Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kristan Higgins in the Lair!

by Joan

The Bandits are pleased to welcome award winning author Kristan Higgins to the Lair. Kristan’s HQN title “Catch of the Day” won the 2008 RITA for Single Title Contemporary at the RWA conference in San Francisco. Kristan’s wit and heart are expertly woven into the most entertaining, wonderful stories of life and love that I’ve read in a good long while.

Welcome to the Lair, Kristan!

Thanks for inviting me, Joan! Ahoy, Bandits!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm the product of good old American middle class normalcy. Nice nuclear family, wholesome upbringing, dogs, horse, tree fort, stuff like that. Small liberal arts college, English degree, low-paying but interesting jobs. I'm married to a great guy, live in my hometown, am mommy to a lovely daughter and adorable son. Not too exciting to read about, but definitely wonderful to have!

I think my defining trait is that I'm a hard worker. Goes with being a Connecticut Yankee. We tilled the rocky soil and got stuff to grow. We're not whimsical say you're going to do something, you get to work! That's something that's served me well as a writer...I'm not sentimental about my own work. It's just my job to make it as good as I possibly can. I love my books, of course, but I'm also my own sternest critic. It sounds harsh, but it actually saves me a lot of time.

Many authors say they’ve been writers all their lives. How about you? When did you start writing?

I didn't start writing fiction until about eight years ago, but I'd always worked as a writer, which definitely helped when I did sit down to write a novel. I didn't have to learn about things like "show, don't tell," having come from advertising world. As a copywriter, I wrote every day. I had to write bright, vivid copy that got your attention, and I had to do it on a deadline. I was lucky, because when I started writing fiction, that muscle was already pretty developed.

But despite the lack of any real fiction writing until not too long ago, I feel like I've been a writer since I was a teenager. See, I read Gone With the Wind when I was 13. My copy was 1042 pages long, and I spent 1041 pages believing that Scarlett and Rhett would get back together. When the ending came, I was, no exaggeration, devastated! Being 13, I had no appreciation for subtlety, so I spent much of my teen years imagining that famous couple back together...all those missed opportunities taken, Scarlett's stubbornness abating for just a minute, Rhett's pride dropping enough to say those three difficult words. I read Gone With the Wind 14 times. In a row. This should give you an idea of my teenage years. Picture me, glasses, bad perm, a bowl of ice cream by my side, sitting in the cellar on a hot summer day, reading. (Now that I think of it, the only difference between then and now is that my hair is better...)

You do a masterful job of crafting a heroine you want to cheer for as well as a hero you long for. Which do you find easier to write?

Thanks for the 'masterful,' Joan! So far, I've written in first person, so I'd say the heroines are easier, since I'm right there in their heads. I do love the heroes, of course. First person is fun, because everything that the narrator states is true may not be. That's why I love writing that way...if, for example, I'd given Malone in CATCH OF THE DAY his own point of view, he wouldn't have been nearly so interesting. In my opinion, anyway.

One of my favorite parts of writing is when I outline the hero's character. I always swore I'd never write a brooding alpha male...I've found that if I've sworn not to do something, it probably means I should do it. So I figured, what the heck? Let's do a brooding alpha male. But I wanted him to have reasons to be a loner, to be brooding, to be reluctant to talk about...well, in Malone's case, to talk about just about anything. I figured his actions would tell the readers everything. Making up his history, family background, personality...that was fun. My heroines tend to come to me fully formed, but the heroes take a little more time. It's amazing, too, how true it is...your characters take on a life of their own. Sometimes it feels like I'm not really writing...I'm channeling.

How did puppies get to be the focus of your covers?

The marketing department at HQN loved Digger, the dog in my first book (FOOLS RUSH IN). And who doesn't like a dog? That cover was so charming that the publisher ran with the theme. I hadn't deliberately decided to have a dog in every book, but I do love dogs (Digger is actually based on my own sweet dog of the same name). I don't think I'm going to have a dog in a book just for the sake of it, but I write about women who are looking for commitment. Having a pet shows commitment, so it feels natural that my heroines are also pet owners. In the book I'm writing now, I think I'm going to have a cat. This is a blatant suck-up move for my own two cats, who adore and snuggle with my children but ignore me unless they need to go out. And in. And back out. And in again. I'm just the doorman in their eyes.

