When Gabrielle Stone discovered that her husband of a year and a half was cheating on her, her life was suddenly thrust into a rollercoaster of chaos. A durable character actress and aspiring director who had spent her entire life in Hollywood, Gabrielle suddenly found herself in a whirlwind of emotions, driving her into the arms of new lovers. She eventually found herself on distant shores, trying to make sense of her life. This journey became the subject of her first book, Eat, Pray, #FML.
Released in 2019, Eat, Pray, #FML quickly found its audience and opened Gabrielle up to a world of people who have been trying to make sense of their own relationship traumas and trying to refind themselves after crippling heartache. The book has found a legion of fans, and spawned a successful podcast, FML Talk, in 2020.
However, after the events of her first book, readers wanted to know what happened next. Well, Gabrielle’s story continues in her new book, The Ridiculous Misadventures of a Single Girl, which dropped on bookstore shelves in October 2021. In her latest book, Gabrielle, home from her trip, is still navigating her newly-single status, complete with new men, new emotions, and new lessons.
I received a copy of The Misadventures of a Single Girl and started my somewhat backwards journey through Gabrielle’s #FML world. While I didn’t have all the details of the first part of her journey when I started reading, I caught up pretty quickly. But more so, I discovered a frank, and often blunt, woman who tells her story with humor, emotion, and candor as if she was telling me her story over an overpriced cup of coffee at an LA coffee shop. I found I liked Gabrielle Stone, and through her book I could recognize some of my own experiences and feelings. Although I know how the journey ends (for now), I’m currently going backwards and reading Eat, Pray, #FML and discovering how this journey began.
Just days after The Misadventures of a Single Girl was released, I had the great pleasure of talking to Gabrielle about the #FML franchise, as well as the world that has opened up to her through sharing her story.
(NOTE – this interview contains spoilers to Eat, Pray, #FML. However, we have not spoiled any of the events in The Misadventures of a Single Girl)
Sam Tweedle: So I want to admit to you that, although I’m nearly finished your new book, I haven’t actually read the first book.
Gabrielle Stone: That’s interesting because I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone read the second book without reading the first, because it’s a direct sequel to Eat, Pray #FML.
Sam: Well, I think I’m following the narrative alright. Let me see if I’m right by recapping the first book. You found out that your husband was cheating on you with a nineteen-year-old, so you left him and met a man named Javier, and then you two were going to go to Europe, but he suddenly went without you but you went on your own and you wrote a book in Europe. Now, what parts am I missing?
Gabrielle: Well, that’s partially right. I found out that Javier was going to break up with me and go on the trip himself two days before we were getting on the plane. I decided to still go and we flew to London together, and then I stayed in London and he went on to Rome, and I wrote three fourths of Eat, Pray #FML while in Europe in a journal, and then finished it when I came home.
Sam: Okay. So, what was it that made you decide to turn this very personal journey into a book?
Gabrielle: So much has gone down in my life between finding out about the affair, my divorce, meeting and falling in love with Javier, and the Europe trip exploding in my face – all of that had taken place in a span of two and a half months. It was just one thing after another. So when I found out that I was going on this trip by myself I didn’t know if my life had become a horror story or a sitcom by that point. My friends would call and say, “We’re just calling to check in on the Netflix show which has become your life.” At that point I decided that whatever I experience on this journey is going to be really life changing for me, and if I write about it, it’s going to let a lot of other people. So it just kind of hit me. I didn’t consider myself a writer before I went on this journey. I had only written one short screenplay before this. But I heard it from the universe to write a book about this. So I bought a leather-bound journal and started it the first day I landed in London.
Sam: Is it difficult to put that sort of raw emotion out into the universe for an audience to see it?
Gabrielle: I think there is a difference between writing it and then putting it out into the world. Writing it was very cathartic. It’s what got me through 2017 in general. It was like therapy for me to physically have these emotions and words leave my body. But putting it out into the world is a bit different. There’s going to be some nerves that come with that, and fear of judgement. The first time I let my Mom read it she said, “Oh god Gabrielle, are you sure you don’t want to change your name or take out the names of the people you sleep with?” I said “No Mom, because this is raw and real and what people have gone through. People are going to judge me no matter what. That’s part of putting out vulnerable art into the world. There are going to be people who absolutely love it and it changes their lives, and there are going to be people who absolutely hate it, and in turn hate me. That’s part of the game. So I definitely had some nerves around certain things, even with the second book, but the response to both of them, and especially the messages I get on a daily basis from people around the world about how it’s helping them heal and change their life, far surpasses any fear I had.
Sam: What I find interesting about reading The Ridiculous Misadventures of a Single Girl is that you have absolutely no problem finding interesting guys to write about. Very attractive, available guys.
Gabrielle: I think there is this weird thing energetically when you say “I’m going to be single for at least a year,” where you attract all the men in your vicinity. That’s always what’s happened with me. But what I find about my female reader versus my male readers is that heartbreak and grief is universal. We’ve all gone through it. That’s what Eat, Pray #FML is all about. The heartbreak and the healing that comes after and moving through that grief to heal. I’ve gotten messages from men saying “I had my own Javier, but it was a woman who broke my heart and I related to that.” So I think it’s just a matter of if you can connect to something on a human level that you’re going to get something out of it. The response to Eat, Pray #FML has been enormous. The second book has only been out for a month so I’m just starting to get messages about it. But Eat, Pray #FML has started to go global and I have readers in Africa and Nicaragua and Australia and it’s amazing to see how far this little book has gone. It’s really been fulfilling for me to hear the different stories about how it’s resonated with people and how it’s helped people. I’ve gotten messages from women in their seventies that have said, “I finished your book and filed for divorce because I realized I wasn’t being respected.” I’ve gotten messages from people that say, “I decided to stay in my marriage and fight for it after reading your book because I learnt more about myself,” or “I learned how to love myself.” The amount of messages I’ve gotten that have been able to heal from my crazy experience has made my experience so much more worth it.
