Henry, Author of ‘Book Lovers,’ on the Appeal of Travel

Emily Henry, Author of ‘Book Lovers,’ on the Appeal of Travel

Over the final three years, the novelist Emily Henry has established a strong beachhead on summertime finest vendor lists with a collection of travel-related rom-coms, beginning with “Beach Read” in 2020, and adopted by final summer season’s “People We Meet on Vacation” and this yr’s “Book Lovers.” All three novels presently share area on The Times’s mixed Print and E-book fiction checklist.

In her books, a youngish lady — a author or writer-adjacent — at a disaster level in her life, lights out for brand new territory the place (to not give any spoilers), she finds her true calling — and her real love.

In “Beach,” dueling novelists occupying homes on a lake in Michigan sparring till, of course, they cease. In “People We Meet on Vacation,” the journey author Poppy Wright spends half of every summer season taking a visit along with her finest good friend from school, Alex Nilsen, who, expensive reader, you understand from the get-go is Mr. Right, at the same time as the two of them conceal from the inevitable. In “Book Lovers,” it’s the hard-driving literary agent Nora Stephens who travels to the small North Carolina city of Sunshine Falls, solely to come across her nemesis from the Manhattan guide scene, the editor Charlie Lastra.

Another theme in her books is the pull of household. Ms. Henry, 31, grew up in Cincinnati with two older brothers, and he or she, her husband and their canine reside there now, close to her mother and father. She fondly remembers their household journeys, even when they did generally find yourself combating “like a too-many-headed beast,” she mentioned.

“We all nonetheless attempt to semi-regularly take journeys collectively, which clearly might be full chaos, however I simply have a lot nostalgia for that,” mentioned Ms. Henry, who’s at work on subsequent summer season’s novel. “I can not discuss that but,” she mentioned of the undertaking. “But I can say that it’s travel-related.”

This interview has been edited for readability and size.

A guide is already constructed to be a form of trip — even when it is not an escapist guide, even when it is a very heavy literary novel, it is nonetheless this journey that’s packaged for you in a really particular means. And I feel with travel-focused books you are simply amping that up much more.

On a visit there’s this sense of chance that you do not essentially have in your regular life as a result of you are going to be round all new individuals and all new issues, and you do not know what might occur and who you may meet. Everything simply feels thrilling. From a narrative perspective, it lends itself to this large transformation as a result of characters are already on this kind of uneven floor. Travel works the similar means that it really works for us in actual life: to only shake issues up.

I feel as a reader, it lends itself to that as properly, as a result of we’re already making an attempt to go new locations and meet new individuals once we’re studying. We’re craving one thing, some new expertise that we wish to deliver into ourselves.

I do assume that there is one thing, yeah, transformative and also you get to know your self extra deeply in a brand new atmosphere.

And it is the issues that you do not know about your self, like the surprises, the dangers that you just take, that you just would not count on, or the new meals you strive, that you just did not assume that you desire to or something small like that. It’s additionally simply seeing your common life by way of new eyes.

Because I feel there are locations you go the place you assume like, oh, I can think about my life right here, and there are different locations you go the place you notice you are simply excited to get house. That’s one of the issues I really like a lot about journey, too, is you can get so complacent or unappreciative of your life, your actual life, there actually is nothing like that feeling of getting house.

I have not carried out quite a bit of worldwide journey but, however I grew up in a household that took street journeys and so that’s how I’ve seen most of the United States. It was fairly frequent to take a 14-hour street journey to Florida. We’d depart in the center of the evening so we would not should pay for that one additional evening and we’d sleep in the again of the minivan and get up and be there.

Now I discover that each few months I really feel this restlessness and urge to only be someplace totally different and see new issues and eat meals that is not accessible to me. That is that this rhythm that my household arrange for me. You have new experiences to hold you thru the mundanity of actual life.

Rather a lot of that basically was simply analysis and there are Facebook teams for that sort of factor, however I have not actually used these. I’m an enormous fan of Airbnb, like a lot of my era is. It’s simply been such a sport changer for journey, particularly for prolonged journey. But additionally I feel being raised by mother and father who had been actually good at that sort of factor helps. They would take the excursions of resorts to get steeply discounted Disney World tickets. That actually got here into quite a bit of the writing of Poppy’s strategy to journey.

Yeah, I’ve had just a few. I do not assume of myself as the cleanest individual, however now I’m very thorough about checking the opinions for a way clear the place is. I’ve undoubtedly had some which are simply form of gross. There’s all the time suave pictures. There was one which listed a further bed room and we received there and realized it was in an unfinished basement, and there additionally was like a gap in the wall to this different form of storage room that appeared like a peephole. That was unsettling.

My favourite journey is to fly into San Francisco and drive up by way of Muir Woods and Muir Beach after which to see wine nation. And then I’ve household up in Oregon. I really like that drive. I really like you can see the ocean, the bay, the mountains, wine nation, the redwoods, all inside simply this few hour span.

Seeing a spot as a customer is so totally different than being an area and I feel that is why Elin Hilderbrand’s books are so good, as a result of she actually is aware of Nantucket and he or she places you proper there. The locations I’m writing about I’m solely acquainted with as a visitor and it is a totally different expertise. It’s a very magical expertise, but it surely’s not the similar issues {that a} native would pick about their city.

I feel if I lived in a extra vacationy spot, I might most likely commit to at least one place too, however I can not see writing a bunch of books about Cincinnati. I’m certain I’ll have an outright Cincinnati guide, however that is not innately summery.

Oh my gosh. Not summer season.


Amy Virshup is the editor of the Travel part.

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