The You Tube video of the trash talking ST finalists was hilarious. Did you find it hard to embrace your inner Soprano?

My inner Soprano is alive and well! Actually, I've always loved doing different accents (you should hear me reading Harry Potter to my kids). But doing it for public viewing...much, much harder! I had to send my family out of the house for the filming. It took me about 10 tries. Originally, I'd wanted to have my own dog in the clip, but he kept licking my face or jumping off the couch, so I had to go with a prop. I actually had someone approach me at the National conference, not because she'd read my books, but because she recognized me from the video.
(Joan: Gulp, {sheepish look})

What did it feel like to win the coveted RITA award?

Well, I won't lie. It was one of the happiest nights of my life. Definitely in the top three. First of all, I got to wear a GOWN! I haven't worn a gown since my wedding day! That was prize enough. I really didn't expect to win...Rachel Gibson, anyone? The great Susan Andersen? Jennifer Greene? In fact, I'd say CATCH OF THE DAY was definitely a dark horse candidate. So when the presenter read my title, I was stunned, and just so, so happy. Floated around for days. Still can't quite believe it.

Your latest release “Just One of the Guys” features a beagle with a fireman’s helmet and your DH is a firefighter. Was he your inspiration?

Absolutely! I'd been waiting to write a firefighter hero, and I can't tell you how much fun it was to both honor and gently mock the firefighters I know, including my DH. My husband is definitely a hero. He's done amazing, extraordinary son and I once watched him drag an unconscious man from a burning building. He's picked up severed limbs at accidents, calmed strung out teenagers, made hearts beat again, and he does those things with a grace and calm that are astonishing. That being said, he can't make our bed to save his life, and he refuses to follow directions when driving.

One of the best things about writing JUST ONE OF THE GUYS was having my husband read it. He doesn't read my stuff until it comes out, so it was awfully touching to see him get all teary-eyed when he read the dedication. It's to him, of course.

You share on your website that you like to bake. We have quite a few bakers in the Lair ::cough:: state fair winners ::cough:: What is your favorite thing to bake?

Ooh! I love to bake. I have a few blue ribbons myself! I love to bake apple pie, because it makes the house smell so good. Chocolate chip cookies are a specialty...let's see...banana bread, rice pudding, sponge cake. All my recipes are from my grandmother, who was an amazing baker. At Christmas, I make Hungarian cookies, which are so complicated and difficult that I always say if I don't cry, I'm doing something wrong. But the pay-off is wonderful, and I'm the only one in my very large extended family who bakes them, so I'm quite adored come December. In the book I'm working on now, the heroine is a baker. I feel it's my job as a good writer to eat as many pastries as I can...all in the name of research, of course.

Now I have a question for the Bandita’s and their BB’s. One of the things I hear a lot is that my books are “standard” romantic comedy… characters aren’t famous people, ex-military or extraordinarily gifted, and I tend to close the door on love scenes. What books have you read that veer off the beaten path but deliver the goods anyway? I have to confess that Loretta Chase’s “Lord of Scoundrels” did that for me. An ugly hero who had really, really good reason to shy away from love . From page one of that book there was a tension and electricity in that book that didn’t stop till the end. So how about you guys?


Anna Campbell said...

ha, he stays in Oz!!!!! bwaqhahahahah! Or perhaps buk, buk, buk, mate!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, there Kristan! Your books are just so much fun! And as a devoted canine and feline mama, I always love the animals in your stories. I was tickled pink that you won the Rita this year and I was so excited to be at the Rita awards!

That question is an easy one for me. The Incomparable Anna Campbell, anyone? I mean Kylemore is definitely NOT the kind of hero one normally sees in a romance novel, nor is Verity your typical heroine. Yet Claiming the Courtesan is one of those one in a million romances that breaks all the rules and breaks your heart along the way until the very end.

Louisa Cornell said...

Now I like that! I say nice things about you and you snatch the chook right out of my evil ... I mean Chook Mama clutches!

Anna Campbell said...

Kristan, sorry - you'll forgive my euphoria. Or perhaps Chookphoria. We have a prize to the first commenter of the day and I haven't had it since the Golden Rooster was a glint in his daddy's eye! Please forgive my HEN-thusiasm!

Joan, what a great interview! Kristan, great to hear all about your books. I haven't read any yet but I just ordered Catch of the Day. Is that a good one to start with.

