Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FAB Interview - Kristan Higgins, CONTEST continues!

I sent the FABulous Kristan Higgins an e-mail loaded with silly questions, and she actually took the time to answer them. Here's the kicker though - even though I already knew some of the answers because I've actually spoken with her, her answers still had me cracking up! Read on to learn more about this FABulous author, why she writes, her love for the four-legged types, her newest projects, and more. But don't expect to learn what her favorite drink is, because she just won't tell!

dee: What made you decide to become a writer? Was it craziness? A lifelong dream? A whim? Couldn't stand your day job?

Kristan: Um....yes? All of the above? I decided to become a writer because I'd been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my first child and wanted to stay that way. But my younger child was facing first grade, and I felt I had to contribute financially a little bit (my husband is a firefighter and has a job on the side, so it would've been hard to just stay home and wax the floors, if you know what I mean). I'd always loved romances, especially romantic comedies, and it was hard to find the type I liked. So I figured there was a market for them...stories about regular people with normal issues, struggling to find their big love. I gave myself a year to write a book and another year to sell it, and the fates were kind, so here I am, still making lunches and getting the kids on and off the bus, but writing books while they're in school.

dee: Who are some of the authors that you really admire? What about them makes you like them? Their writing? The way they handle their career? The fact that they give back to the writing community?

Kristan: I love Jennifer Crusie and how she handles her fame, success and most of all, her fans. She's incredibly supportive to other writers. I'm not a Cherry, but I occasionally visit her ArghInk website. And I admire the way she's honest about getting stuck, changing paths, struggling to stay good. Elinor Lipman is my favorite writer for personal reading. Her voice is so kind and wry, sharply observant and quietly brilliant. As for handling careers, I had the privilege of having dinner with Cindy Gerard, a New York Times bestseller who shares my agent. She gave me a lot of excellent advice about negotiating through the community of writers, from publishers down to fans. In essence, she said, "You know where your talent is. Don't get distracted...get the job done and don't worry about the rest."

dee: What is the most interesting job you've ever held? The most demanding? The most rewarding?

Kristan: Aside from motherhood, you mean? I'd have to say the most interesting was self defense instructor. It was one of those classes where the male instructor wore padded armor, and so we could kick and punch as hard as we possibly could. It felt great, I have to admit, to just go to town on someone! Girl power! Most demanding...probably a waitress. I waited tables through college, and I think everyone should have that job at least for a little while. It really makes you appreciate how hard those folks work. Most rewarding is writing. Knowing you connected with a stranger, made them laugh at a hard time...it's really humbling.

dee: Since becoming published, have there been any cool things that have happened to you? FanGirlSqueeFest moments? Crazy letters of praise? Any hate mail? What do you do about them (both good and bad ones)?

Kristan: It's really odd, having your work out there for anyone to see, comment on, love, hate. Sometimes it's amazing...an author whom I've never met recently blogged about me, praising Catch of the Day to the high heavens. That was astonishingly wonderful. On the flip side, someone trashed me on Amazon, so that's up for all the world to see, and of course, I can't exactly write to the person. I was on an airplane and someone was reading my book, and I asked, "Hey, how do you like that?" and she said, "Oh, it's great!" And I started jumping up and down, saying, "I wrote it! That's my book!" like some nut.

I've had two hate letters, one because I had an 18-year-old use the F-word, one because she thought I was perpetuating a myth that the good people of Labrador still club seals...I'm still scratching my head over that one.

I write to everyone who writes to me, even the Labradorian woman and the one who condemned me for swearing. Overwhelmingly, it's a joy to hear from readers. When someone is mean (and it hasn't happened that much, to be honest), I try not to be bothered. I don't always succeed.

dee: You know I have to ask... what's the weirdest 'crush' you've ever had? Did you really crush on your priest?

Kristan: The weirdest crush I ever had was on a guy who looked exactly like my husband, so much so that when he walked past my office, I stuck my head out and said, "Honey?" And he stuck his head out of his office and said, "Yes, dear?" It was shocking how much they looked alike. Terence, my husband, was quite pleased that the one guy I've had a crush on during our 16 year marriage was his double. I guess I have a type, don't I?

I have had a crush on a priest. My cousin. I had a crush on him long before he joined the priesthood, but him becoming a priest made it worse, because he had to be even nicer to me, no matter how much of a pain I was. But after Catch of the Day was bought, I rejoined my local Catholic church (I'd been going to a different church out of town) and I met with the new priest. And he was really nice and (ahem) very cute. So imagine me having to say, "Oh, and by the way, Father, I just wrote a book...we'll laugh about this, I think...woman has a crush on her priest. Just wanted to get that out there..."

dee: What is your next book? When does it come out? Tell us a bit about it. And the one after that, if you want... :)

Kristan: My next book is called JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. (My title was ONE OF THE GUYS, so I feel pretty triumphant). It's about Chastity O'Neill, daughter of a firefighter, sister of two firefighters, a cop and a chopper paramedic. Chastity is six feet tall, a jock, a veritable force of nature, and her blessing and curse is that she is indeed one of the guys. She's been in love with Trevor, her brother's best friend, since she was a kid, and they had a brief fling in college, but since then, nada. Problem is, she's still stuck on him, she's just moved back to her hometown, and she's having trouble acting normal around him. This book is due out this summer.

My current WIP is called THE PERFECT MAN (right now, anyway), and it's about a woman, Grace, who pretends to be dating someone in order to get out of a sticky situation. Her fib takes on a life of its own, because she uses a real guy's name. I'm writing the first draft of this one right now.

dee: Have you always been a dog person? Have dogs helped you through rough spots in your life, like Colonel did for Maggie?

Kristan: Yes, I am a dog person. I can't walk down the street without stopping to pat a dog, and my voice changes into this embarrassing weird accent..."Oh, look, there he is, Mr. Handsome Super Dog of the World! Hello, Super Dog! You are beautiful! I love you! I do!" Then, mercifully, my husband tows me away before the owner can call the police.

Dogs have indeed helped me through sad times. Colonel is based on a dog I had named Brendan, a Golden Retriever I bought from the pound. My father had died the year before, and his Goldie, Clyde, basically died of a broken heart six months later. When we brought Brendan home, he used to sit on my lap if I cried. When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, he lay down in front of her crib like he was guarding her. My son was a preemie, only four and a half pounds when he came home, and Brendan used to put his head on my lap when I was holding our son and just gaze at the tiny baby.

Dogs have a tenderness in them that I think is unique in the animal world. I love and faithfully serve my cats, but the dogs get my heart. (note from dee - the pic at the top is of Kristan with her current four-legged love, Digger.)

dee: And finally...When you are away at a writer's conference, what is your favorite drink to order at a bar? :)

Kristan: See, this is how you get into trouble...one drink at one conference with one nutty website person, and the reputation begins. No comment!

Somehow, I just knew she wasn't going to answer that last question! ;)

Big thanks to the FABulous Kristan Higgins for putting up with us yet again this year, for answering our questions, and for giving away signed copies of her books to one of our lucky CONTEST WINNERS. Please remember to enter the contest so you have a shot at winning the SINGED copies of Kristan's books. And remember, if you add the book cover and the BCC to your own blog and link back here, I'll give you FIVE FREE ADDITIONAL CHANCES TO WIN!

Good luck!

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

1 comment:

Chantal said...

Great interview.
I placed an order at eharlequin today, and Catch of the day was one of the books that I ordered. That cover is too cute.