Posts Tagged ‘Kristan Higgins’
By all accounts, Parker Welles is living a charmed life. A trust fund kid, she’s the author of a wildly-successful childrens book series – the profits of which are donated to charity. She’s also got an adorable son, good friends, and a nice little life in small-town Rhode Island.
It’s so easy to love Kristan Higgins. Her characters are people you want to have dinner with and the small towns that she builds are little pieces of New England heaven. In Somebody to Love, Higgins revisits both characters and locale, which gives the whole thing a high school homecoming feel (assuming, of course, that you liked high school). The genius of it is that, instead of creating a sequel for one book, Higgins has managed to combine the people of one book (Parker Welles is Lucy Mirabelli’s best friend from The Next Best Thing) with the location of another (Gideons Cove, Maine, is the home of Maggie and Malone in Catch of the Day), thus establishing that, yes, Higgins’ novels are all in the same universe. If the pattern holds true, that also means that I’m not completely crazy for hoping to see one of the O’Neill boys from Just One of the Guys starring as the hero of his own novel one day.
(What can I say? Lucky and Jack were both intriguing. A prequel about either of them would be incredible.)
Though the reader doesn’t have to have read either of the original books to understand Somebody to Love, there are a couple of seemingly throwaway lines that instead turn into delicious inside jokes if you’ve gone in having read Catch of the Day. And since The Next Best Thing has, in my opinion, the best “Law and Order twist” of all of Higgins’ novels, you should probably pick that one up, either before or after Somebody to Love, as well.
We’re thrilled to have two-time RITA award-winner (Too Good to be True 2010 and Catch of the Day 2008) Kristan Higgins joins the blog today to discuss her new book, Until There Was You, out October 25!
Posey’s very unconventional in a lot of ways—she’s a complete tomboy who owns an architectural salvage company, so she spends her days taking down old barns and houses, hefting statues and iron lampposts and stuff like that. She’s more comfortable in Carhartt and flannel than a dress. But just because she’s a toughie, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a hubby and a couple of kids, too. She’s got a huge heart, is very devoted to her family, friends and dog, and is doing her best to shore up the defenses when Liam Murphy comes back into town. Because you know how it is…Liam’s the one guy who ever broke her heart, even if he’s completely unaware of it. This is definitely a book in which opposites attract, and it’s also a book about second chances, and I love it like crazy and hope you guys will, too!
In each of your books, the dogs (and Fat Mikey from The Next Best Thing) are their own unique character with, if not goals, definite wants and needs. How do you develop them all as characters?
Thank you! I choose the pets carefully; each one reflects something about its owner’s personality. Posey picks a dog who’s virtually unadoptable, which makes perfect sense for her…the dog loves her unconditionally, which is a nice reflection on Posey, who is also very generous to those she loves. And size is an issue for both of them; Posey’s very small and scrawny, and Shilo is flippin’ huge.
Speaking of Fat Mikey, what made you decide on a cat that time around? Was it because “cats have staff,” and Lucy wasn’t exactly looking for emotional attachment, or were you just looking to try something new?
My own cat was making some disturbing threats, so I threw him a bone, as it were, and put a cat in the book. But you’re right; I just couldn’t see Lucy with a dog. Fat Mikey is quite independent and forgiving of her schedule, but when she needs a cuddle, he comes through. Sometimes. When he’s in the mood.
Until There Was You also features a few cats, I’m happy to say. Posey inherits three, and they help keep Shilo in line.
Your books read like a travelogue of New England. Which one of your imagined locales do you most wish was a real place?
Thank you again! Well, a few of the settings are real…Martha’s Vineyard and Eastham, Massachusetts. But I do like to take liberties, so the others are all made up, though based on real places. I think I’d probably move to Gideon’s Cove if I could (the setting of Catch of the Day and my upcoming novel, Somebody to Love). The sea, the rocky shore, the desserts that Maggie makes at Joe’s Diner…heaven!
What’s your typical writing day like? And what are your “must haves” to be productive?
Generally, I start writing the instant my kiddies are in school and write until it’s time to pick them up. I do stuff like blogs and interviews in the afternoons when they’re doing homework.
I always have a dish of Hershey Nuggets next to my chair, as well as a song that embodies the mood of the book. I put the song on “repeat” and listen to it over and over and over. For my Until There Was you, I listened to Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love” 706 times. I may have OCD.
Lastly, with the Yankees and the Red Sox not in the series this year (apologies from Baltimore about that, by the way), are you planning some well-deserved time off, or are you already working on something you’d like to tell us about?
Oh, hey, I’m a Yankees fan, and the fact that Baltimore kept the Red Sox out of the post-season…Go, Orioles! That being said, yes, my boys collapsed shortly thereafter. Time off has been elusive this year—can’t complain about being wanted, though! I’m currently revising Somebody To Love, which features some familiar faces (those of you who beong to the Cult of Maloner the Loner…keep an eye out for this one!). After that, I’m starting a series based around a family vineyard in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Thank you so much for having me today! Always a pleasure to be with other contemp authors.
Thank you for joining us, Kristan! All the best for continued success!
Kristan Higgins is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and the two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her hobbies include baking, reading and stalking Derek Jeter. Visit her website at www.kristanhiggins.com.
Dr. Millie Barnes is a stalker.
No, it’s okay to call her out on it. She admits it herself in the very first line of Kristan Higgin’s 2006 debut Fools Rush In. The object of Millie’s affection is Joe Carpenter, a high school BMOC who once saved Millie’s hide during an embarrassing high school field trip, and is a virtual Clooney in the looks department.