Huge congratulations on the RITA. I hope it's in a place of honor. Just as an aside - do you have a Hungarian background and that's why you make the cookies? The book of my heart (still under the bed and likely to stay there, sigh) featured a Hungarian prince as the hero and he really did rock my Austro-Hungarian Empire!

There's more!

Anna Campbell said...

Gosh, talk about scrawny chook neck to scrawny chook neck (I'm talking about the ROOSTER! Although now I take a closer look in the mirror, perhaps I'm talking about me as well as the rooster. Sigh). And then you go ahead and say those lovely things, Miss Louisa! Thank you. Mwah. Mwah. I'd offer to send him up but he's already discovered the Tim Tam stash and you know there's no moving him once that happens!

Now, what was I going to say to Kristan...

Anna Campbell said...

I adore the dog covers. And actually I like a book where the hero isn't a duke or a billionaire or a superhero (mind you, I like a book where he is - I'm just a book tart!). I've recently started reading quite a lot of Blaze, thanks to our fabulously talented Tawny Weber. Three I thought were wonderful were by a writer called Kathleen O'Reilly. They were set around a bar in New York. The first hero owns the bar, the second guy is an accountant (sheesh! An accountant!) and the third hero is a lawyer. These books packed such an amazing emotional punch and the real-life settings/characters just built that up for me.

Great, another LOS fan! Although I think Dain is just ugly in his own mind (and he was obviously a very awkward little boy). I'd be happy to discuss the matter further with him if I could ditch that pesky Jessica!

Louisa Cornell said...

Kristan, when you outline your hero's character does he come to you all at once, fully formed or do you learn more about him as you write? Once you have him outlined, do you stick pretty close to that or do some things surprise you or not work out?

Nobody can blame the GR for staying if there is a Tim Tam stash to be raided, La Campbell!

And I meant every word I said. Kylemore, like Dain in Lord of Scoundrels is not the kind of hero you would expect women to be drawn to, but they are BIG TIME!!

Kristan, what I love about your books is the humor, the warmth and the view from the heroine's head. The reader falls in love with the hero right along with the heroine.

Anonymous said...

Welcome Kristan! And congratulations on the RITA! Wow, you're like royalty around here! :-)

I love romantic comedy, and love an everyman hero. I actually do the opposite of you when I write, Kristan -- I start out trying to write a brooding alpha male, and he always ends up being far less alpha and brooding at the end. Those characters just have a way of taking over sometimes. ;-)

I love traditional romance heros, but if he's written well, I think almost any man can be sexy. We had a blog once about this, and I think for me sexy comes from competence and smarts first of all, looks second. So you could put any man into an extraordinary situation, and if he took the reins and could handle it, I'd be smitten.

I'm trying to think of good examples but I think it's a little too late...I'll try again in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Anna! Watch out -- the chook has been shifty-eyed and sneaky lately. Don't let him out of your sight. You never know what he's up to.

Louisa Cornell said...

Another book that definitely veered off the beaten path was the Divine Diane Gaston's The Mysterious Miss M. Who could imagine a heroine who was sold to the hero in payment of a card game debt? I loved that these two people were thrown together under the most bizarre circumstances and yet managed to fall in love completely.

I think that is what is so appealing about stories like this - either an unimaginable hero and/or heroine or unimaginable circumstances. These are the things that make you sit back when you read a great story and say "Whoa! I wasn't expecting that!"

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, I'm beginning to suspect that all your favorites feature naughty ladies!

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Anna he was eating chocolate mud cake yesterday so he might still be on a high

Great interview Ladies these books sound wonderful I like the idea of a normal guy being the hero I have read a few books lately where the heros have been policeman Tawny and Beths books and I loved them and I am very fond of cats and dogs I have three dogs myself so I will be looking for these books.

As for the question I have to agree firstly with Louisa I could never had said it as good as you Kylemore is definatley not your normal hero and I agree with you Kristan about Dain in Lord of Scoundrals.

Have Fun

Anonymous said...

Kristan, I’m usually too shy to comment on this Bandit hangout preferring to read in silence. Today my fingers burned to make a comment. I’ve never met a Rita winning dog displaying lady writer who even has her own fireman at home. I’ve known for sometime romance readers (except me) keep up with the latest fireman calendar.

It’s not easy being the only guy I know who passionately reads romance novels. I’m also the only guy I know who has a partner who steals all the better novels and a dog who tolerates me because I’m a quiet reader.