Sam: When did you know that there was more story to tell and that you needed to put out a second book?
Gabrielle: Well I say this belovingly, but I was being berated lovingly ever since Eat, Pray #FML was released to put out a sequel because the book ends after I come home from Europe, which is where my story ended at the time. But everyone was sitting there wanting to know what happened when I came home. What happened to Javier, and Chris in Barcelona? There were so many unanswered questions, and readers were so invested that they wanted to know how everything turned out. I was obviously still living that, so I had to live a few more years to know where that journey was going to end. So I started writing the second book in early to mid-2019. But I didn’t finish writing it until the end of 2020. It took me a little while to live out what I was writing about, and then sit back and really put it to paper. Eat, Pray #FML… wrote as it was happening, so it took me about three and a half months. The Ridiculous Misadventures of a Single Girl took me more than a year because I was going back in the past to decide what I was going to write about over the span of two years.
Sam: What is the difference in the narrative between the two?
Gabrielle: I can write beautifully composed sentences that roll off your tongue, but that’s not what I was trying to do in either of these books. I wanted to make the reader feel that they were sitting down and having wine with their girlfriend and going on an adventure and hearing their story. So I wrote it in a very brash way, like I talk. So I think that’s why so many people have been able to connect with it. But I think the feedback that I’ve gotten from the feedback from the new book is that they say my writing has grown, as well as me as a person. It’s a compliment to me because when you’re writing you don’t think, “How can I make it seem I’m better this time around?” You’re just writing from a place of truth. So the narrative is similar in the tone of them, but the journey progresses in a further sense in the second book because my healing journey has progressed so much.
Sam: Do you find that some of the men that you write about in the book get their own group of fans amongst readers?
Gabrielle: Oh, totally. The first one was Team Chris. People wanted to know if he ever came to LA and what happened. That was the first question everybody asked me. In the second book, a lot of people are Team Tyler.
Sam: Is there another book in you?
Gabrielle: I think there is. I hope it’s not a continuation of this because that would mean my life would blow up again at some point. But I think there is, but not anytime soon. I’m still in the aftermath of a second book where I never want to write again. But I think down the line there will be another book once I’ve lived a little more.
Sam: Tell me more about how the podcast happened, and what its about.
Gabrielle: It’s called FML Talk. People had been asking me to do one for awhile after the first book took off. At first I thought “Everybody has a podcast. What am I going to talk about?” I also thought I might be a burnout on them because I had been a guest on almost a hundred podcasts. Then COVID hit and during the pandemic, one of my good girlfriends said, “Look, dude. This is what you should be doing. I’ll coproduce it. Let’s just do it.” I thought, “Okay, maybe a thousand or so of my readers will come over, and it’ll be kind of successful, or it won’t, or whatever.” We started doing it and it totally took off. We are about to wrap up Season Two and we have half a million downloads. It’s crazy because I thought it’d just be my reader pool, but there are people who have discovered the podcast and then read the book. We started it with anything that is related to the books, like divorce, self love, healing, and since then I’ve brought guests on and we’ve branched out to talk about grief and domestic violence and sexual assault. We really talk about all types of traumas and healing journeys and overcoming things in life. But we do it in a way that’s relatable and comfortable. So we are talking about healing and self love, but I’m still dropping “f-bombs” the whole time. I’m talking to you the way I talk to you in my book. So it’s become an amazing community of people who show up every week. Friendships have bloomed amongst listeners and we have a private Facebook group for the subscription site. It’s been really beautiful to watch people on their own healing journey.
Sam: You are still a working actress in Hollywood, but do you feel that it’ll be these books which will be a big part of your life’s legacy?
Gabrielle: Oh my god, yeah. When I wrote the first book, I was just acting and I had started directing, but that was my job. It was the hustle of LA. Book a job, book a job. After the success of the first book, then came the podcast called FML Talk, it became its own business and brand I have. It’s done more than just fulfill me on a personal level, and really shown me my purpose on why I went through all this and how I’m able to help people in a broader scale, but it’s also given me the financial freedom to where I don’t need to take jobs I don’t want to take. I can be far more selective about my acting jobs. So I definitely want to direct more in the future, and I’ll always love acting, but I can be much more selective now, which is nice.
Sam: When people have read your books, what do you hope the ultimate takeaway is?
Gabrielle: I always leave off telling people who are heartbroken or grieving or going through any type of turmoil in their life to remember that it really does happen for a reason even if you can’t see it right now. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s more beautiful and magical then you can ever remember, so keep going.
If you’ve ever been hurt in love, no matter who you are or where you are in your journey, there is something relatable that can be learnt in Gabrielle Stone’s books. Enter her world through her books, Eat, Pray, #FML and The Ridiculous Misadventures of a Single Girl, which are available both online and through bookstores, as well as her podcast, FML Talk, available through Spotify and wherever else you listen to podcasts. Also make sure to visit her website, https://www.eatprayfml.com/ and find her on all social media platforms.