Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In Conversation with Kristan Higgins

Posted by Susan B James on 12:15:00 AM with 18 comments
I’m delighted to welcome two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award and New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kristan Higgins.

Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her two 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.

This October Kristan returns to her wonderfully popular Blue Heron series with a delightfully smart and appealing contemporary romance in IN YOUR DREAMS.

Hi! Thanks so much for having me here today! I was reading my bio above and got kind of goofy-feeling, like, “Holy heck, that’s me! I sound pretty fabulous!” Right now, in reality, I’m nursing a cold with Hershey Nuggets and extra-soft tissues, and every time I sneeze, the dog bolts down the stairs. And my lap is a little sweaty, because my computer is getting hot. Is that too much information? Anyway, I’m not really the fabulous type. So thanks for that lovely welcome!

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.

Okay! I was home alone; Dearest Son was at nursery school, the Princess Daughter was in first grade, and my agent called with the news. At the time, I didn’t know her terribly well, so I tried to be very dignified and said things like, “Oh, how wonderful! Thank you so much!” When I hung up the phone, I started jumping around and squeaking, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I sold a book!”

And then I took a moment to be quiet… My dad died a long time ago, and I wanted so much to tell him the news. So I did. I said, “Hey, Dad. My book’s going to be published.” I like to think he knew. For a second, I swear I could smell his nice Dad-smell.

Then McIrish came home, and we jumped up and down together, and when my Princess came off the bus, I said, “Guess what? Mommy’s book sold, which means it will be in bookstores and everything!” and she said, “That’s nice. What’s for snack?”

So it was a perfect representation of just about every one of my days—joy and surprise and a little melancholy and very happy normalcy.

I love your answer. As a family, we had a lot of days like that.
If it isn’t too nosy . . . (well of course it is!) How about the first time you kissed your true love?

It was on our first date. McIrish lived in Brooklyn at the time, and he took me to a little coffee house. Held the door for me, listened like I was the most fascinating person in the world. Told me how he had a kitten he’d rescued during a fierce rainstorm (I started naming our babies at that moment). And then as we were walking back to the subway station so I could go home, he kissed me. We were engaged six weeks later. Draw your own conclusions. ; )

Oh wow. You had me at the kitten.

When they make a movie of In your Dreams, who would be your first choice for Jack? Emmaline?

Hmm. How about Chris Hemsworth? Yes. Call Chris immediately! As for Emmaline, maybe Jennifer Lawrence? She’s got that bad-ass attitude down to a T.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?

Oh, wow! There have been so many! The first three that leap to mind are the two times I won the RITA Award, which just gobsmacked me. I completely babbled through the first speech; if it hadn’t been filmed, I still wouldn’t remember what I said. The second time, I at least had notes, but I’m fairly sure there was babbling then, too. Last summer, I gave a speech in front of 2300 romance writers as the keynoter at Romance Writers of America’s national conference. That was such an incredible privilege. They gave me a standing ovation, and I was crying like a baby.

But there are other moments, too. The first fan letter I ever got (Alana Weaver from Montana, I remember you!). The first time I saw someone reading my book in public. In a few weeks, I’m going to Europe on a book tour. Just typing those words is incredibly surreal.

And then there are the exciting moments in writing, when all of a sudden, a sentence appears on the computer monitor, and I think, “Oh! So that’s what’s going on! Now I get it!” Those are little moments of grace, and they never fail to thrill.

What is your favorite pastime, when you aren’t writing or kid wrangling?

I do love torturing my teenagers. The four of us always have so many laughs together (when the kids aren’t bickering about whose turn it is to clean the litter box and such). I love stories, so I love to read, of course, and also watch movies and binge-watch television shows. I take boxing lessons (don’t laugh!). I love to ride my bike on flat paths that end at restaurants or ice cream stands. And I love my family. I have a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins, and it’s always great to see them.

I’ve read that you are a master baker and your husband is a fireman/fantastic cook. Have you got a recipe you want to share?