I asked my partner to answer your question (because she has all the good novels). She told to be quiet. I asked Lady but before I finished the question, she to told me to be quiet.

I love what I’ve read tonight. --- You’ve made a sale. (I’ll work on my autographed set; somehow.) ---- thank you ---- Eric

Kristan said...

Wow! Joan told me the Bandistas would be out early...should've set my alarm!

Thanks for all the kind words, folks. It's so nice to be chatting with you all.

Yes, I'm grandparents immigrated here. I think our family motto is "Everything's Better with Sour Cream" or something. :-)

As for how I come up with my heroes...hmm. I guess it's different with every book. In Catch of the Day, Malone was the polar opposite of Maggie's crush, Father Tim. In Just One of the Guys, the hero is someone the heroine has known most of her life, the sweetest, most decent guy in the world, but someone who carries some baggage.

Like most writers, I find that my characters start bossing me around somewhere in the first draft, and I am merely their humble servant. It's always a surprise to me how they change from my initial impression of them. For example, in my upcoming book, Too Good To Be True, my heroine started off as someone who was a bit down on her luck. She ends up being quite funny and feisty with a nice little edge to her.

As for the dogs...well, I just love dogs. It wasn't a deliberate choice, having each heroine own a dog. It's just that dogs have always been such a part of my own life, it seemed natural that my heroines would have their own pups, too. I think pet-ownership says something about a person, whether you have a lizard or a Newfoundland. And it's usually something good.

Romance Novel TV said...

Hi Kristan - Congrats on your RITA.

I'd have to say "Storm Born". Wow, it veered and veered - but it kept me reading. Not your typical Hero or shall I say heroes...


Marie Force said...

Look at us New England Chapter girls taking over the Lair! (Do you think they've figured out yet that it's a conspiracy? But they sure do start early around here, don't they?) I was soooooo excited for you at the Rita ceremony, my friend. And your acceptance speech was a definite highlight in what was already a spectacular few days! I'm looking forward to seeing you and your hero DH at the LOS launch party!

As for your question, I love to be surprised by a story that isn't what I expected it to be. Coming up blank on examples (a common problem lately) so I will end by saying Catch of the Day is in my TBR pile. Can't wait to read it!

Ann M. said...

I love Kristan's romantic comedies. As I've gushed to her - the settings of her first two books were areas I've vacationed with my family. I was transported to the Cape and to Maine.

Hmm.. books off the beaten path - I'd have to say.. Sherry Thomas' books. Her first book starts talking about the "perfect" marriage for the time and that the hero and heroine have this by living on two different continents. I was hooked when the husband shows up at his house and wasn't recognized by the doorman.

Kristan said...

Hey, Marie! Hi, Ann! Nice to hear from you gals...Yes, Marie, we're definitely insinuating ourselves in the Lair, aren't we? Got a great kick out of your McDreamy daze. And Ann, I remember your fellow Cape Cod vacationer!

Setting is a critical part of my books...In my first book, Fools Rush In, I chose Eastham on Cape Cod, because we have a place up there, and it was a joy to set a book in my favorite place. In Catch of the Day, I wanted a remote setting to make Maggie's quest for a man all the harder. I also wanted that brooding alpha male, and I find lobstermen to be the loner cowboys of the sea. Just One of the Guys is set in the DH and I had visited there, and I just loved Glens Falls, NY. The mountains and ruggedness of the area really backed up Chastity's strength of character and jock tendencies.

I should have mentioned the GREAT Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan. Sigh! Thank you, Anna, for that incredible story. It's just incredibly special.

Joan said...

Good morning, everyone!

Anna, congrats on the GR!

Louisa, great way to describe Kristan's book, the reader falling in love with the hero as the heroine does.

Joan said...

Kristan, here's a classic writer's question (should have thought of it in the interview)

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Joan said...

Oh, Marie, Marie, Marie.....

Nothing happens by happenstance in the Lair....

Two New England Chapter members in one week? Based on intel by the GR you two were lured here.

I'm just sayin'

Marie Force said...

The rooster is right, we were lured to the LAIR, Joan! LOL

Kristan said...

So...I've been tricked into coming, is that what you're saying, Joan? Well, works for me.

