Stacey: Hey, Kristan! First off, BIG fan. Love your books. Right now I’m seeing you all over the place with the re-release of Catch of the Day and with the soon-to-be released Somebody to Love. Is there a similar level of excitement here? Can a re-release be as exciting as a new one?
Kristan: Hi right back at you, and thank you so much for having me today!
The reissue of CATCH is thrilling. Reading it again made me fall in love with Maggie and Malone all over again. I don’t know how it is for other writers, but I sometimes forget little things about the book, and so rereading it, I was sometimes surprised. I’d say things like “Oh, no, she didn’t!” and find myself blubbering at certain parts.
The book is so dear to me…it was only the second book I’d written, and I loved so much about it—the town, the diner, the fact that Maggie was an identical twin, Colonel the noble dog. And I felt for Maggie so much…I think we’ve all had that dreadful crush on the unattainable man. Having hers made public in such a horrifyingly funny way…ouch.
Stacey: I love that your characters are flawed and completely relatable. And your quirky secondary characters always crack me up! Do you ever base your characters on people that you know or perhaps your own family? (It’s okay if you don’t want to point fingers…just a hint will do!)
Kristan: Sometimes, a character starts as someone I know…BeverLee from MY ONE AND ONLY started off as the wife of an acquaintance, for example: this rather blowsy, over-the-top woman with big hair and strange expressions. But no matter who the original inspiration is, the characters start to morph and take on a life of their own, and by the time the book is done, there’s not much resemblance left. BeverLee became one of the most loving and wonderful characters I’ve ever written, much softer and sweeter than the original. (Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
That being said, the Black Widows in THE NEXT BEST THING were an homage to my great-aunts, who loved baked goods, a thoughtfully made cocktail, and men. Like the fictional aunts, they were all widowed too young, and none ever remarried. They were blunt, loving and outrageous. Unfortunately, all my great-aunts had passed away before that book came out, but I like to think they’re clucking and laughing from the great beyond.
Stacey: You write a lot in the first person. As an author, do you find that easier?
Kristan: I do! It’s very intimate and lets the author (and reader) see every side of the character’s life. The hard part is, we never know what the hero is thinking. I did make the switch to third person and the male point of view for UNTIL THERE WAS YOU and SOMEBODY TO LOVE—both heroes had so much going on that I really wanted to show their lives, too. Third person had its own challenges…thinking like a guy and trying to make that perspective true and natural; less time to show every little thing. Each mode has its own benefits and rewards, I think, and I think I’ll do first person again.
Stacey: Without giving too much away, we see some familiar faces in Somebody to Love. Do you enjoy having characters cross-over or have guest appearances in other books?
Kristan: Yes, this is the first time I’ve used a character from a past book, and it was wonderful to revisit some of the friends from other stories. In a nutshell, Parker Welles, the heroine’s best friend from THE NEXT BEST THING, has to go to Gideon’s Cove, Maine, the setting from CATCH OF THE DAY. It was a challenge in some respects—I wanted to make sure certain characters got a little “screen time,” as it were…but I wanted the story to be a stand-alone, too, it that you don’t have to have read those other books in order to understand SOMEBODY TO LOVE. Readers who have, however, will hopefully love seeing past characters and settings.
Stacey: Which female character from your books is most like you?
Kristan: My husband and daughter both say Callie from ALL I EVER WANTED. I think that’s because I’m also a bit of a fixer…if someone is having a tough time, I definitely try to help. Like Callie, I’m the middle child of my family, and have the traditional peacekeeping/caretaker role. But I think I have a lot of Maggie (from CATCH OF THE DAY) in me, too…the old foot-in-mouth syndrome.
All my characters are a part of me, I guess. I don’t think I could write honestly if they weren’t.
Stacey: As your library of works grows, have your writing habits changed? Do you have a specific place where you write or when you like to write or is it a case of when inspiration strikes?
Kristan: Well, I started writing during my kids’ naptime, and the little buggers are teenagers now and refuse to take naps anymore! I write when they’re in school, and I’ve graduated from my windowless cell in the basement (fondly remembered as the Pit of Despair) to a sunny little attic apartment, which I rent from a lady down the street (now called the Lair of Despair). Truthfully, I love it there…I have plants, a coffee maker, some half-and-half in the fridge and a chair. And no Wi-Fi, which keeps me focused.
I don’t wait for inspiration to strike—I might be paraphrasing here, but Thomas Edison and I have the same way of thinking: Inspiration comes to those who work. Writing is my job, and I take it very seriously. When inspiration strikes, it’s wonderful, but I don’t think it will strike unless my hands are on the keyboard.
Stacey: The internet makes it easy for your readers to be a part of your world – with Facebook and your website. Do you get out for a lot of personal appearances and book signings? Where can your fans find you next?
Kristan: I love to get out and meet readers, and I do a lot of guest speaking around and about. I list appearances on the Calendar section of my website. When I do a signing, I like to bribe people to come talk to me with homemade cookies. I’ve been known to get on the PA at Barnes & Noble and announce “Free cookies if you talk to the author…no purchase required.”
Stacey: After Somebody to Love, what’s next for you?
Kristan: I’m writing a series! My first ever! This one will be set around a family-run vineyard in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The first book is about Faith Holland, the youngest daughter of the family, who returns to her hometown three years after being left on the altar. And we’ll go from there!
Stacey: How can readers connect with you online?
Kristan: Very easily! I have a website, www.kristanhiggins.com and a Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/KristanHigginsBooks. I answer all my email myself, too, so feel free to pop me a note!
Thanks again for having me today! I’m thrilled to be here.
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About Kristan Higgins: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA© Award, Kristan lives with her family in a small Connecticut town that boasts a wonderful library, a great agricultural fair, a really good ice-cream stand and not much else. She is the mother of two lovely kids and the wife of a brave firefighter who is also (perhaps more importantly) a fantastic cook.
Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. Writing, she found, was infinitely more satisfying than folding laundry, and so began her first novel. Kristan holds a B.A. in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which means she can identify dangling participles, quote many great novels and play a mean game of Scrabble.
Kristan is an award-winning baker, devoted fan of the New York Yankees and an avid reader. She and her crew spend as much time as possible at the family home on Cape Cod, where they shiver in the Atlantic, ride bikes, swat horseflies and don’t catch any fish.
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