After residency, Millie returns to Cape Cod ready to do the complete makeover/win the boy of her dreams thing with Joe at a time when her family is dealing with its own personal upheaval. Millie’s gorgeous older sister, Trish, has recently finalized her divorce from her high school sweetheart, taking off to New Jersey with a new man, while her ex-husband, Sam, and the couple’s teenage son remain on The Cape, still very much a part of the day to day lives of Millie’s and Trish’s family. The relationship between Millie and her (ex) brother-in-law hasn’t changed one bit since her fortune-hunting sister dumped him. Well, except for that part where he’s now single….
When I discovered Kristan Higgins’ books about a month ago, I also discovered why an electronic reader, such as a Nook, might have been a bad idea. Because whenever I finish a Kristan Higgins novel, I want to start another one. Right then. Even if it is 2 in the morning and I have to be at work at 6. And since BN.com is so conveniently open at all hours of the day and night….
Once. I did it once. And, thankfully, it was a slow day in the office after all.
When an author captures me so completely, I’m compelled to go back and find out where it all began. Kind of like Hugh Dancy’s character in The Jane Austen Book Club, I’m not one for “starting in the middle.” And while the books are in no-way related to each other, it’s still interesting to see the journey as Higgins has matured as a writer.
To be honest, if I hadn’t sought out Fools Rush In specifically looking for Higgins’ debut novel, I don’t think I would have realized it was the one. It doesn’t read like a debut novel at all. The characters are rich, vibrant individuals you can root for. Millie, in particular, is a gem. She’s flawed and determined, and while you want to join in the chorus of doubters who are trying to stop her from going down the worst possible path, you know that there’s absolutely no stopping her because, unless you’re one of those lucky girls who met her future husband on the first day of kindergarten, you’ve been there yourself at some point in your life.
It’s in this way only that the main plot is a little familiar. Like a good jazz musician, though, Higgins plays the embellishments in such a way that Millie’s journey is still fresh, funny, and interesting. You might know that the melody is “Old Cape Cod,” but, at points, it’s completely unrecognizable as such. One twist in particular had me gasping out loud. In the middle of a crowded gym. Inspiring the guy on the machine next to me ask if I was okay.
Talk about embarrassing.
If you’re not yet familiar with Kristan Higgins, Fools Rush In is a fantastic introduction to the work of this two-time RITA Award winner (2008’s Catch of the Day and 2010’s Too Good to Be True). Then follow it up with either of those or any of her others (Just One of the Guys and The Next Best Thing are particular favorites!!!).
But if your boss finds you asleep at your desk the next morning, that’s on you.
By day, Elle Filz is an IT geek in Baltimore, MD. By night, you can either find her singing karaoke or jotting down notes for her next women’s fiction story. She is also an aspiring Betty Crocker-type who thanks God every day that a fireman lives next door.
A Five Stiletto Review
~ By Alana Albertson
I’ll start with a confession. I used to hate romance novels. I’ve never been attracted to Fabio and never really had any idea what happened behind the pages of a picture of his ripped chest. I imagined a cheesy hero, a pathetic damsel in distress – wasn’t my scene. My disdain for bodice ripping led me down a dangerous path of writing Chick Lit. After my novel was runner up in the 2008 Stiletto contest, I found a terrific agent and filled my head with dreams of a major publishing contract. It wasn’t to be. Editor after editor loved my writing, my characters, and my plot but the only common theme of my rejections was “It’s too Chick Lit – not quite romance, not quite women’s fiction.” What’s a Chick Lit author to do? My agent suggested I rewrite my book as contemporary romance. She even sentenced me to read a Danielle Steele book! I forced myself to read it, the entire time thinking, if this is what it takes to get published, I’m not interested. I’ll waste my time doing something more rewarding, like training to be a NFL cheerleader. Desperate, I turned to my chapter, asking for suggestions for a sassy romance novel that I could devour the same way I fell in love with Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s Dirty Girls Social Club? Enter Kristan Higgins.
TGTBT is the story of unlucky-in-love high school history teacher, Grace, who lies to her family and friends about being in a relationship with the perfect man. One problem – he exists only in her head. When sexy (and fresh out of jail) Callahan moves next store, Grace falls for him and realizes that her true match might not be so perfect on paper.
Told in a chick litty, first person POV, TGTBT is laugh-out-loud funny. Callahan is masculine and intoxicating, a bad boy with a good heart. And there’s a great Gone with the Wind shout out.
To me, Higgins is the new voice of chick lit. Light-hearted, modern romantic comedy with a sassy heroine. Granted, there are no mentions of Louboutin heels and Birkin handbags, and all the characters have real jobs in normal industries versus being assistants in highly glamourous careers. But these extravagant lifestyles were what doomed Chick Lit to the remainder bins. The characters that inhabit Higgins’ world are more relatable than many of the untouchable chick lit heroines and their douchy love interests.
I was thrilled when TGTBT won the Rita. This is the perfect contemporary romance that will appeal to readers of chick lit. For me, it was a life changer. Higgins opened me up to a whole new world of romance fiction, which I now love, and inspired me to write it myself. Five out of five stilettos.
Alana Albertson is the President of RWA’s Chick Lit Writers Chapter and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. A recovering Chick Lit author, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, four-month old baby boy, and a menagerie of rescue pets. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing or playing the drums, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Big Love, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Keep up with her at www.alanaalbertson.com.