Oh, I'm a plotter. I'm sorry. I outline for about three weeks before starting anything. Granted, the outline bears little resemblance to the finished product, but I feel like it gets a lot of the flak out of the way. For example, I'd prefer to change the nice sister to a mean brother in the outline, rather than go back through 200 pages and change it then.

I compare writing to driving across country...I feel like I'm going to be able to see a lot more nice places if I have a map. That being said, I do enjoy veering off the charted course now and again.

Joan said...

(sigh) I have plotter envy.

The closest I ever came to plotting was two years ago when I plotted out the last 100 pages of THE PATRICIAN'S FORTUNE to get it in for the GH.

I'm a pantser, through and through. I kind of write down a timeline but let the story lead me where it needs to go.

Another oddity? I love revisions {ducks flying objects}

Gannon Carr said...

Hey, Kristan! And congratulations of your RITA!

I haven't read your books yet, but everyone I know raves about them, so I will be adding you to my TBB list for sure. Love the dogs on the cover. As a pet owner (2 dogs and 2 cats), I have a weakness for those precious furry four-legged creatures.

I love to read about a 'normal' hero, and I love the billionaire-aristocrat-larger-than-life hero, too. Hey, just call me a 'book tart' like Anna. ;) Just give me a well-written story with characters that grab my attention, and I'm satisfied.

Congrats on keeping the chook in Oz, Anna! What are y'all doing down there? He doesn't seem to want to leave.

Gillian Layne said...

Congrats on that GR, Anna. :)

Kristan, your book look fabulous. Congratulations on your Rita! Do you enjoy the research necessary for your stories, and what does a normal writing day look like for you?

I thought Sydnam's story in Simply Love was a fabulous tale of an unlikely hero. But Mary Balogh in any form is amazing.

jo robertson said...

Excellent interview, Joan and Kristan! Welcome to the Lair, Kristan.

I have to say that I normally stay away from first-person narrators. I'm one of those readers who likes to be in EVERYONE'S head, nosy girl that I am. But your voice is so compelling and distinctive that I must try one of your books.

Do you recommend that I begin with the first one or Catch of the Day, your Rita win?

PJ said...

Good Morning all! Welcome to the lair, Kristan and congrats on your RITA! I love your books and your covers. I confess, it was the dog on the cover that first drew my attention to Fools Rush In and the puppy on Catch of the Day is just too adorable for words. Of course, the story between the covers has to be good too and yours are wonderful. I haven't read Just One of the Guys yet (my local stores didn't carry it...Grrrr) but it's in my queue at Amazon and I'm looking forward to getting it.

Jo Goodman veered off the normal path with both the hero and the heroine in her current release, The Price of Desire but I loved it. It was 439 pages and I read it in one day!

Kristan said...

Hi, Gillian and Gannon! Thanks for dropping by...

My research is always fun. Usually it entails a weekend trip somewhere so I can get a feel for setting. And I do like to be as accurate as I can with my heroine's profession. Millie was a doctor...I worked briefly in a hospital (and actually was a pre-med major for a short time in college before realizing that I'd have to do math and science forever and ever). For Maggie's diner research, I hung out at a local diner and interviewed the owner. A friend of mine worked for a small newspaper, so she was my source for journalism info for Chastity in Just One of the Guys.

Heroine #4 is a history teacher who loves Civil War battle reenactments. That was a LOT of fun to research. I became something of a Civil War buff during this time and have seen dozens of movies (Cold Mountain...sigh!) about that era, since my heroine would obviously love those, too.

That's all part of the outlining...trying to find aspects of a profession that would tie into the plot. I really do like it. And Joan...I LOVE revisions! It's when my book goes from cute idea to a real book.

Treethyme said...

Hi Kristan! I'm a huge fan, have been since your first book came out. I must admit, the dog on the cover is what made me pick it up but I'd go for a cat cover, too!

In answer to your question, I would definitely put Anna Campbell's books on that list and possibly Joanne Bourne, too. And Anne Stuart, in a lot of her books, and Jennifer Crusie in some of hers. All of those authors are, coincidentally, among my favorites.

One of the things I like best about your first book was that the relationship wasn't what I expected, and I've found that in your subsequent books, too. I think your latest book is my favorite so far -- I really wanted to meet those two in real life!

It's funny that Anna's books were the first to come to mind -- I haven't been to this blog in awhile so I didn't make the connection.

