Today we welcome Kristan Higgins back to Romancing the Book. When I asked the review staff to give me some interview questions for Kristan, Colantha jumped at the chance to interview one of her favorite authors. So, ladies… take it away!
Colantha: Will you share a short bio with us?
Kristan: I started writing romance novels when my kids were little. I’d always been a writer of some type—public relations, advertising, research—but wanted to stay home with the bunnies. I’d been reading romance novels ever since I swiped Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss from my grandmother’s night table. “Higgins,” I said to myself, “I bet you could write one of these.” And so I sat down every afternoon when the kids were napping, took my lifelong love of romance novels and tried to make a career out of it. We’ve been living happily ever after since.
I live in my hometown, a small, pretty place in Connecticut where there’s a beautiful library and a wicked good ice cream stand. I’m the mom of two lovely children who have very long eyelashes and excellent vocabularies, the wife of a heroic and brave firefighter and the willing love-slave to a naughty mutt named Willow. Our cat, Huck, occasionally deigns to sit on my lap, especially when I’m typing.
I love to write books about relationships, since the search for love and security is one of the driving forces of life. My characters are regular people, folks like us, and I hope to give them a big, memorable love story rich with family, pets, food and laughter. When I’m not writing, I like to be with my kids, goof around with my husband, read, watch baseball, ride my bike and bake. I suffer from chronic bedhead and an unhealthy (and completely understandable) obsession with Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees. We spend as much time as possible at our family home on Cape Cod, swimming in the Atlantic, shivering on the beach, swatting horseflies and watching fish evade my lure at Higgins Pond. It’s as close to heaven as it gets.
Colantha: Did you learn anything from writing your Blue Heron Winery series and what was it?
Kristan: I learned tons about wine-making, of course: the chemistry, the farming, the variables. I had to research that by drinking lots of Finger Lakes wine, but anything for my readers! In every book, I learn something different—in The Best Man, I researched epilepsy and combat troops in Afghanistan; in The Perfect Match, it was aerodynamics and boxing; in Waiting on You, it was twinhood and Chicago. It’s one of the coolest things about my job…I learn a little bit about something new and unexpected in every single book.
Colantha: What inspired you to write your first book?
Kristan: At the time, it seemed like all romances were about remarkable people: Navy SEALs, vampires, billionaires, super-talented celebrities. Being none of the above, I wanted a romance about regular people who nonetheless had a huge, heart-tugging, funny love story. Also, my kids were little, and I was a stay-at-home mom, the obsessive type who made their baby food and read to them for hours every day. Writing was my way of playing with grownups.
Colantha: What do your husband and kids like about your books?
Kristan: They’re very proud of me. My teenage son has yet to read one of my books, but he did like the dedication on this last one. McIrish and the Princess love seeing little parts of our life in the books; they might recognize a phrase or character, so it feels very personal to them.
Colantha: How do you and Jill Shalvis avoid competing with your writing and still be friends?
Kristna: I don’t measure myself against anyone except me. I’m the least competitive person on earth. Except in mini-golf. I must win in mini-golf. But to me, the more people who love contemporary romance, the better. A lot of my readers say they found me through Jill, or vice versa. The same is true with Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Rachael Johns, Susan Andersen. I’m very happy for the success of my friends. I can’t imagine feeling otherwise. In fact, the first time Robyn Carr hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, I burst into happy tears and called her. My hands were shaking, I was so excited, and I was literally jumping around the kitchen. It was only when my editor called later in the day to tell me that I was also on the list that I realized it.
Every book speaks to readers differently. Jill can’t write my books, and I can’t write hers. I’m just grateful to be able to do this at all, and to have such lovely friends and colleagues.
Colantha: Even though you teach workshops, how did you learn about Romance Writer’s Association and how has it helped your improve your writing?
Kristan: When I was considering writing a book, I Googled “romance writer,” and found RWA. It was a godsend, because it gave me much-needed industry information, and even more needed, a writing community. It’s through the shared experiences of my writer friends that I’ve learned the most.