04-24-2012 09:19 AM
4-24 Q&A with Kristan Higgins
Kristan is another favorite author of mine; in fact, she was the co-winner of my best novel of 2011 (here is the post on my blog).
Kristan, welcome to the B&N General Fiction Forum, and happy release day for your brand new novel, Somebody to Love. Tell us a little about it.
Thank you so much for having me today! I’m quite thrilled to be here!
Somebody to Love is the story of Parker Welles, who suddenly finds herself in very different circumstances. Bad enough that her career is somewhat stalled and her life is about to change hugely as her son starts all-day kindergarten…she’s just learned dear old Dad cleaned out her trust fund, trying to cover up an insider trading deal gone wrong. Her best option is to flip a house she’s never seen and try to write another children’s books series…fast. A relationship? Please. Not gonna happen.
Enter James Cahill, aka Thing One. James is the personal attorney for Parker’s dad, and Parker does not like him a bit. Maybe James is the son Harry never had, maybe it’s that he seems to exist solely to kiss up to her dad…maybe it’s that one little encounter they had a few years back. Whatever the reason, Thing One really gets on Parker’s nerves. Not that she’ll let him know. So the last person she wants hanging around as she heads up to the coast of Maine is James, yet there he is, on Harry’s orders. Tiny problem—the house needs far more work than she realized, and she can’t turn away his help and still get the job done.
James has had a thing for the Princess since the day he met her, not that much has come of it. She made it clear she’d have nothing to do with him a while back. Besides, he’s got his own problems this summer—a boss in jail, a family in tatters—but he knows he owes Parker some help. Truth is, he doesn’t mind…maybe he can change her mind about her, especially if they’re stuck together, alone, in a 900 square foot house for three weeks.
I think the book is about second chances and finding out who you really are when everything familiar’s been stripped away. Reinventing yourself, creating a new future, all that good stuff. A very rewarding aspect of the book was revisiting a favorite place from a previous book—Gideon’s Cove, Maine, setting of Catch of the Day, so faithful readers will see a few familiar faces.
Shhh, we won’t tell anybody, but do you base your characters on anyone you know, you can trust us to keep your secret. J
Of course not! Um…well, sure I do. All writers are thieves, isn’t that how the saying goes? My notes will often have something in them like, “Make the mom like Susan’s mother” or the like. But during the writing of the book, characters tend to take on a life of their own, so if the character was inspired by someone I know, the resemblance is usually a lot less than I thought it would be.
Tell us what led to your life of writing.
Reading! A life of writing can only come from a love of reading, I think. I often blame Margaret Mitchell for my becoming a writer, because much of my adolescence was spent trying to create a “better” ending for Gone With the Wind. (Upon rereading it a few years ago, I discovered that Miss Mitchell knew exactly what she was doing, just for the record. Ah, youth!)
I also started writing for very pragmatic purposes—I was a stay-at-home mom, my son was approaching school age, and I didn’t feel right about having my sainted husband supporting us all by his lonesome, especially when I’d have a lot more time on my hands. So I figured I’d try writing romance. I was 36 at the time (ten years ago), and I’d been reading romance voraciously since I was 13. If I had a field of expertise, it was that.
Do you write full time?
I do! I’ve been very, very lucky to have a publisher who’s wanted me from my first book on. I’m under contract with them for four more books at the moment.
Do you belong to a writers group?
Yes, I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as both the New England and Connecticut local chapters of that group. I remember when I first joined—it was such a relief, finding others who understood just how compelling imaginary people can be.
The one constant in your novels besides the romance part is the dogs and perhaps a cat or two. Tell us a little about the why behind the animals in your novels.
I love animals and can’t imagine life without a pet or two. They give us so much, and the choice of animal says so much about a person, don’t you think? It was a very unconscious decision to have a dog in my first few books. Sometimes, people will ask if I decided to have dogs in the story so I’d get cute covers, and the answer is no, not at all! The pets came first. I think owning a pet shows an ability to commit and a willingness to love unconditionally, and I just love choosing the animal that’s right for my character. In Somebody to Love, Parker has never owned a pet before, and given her drastically changed circumstances, the last thing she needs is a dog. That being said, she just can’t turn away from little Beauty. It’s a little hint about her personality. The pet always is, in real life or in my books!
What is the biggest challenge when writing a novel?