Kristan, your name has come up a few times at on the Romance board. Your ears must be burning!

Wendy said...

Hi, Kristan!

I love reading romantic comedy with everyday heroes. I haven't read your books yet but I definitely will! :)

Joan said...

Jo, you can start with any of Kristan's books in any order. They are wonderful.

And as to the pups? My favortie one to date is Buttercup in "Just One of the Guys"

Gotta love a movement challenged dog :-)

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, La Campbell, I will confess to a penchant for the naughty ladies. I DID sing Violetta you know! And don't get me started on the ultimate naughty lady - Lulu.

And yes, Gillian, Syndham Butler in Simply Love is one of the most unlikely heroes you will ever read, but oh that story is WONDERFUL!!

I am a pantser, but I never really thought about what Kristan said - it IS a lot easier to change something in an outline. I had to go back through Lost in Love to add two Scottish deerhounds that didn't let me know they OWNED Marcus until chapter 19!

Oh now Buttercup sounds like my kind of dog!

Kristan said...

There are definitely pros and cons of writing in first person, true enough! In the book that I just finished writing, I really, really wanted a scene where one character says something to the hero, but getting the heroine to overhear it just didn't work. In the end, I had to figure something else out and in fact changed the scene completely.

I imagine I'll try third person with two POVs soon enough. I do enjoy first person, though, and especially in romantic comedy. Feeling the heroine's pain through her own eyes...I don't know. Call me a sadist, but I love it!

Joan said...

Not everyone can do first person well but Kirstan does it...well, it appears effortless.

Fess up Kirstan you really just wave a magic wand over your computer, right?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Kristan!

Of course it is NOT a coincidence that we had TWO New England chaptermates here in the same week. ;-) There are NO coincidences in the Lair! MUAHAHAHAHA!

SUPER CONGRATS on your Rita win, Kristan! I can only imagine how thrilled you must be.

Like Joanie, I'm a pantser, but I'm trying hard to reform and become more of a plotter. But generally after a week or two of trying to plot, I get frustrated and give in to all those characters shouting inside my head and just start writing.

As for ordinary guys for heroes, I see NOTHING wrong with an accountant hero. MY hero in TWS is an accountant! Smart men are sexy. Or as Jo-Mama says, SMEXY.

another dog lover

Donna MacMeans said...

"I had to write bright, vivid copy that got your attention, and I had to do it on a deadline"

Oh- teach me mighty one, to do this! I've never learned to capture a bit witty spin in few words. You have a true talent.

Hey - y'all. Watch the accountant jokes. You'll force me to come after you with a sharpened pencil. *g*

Kristan - Welcome to the lair. I love, love, love romantic comedies. I try to work my way through all the RITA winners so yours is in the stack. Congrats on the coveted award.

You made me tear up with your description of your dh. I'll be picking up JUST ONE OF THE GUYS as well (sigh).

Joanie - thank you so much for inviting Kristan. Lovely Blog!

Joan said...

Hey - y'all. Watch the accountant jokes. You'll force me to come after you with a sharpened pencil. *g*

Ah, now Donna. I have the perfect protection from this. Brings accountants to their knees every time.

"I don't balance my checkbook"


Donna? Donna?

Kristan said...

Oh, yes, accountant heroes! Guess what? My next hero was formerly an accountant. I'm with you, Aunt Cindy! Smart is definitely sexy. One type of hero I haven't done yet is the total geek hero, the kind on which Vicky Lewis Thompson built an empire. Maybe someday...

As for being good with the witty turn of phrase...thanks! It's so much easier when you have 10 or 12 hours to think of that lightning-fast reply, isn't it? I'm not exactly Rain Man in conversation, mind you, but I'm definitely better on paper. One of the many pros of being a writer vs. a stand-up comic or something.

Joan said...

Another quick question, Kirstan,

I've noted in your books you have a concurrent storyline revolving around "ahem" mature couples rediscovering who they are, what they want from their life, their relationship.

Was this a conscious choice or did it evolve in that mysterious way subplots often do?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Kristan, mega cool on the Hungarian connection! I'll let you know if the book ever sees the light of day - it was such fun to research and my prince was, well, such a PRINCE! Paprika featured strongly ;-)

And then, deedle, deedle, dee, just reading the blog - I get to your next comment! Wow! Bending my head in bashful joy down here in Oz! Thank you!