Sure! Since chocolate cake plays a role in IN YOUR DREAMS, here’s my grandmother’s recipe:

Gram’s Hershey Bar Cake

1 7-ounce Hershey bar (milk chocolate, no nuts) broken into pieces
¼ cup butter
1 2/3 cups boiling water
2 1/3 cups unsifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups light brown sugar

Combine chocolate, butter and boiling water in medium bowl; stir till smooth. In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt, Gradually add chocolate mixture, beating well. Blend in eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Beat till smooth, for about a minute. Pour into 10 x 14 baking pan or two 9” rounds. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Perfect Chocolate Frosting (Hershey’s recipe)
1 stick butter
2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
That s going on the recipe page right now. Click on the Recipes Tab and you'll see it.

In Your Dreams made my MUST READ list the minute I read this blurb:
Everyone in town loves Jack Holland, but police officer Emmaline Neal needs him. Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can’t go to the wedding alone.

In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won’t get the wrong idea.

The timing is perfect because Jack needs an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he’s been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy—especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back and angling for a reunion…a year after sleeping with another guy. He’s always liked Emmaline, an ice-mate in their town hockey league. She needs a weekend date, he needs to get away? No problem—two birds with one stone.

As often happens when having too good a time at weddings, the two friends wind up in bed. This brings its own set of problems. Em chalks the incident up to red wine and chocolate cake—just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack’s pushing for more. The worry here is, if Em lets down her guard, either she’ll get her heart crushed again or discover that Jack’s worth more than just dreaming about.

I can't wait to read this. If it wasn't my blog, I would try to win the copy.
Thank you so much for visiting, Kristan. You are such a funny, lovely, talented woman.
Kristan is giving away a copy of In Your Dreams on this blog to one lucky commenter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can find Kristan on Facebook 
And on her website  kristanhiggins.com
But please leave her some love here. I know many of you have read her books. And  if by some chance you haven't, now,s the time to start.


  1. I am looking forward to reading IN YOUR DREAMS.Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.

  2. Terrific interview, ladies!

    IN YOUR DREAMS sounds evens sweeter than Gran's chocolate cake. Hmm...if I plan this right, I could have both!

  3. What a fabulous interview. You are both so sweet. I confess, I haven't read IN YOUR DREAMS, so I entered. : ) If I don't win it, I'll be sure to buy it. Sounds delightful.

  4. Just so you know, I am Kristan Higgin's stalker. At least one of them. She says she knows I'm staking her and she likes it. She's a great writer who's not afraid to let her sense of humor show. That's why I lurve her.

  5. I am chuckling over the explanation of how you turned to novel-writing, great sense of humor.

  6. I love the actors you picked for your characters, Jennifer and Chris (my personal fan crush) Love your books and have laughed out loud and cried too, great writing! Thanks for the blog today!

  7. Thanks Kristan, for sharing some of your beautiful life with us. Any time children grace us with sleep at night we are blessed, let alone sleeping in the afternoon. I wish you much success with "in your dreams"

  8. Great interview! I'm putting IN YOUR DREAMS on my TBR list.

  9. Can't wait to read it. Any recipe with chocolate is good.

  10. Sounds like a terrific read. I just added it to my TBR list.

  11. Great interview, Susan - I love Kristan's work, and especially, the Man Wars between her and Jill Shalvis. Rafflecopter, be my friend!

  12. In Your Dreams has the cutest cover I've ever seen. The dog had me swooning, and the cozy couple, the barn and the snow - just the sweetest picture ever.

  13. Thanks Sue & Kristan! Now I have a good recipe and a great read to go with it!

  14. Fabulous interview! I especially love Kristan's story about her first kiss with McIrish! I'm really looking forward to Jack and Emmaline's story!

  15. So many fun things to comment on from the first sale to the first kiss. Love the cover and plan to read your newest novel. Congrats on all your success and thanks for the great recipe!

  16. I can't wait to read In Your Dreams, it sounds like another fabulous book by Kristan! Love Princess' reaction to Kristan having her first book sold!


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