I have to turn my heart inside out to write a book. I break someone’s heart at least once a story, and to do that, I have to break mine, too. Then, of course, I get to put it back together and make everyone happy, but that’s a joy. But to get the kind of emotional depth that I try to feature in every book, I have to be a little brutal in the process. In My One and Only, it was Harper’s mother. In Until There Was You, it was Liam’s fears about his daughter. It’s so worth it to me…but it does take a lot. At some point in every one of my books, I cry during the writing, and heaven help me if my kids or husband see! “What’s the matter?” they ask, and I say, “No, no…it’s good! Would you get me a tissue?”
Okay walk us through a normal (I’m sure glamorous) day in the life of Kristan Higgins.
It really is so glam, so prepare yourselves. I wake up at o’dark-thirty and make the kids a hot breakfast, pack their lunches and draw a cartoon on their napkins (well…on my daughter’s. My son is too cool for that these days). Then I get them off to school, head for my office, which is just down the street, over the neighbor’s garage. Make a cuppa joe, give my dog a cookie, sit down and work for the next six hours. Get the kids, take them to their various and sundry activities just like any mom or dad. Hope that McIrish will be home to make dinner so we won’t suffer through my own efforts in the kitchen. After dinner, answer some interview questions, write a blog, something like that, then shut down the computer and hang out with the family.
I have a wonderful hubby and great kids, I love my siblings, my parents loved each other…no half-brothers in prison, no secret babies coming back to meet me. Too bad. It’s great fodder. The only thing really different about me is my wicked awesome job. I travel 6-8 times a year for work. Otherwise…I’m sorry, have you dozed off? I don’t blame you a bit. Listen. In person, I’m adorable. It’s these pesky day-in-the-life questions that make me sound so, ah…normal.
I’m sure fans here would love to meet you in person Do you have any B&N events or signings planned.
I go to B&N whenever I’m asked! Just did a signing at the store in East Brunswick, NJ and have a few that are associated with conferences in the next few months. My calendar is on my website at www.kristanhiggins.com, so pop over and see if I’m coming to your neck of the woods. I’d love to meet you!
Kristan, thank you so much for letting us get to know you just a little better, and just in case you haven’t figured it out, all your secrets are being tweeted as we speak
I hope the world can handle it! Thank you so much for having me! Always lovely to pop in.
My review of Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
If you were looking from the outside at the life of Parker Harrington Welles, you’d think she had it all. She has a trust fund, is a best selling children’s author (even though the characters may make her throw up a little in her mouth), a wonderful son and never wanted for anything. In the blink of an eye life as Parker knew it changed, her financial whiz father’s going to prison for insider trading, the family mansion she grew up in is on the auction block and the only thing with any possibilities is the home her Great Aunt left her in Maine. When she first sets eyes on the place it’s not exactly a mansion, in fact it’s not even livable, and if that’s not bad enough her father’s former attorney and minion “Thing One” is offered to help her fix it up. Why is that bad, well in addition to her father liking him more that her, in a moment of madness a few years earlier she and Thing One did the deed.
James Cahill has a lot of regrets in his life but the one thing he’s never regretted is going to work for Harry Welles who’s always respected him and treated him like gold, if only his daughter thought the same and yes he’s in for quite a summer working beside Parker but his loyalty to Harry is worth every snide remark and insult, oh and it doesn’t hurt that he’s never gotten over that earth shattering encounter when they made love.
As Parker and James begin their rehab project it becomes quite clear to both of them that there is more there than meets the eye, for one she’s not the insensitive, arrogant snob and he’s not the unfeeling minion and mini me of her father and just maybe they’re who they’ve both been looking for. But there’s a lot against them too and the biggest problem they have is each other, if they could get past all of their preconceived and most of the time untrue feelings about each other they might just get to the truth, that they just might be what they’ve both been searching for “Somebody to Love”.
Kristan Higgins really knows how to get to the heart and soul of this reader by giving me everything I look for in a romance and then some, by giving me characters that are far from perfect but still embed themselves in my heart and we’re not talking about just the hero and heroine but all the other major and minor characters too and then there’s the story and my oh my what a story it is, you see Kristan usually brings us main stream people to star in her novels but this time she brought us a riches to rags story that not brings someone down off a pedestal as much as someone who learns what’s really important in life and that aint always money. Then there’s the romance that you know from the start is going to end up happy and still you’re scratching your head that she’s picked this particular pair to fall in love until all of a sudden you get to that ah ha moment when it all starts to make perfect sense and now the only thing holding them back, is well them.
Thank you Ms. Higgins for another unforgettable romance and the couple who make it all possible.
04-24-2012 10:21 AM
05-10-2012 02:58 PM