And Helen, thanks to you too! You've been so amazingly supportive to me, if ever I sell as many books as Nora, you're on a weekly Tim Tam delivery!

Kristan said...

Hey, I do have that, don't I? Actually, no, it's not a conscious decision...I do think about subplots that echo the main plot, of course. And I also feel that finding love is not the goal...keeping love, that's the real journey. Spoken like a true romance writer, right?

Anna Campbell said...

JT, I love revisions too. My first drafts are fit only to line a rooster's hut! And while revisions are tough, at last I start to see something emerging from the black pit.

Hey, Gannon, nice to meet another book tart! ;-) But honestly, with such a wonderful smorgasbord to choose from, who can restrict herself to one flavor?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Treethyme, can I find you a permanent spot at the bar? What a lovely thing to say! Thank you! Actually I agree with you about Anne Stuart's heroes - they're so EEEEVIL yet they're so sexy, and then she does such a great job of redeeming them. And Jennifer Crusie picks unusual guys too, doesn't she? And they're as sexy as all get out too. I adored Phin in Welcome to Temptation.

Aunty Cindy, an accountant with second sight? Yeah, really your average Joe! ;-)

Kristan, I'm looking forward to the geek hero. Anne Stuart wrote a great one who worked out how to become invisible. I adore geeks - there's a few in Susan Elizabeth Phillips too, although they're often in a wonderful secondary romance rather than the main hero.

Joan said...

And I also feel that finding love is not the goal...keeping love, that's the real journey. Spoken like a true romance writer, right?

Awww....yup, like a true romance writer.

So how does your family see your writing? Husband? Kids? Parents/Siblings? Neighbors? The lady at the drugstore? :-)

Lori Avocato said...


I love your hard work, I'm a Yankee theory!


Kristan said...

Hi, Lori! Thanks for popping in...

As for how my family/friends/town sees me...well, the DH is incredibly proud. He's always pushing my books on unsuspecting browsers if I have a signing. My son is the only 9 year old boy in the world who charges into a bookstore and asks, "Where's your romance section?" I've spoken to both kids classes about writing (the teachers love a plotter!). And I now live in the town where I grew up, so yes, there's a lot of great support. The library always advertises me as "Durham's own Kristan Higgins"...the pharmacy has my picture on the window, our vet comes to my readings. Can't complain one bit!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kristan, a hearty welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the RITA! Thanks for a great interview, Joanie T.

I love romantic comedy, so I'm looking forward to reading your books, Kristan. Fantastic covers, btw! The trash talk was so much fun--I loved your little dawgy:) Did you get anyone taking it too seriously? I know of one person who thought it was real. ::eye roll::

Ooh, Lord of Scoundrels is one of my all-time favourites! I'm not sure about rule-breaking romantic comedy. I suppose Jenny Crusie has broken rules, eg dealing with a subject like stalking in one of hers, but her books often have that suspense element, anyway. Oh, and of course there's SEP writing about footballers, which used to be a no-no. I'll be interested to read what everyone else has to say. Thanks so much for being with us today.

Congrats on the chook, Foanna!

Joan said...

That's wonderful!

It's fun talking to kids about writing, isn't it?

My CP's and I were invited to a
6th grade class at a parochial school to speak.

I was AMAZED at the interest! We provided some samples (very specific, non-romance examples) from our writing. I had a 1 page description of my hero walking into the Forum to illustrate description and how to blend it into the story. There was one minor line that I blacked out with marker. It was a riot watching all the boys trying to read through the Sharpie, LOL

But they shared their writing projects with us, asked very intelligent and savvy questions.

It was great!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Kristan! I love it. Your nine year old barrelling up to the bookshop person and demanding to see the romance section! He's a hero in the making!

Christine, the rooster has been remarkably quiet today. I think Helen tired him out yesterday. I've put him in the corner re-reading Scandal's Daughter and he seems riveted. Or perhaps that's the screws I put in his feet to hold him down...

Joan said...

Or perhaps that's the screws I put in his feet to hold him down...


Anna Campbell said...

Strangely, that's what he said. ;-)

Keira Soleore said...

Bok Bok Bok back at-chya, Foanna. Your Hen-thusiasm is Dunder-standable.

CATCH was my first introduction to your stories, Kristan, and I picked it up at my first RWA conference last year. And then you won the RITA for it this year. Serendipity! I love coincidences like that. Many, many, many congratulations to you on your win!!

Kristan said...

Thanks, Keira! (Pretty name, by the way).

Now. Must go call PETA. Am very concerned about fowl abuse Down Under.

Anna Campbell said...

I cry fowl!!!

Um, no roosters were harmed in the making of this blog! As if he'd sit still long enough for me to nail him to the floor!

Oh, no, here's the RSPCA man. Don't arrest me, sir! I'm too young for prison! NOOOOOOOOO!!!

Rooster clucks with evil satisfaction from a shadowy corner of the lounge...

Keira Soleore said...

Kristan, my examples of non-standard heroes and heroines are from historicals: Loretta Chase, Jo Beverley, Anna Campbell, Diane Gaston, Candice Hern, and Amanda McCabe.

Loretta and Anna wrote breakout heroes; Loretta, Diane, and Candice risky heroines; Amanda different historical periods and places; and JoBev all around different stories.

Keira Soleore said...

"You're not being carted off to prison, Ms. Campbell, but we're placing you under house arrest and taking off with that delicious (no, strike that) beautiful Golden Rooster," says the RSPCA man.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Keira, that's a stellar list you've got me on. No wonder the judge let me off with a good behavior bond (sadly, good behavior is TOUGH!). A bit like the rooster, the RSPCA man tells me, although the marinade helped...

By the way, lovely to have you back to play with us, m'dear. We miss you when you're off painting the town red!

Keira Soleore said...

Dear, dear Fo. I cannot possible NOT have you on my top authors list. Does the sun rise in the east?

Joan said...

Kristan, don't worry. Our rooster is a ..ahem...tough bird.

He's survived a visit to Louisville....home of, you know...

{whispers loudly} KFC!

Kristan said...

Banditas, thank you so much for having me! I had a lovely day chatting with you and hope to meet you in person someday.

All the best,


Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Kristan, you've been a great guest even if you did grass me up! I'm really looking forward to reading your books and best of luck with the new one!

Joan said...

Thanks for being with us, Kristan!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Kirstan - skipped out to do the grocery shopping and picked up Just One of the Guys. I started reading the first page while standing in line & I'm loving it. Thanks for the great read.

Joan - I love to do bank reconciliations - it's my refuge when the stress builds up. You can always count that 2+2=4. You can't count on anything when writing a book *g*.

M. said...

the dog theme for the covers is a cute idea, eye-catching and brand-developing (though i must admit, i gravitate towards the adult dogs more - the puppy just seems a little too cute for non YA fare).

and i'm intrigued by the description of 'standard romantic comedy'. pretty appealing in a sea of immortals and courtesans extraordinaire. the latter have their place, of course, including in my TBR stack, but i love variety.

i'd describe the very enjoyable julie highmore's work as belonging in the standard people category.

Treethyme said...

Anna - I'd be happy to belly up to the bar anytime. We've talked before (in the wee hours of the morning for me, normal time for you I think) when you visited I'm a moderator there, real name Becke.

Someone in my local RWA chapter reminded me about this blog -- I had it on my favorite places but had forgotten about it. Senior moment, I'm sure!

Caren Crane said...

Kristan and Joan, so sorry to have missed you yesterday. Our router decided to have an issue while my tech support (the dh) was at work. Ack!

Kristan, I recognize both your writing style and philosophy, as they are close to my own. Many fellow writers have looked at me askance when I tell them how unsentimental I am about my writing. I'll change anything if it will make the book better and still work!

I admire your books and your tenacity. There is a lot of scuttle about the downward trend for romantic comedy, but I think it will be back in full force soon. You'll be at the top of the heap for sure!

Congratulations on your well-deserved RITA win and I can't wait to read your latest. Come back and play with us at Christmas, when there are always recipes flying around the Lair! (Maybe that's where that 10 pounds came from...)

Joan said...

Welcome, Becke!

How could you have forgotten the Lair?

I mean with all the party noise, the GR squawking as he evades Anna C., the cabana boys giggling, {eyes Jeanne} the clang of shield sledding?

Glad you found us!

Treethyme said...

Joan - What can I say? Those damn senior moments are such a pain! I guess I have too many blogs on my Favorite Places but, never fear, I won't forget this one again!

My website just went live yesterday:

I'm published in non-fiction but an aspiring romance writer. The website is in my pen name.