NYTimes Bestselling Novelist & 2x RITA Award Winning Author Kristan Higgins has generously agreed to answer a few questions for us. Kristan, thank you so much for taking the time! Let’s just jump right into things.
How do you battle the doubt monster? The Doubt Monster is the nagging feeling while writing that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
I love and embrace the Doubt Monster. It took us a while to fall for each other, but because I am old and wise now, I’ve come to learn that the DM and I are actually meant to be together. He lets me know when I need to rethink a plot point or adjust a character, back off or tone down or beef up. That being said, I try to ignore the DM during the first draft. Experience has shown that while first draft may indeed suck, it doesn’t mean the final product will. So I try to barrel through that part of writing, then fling open the doors and let the Doubt Monster have at it.
What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?
I have an idea for a murder mystery based on a love triange I watched unfold. It would be very dark – the main character wouldn’t be a likable person. I think the lack of an 8th day in the week is holding me back…I’m under contract for the next three years, so until I have a little more time, that project will stay in the old noggin (where it may well be forgotten).
What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
Winning the RITA Award twice. That was just stunning. Truly stunning.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?
I’d be a pastry chef. Or the taster for a pastry chef.
They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?
Oh, yes, I do. My now-infamous 93-page outline of a historical romance set during the Potato Famine in Ireland. Po-Fam romance, I think they call it. Oh, lordy, it was so bad! The hero loves—truly loves—the heroine because she’s Terribly Beautiful, and though she hates him with every fiber of her being, she nonetheless falls for his Irresistible Charms. Stop laughing. It had its moments. Not very many of them, but one or two. Your question about would I ever finish it up made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee.
How do you come up with your shtick? For instance, a lot of your books take place in New England, so they have a distinctive flavor (like Red Sox/Yankees rivalry)
Do I have a shtick? I never really thought about it…that stuff is pretty innate to who I am. You really are a product of where you’re from and who your people are, I think. I do love baseball and welcome any chance to type the words “Derek Jeter.” I pride myself on my bad date scenes and sometimes call upon boyfriends or not-boyfriends of old for my material. But the shtick part…I think that’s organic. Every writer has their own truth. That sounds terribly profound, doesn’t it? Somebody, write that down! I must remember it!
Please tell us about your upcoming release. I hear there is a biker dude named Liam. Did you spend a lot of time hanging around biker bars for research?
The bad boy of Bellsford High returns to New Hampshire after eighteen years. Now a widower with a teenage daughter, Liam is somewhat surprised to find what a long memory the town seems to have. Posey Osterhagen, once a classic teenage misfit, worshipped Liam Murphy from afar, but even from that distance, she managed to have her heart squished to a pulp by his careless ways. Now he’s back, as irritatingly attractive as ever, and while Posey wants to stay well away from him, she can’t help wondering if fatherhood has changed him, or if he’s the same arrogant guy he was back then. How’s that sound?
As for hanging around biker bars, yes, I did. A certain guy named Scar gave me invaluable input on super-hot men, and we toured the country on his custom—oh, hang on, that was just a dream I had. No, unfortunately, most of my research came from one very happy ride on the back of a Harley, two episodes of American Chopper, and a lot of time on the Internet.
What was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?
Oh, gosh. Maybe it was the time when the head of HQN Books called me to say congratulations on hitting the New York Times bestseller list, and I hung up on her because I thought she was a telemarketer. (True story.)
Do you have a word related pet peeve?
Yes! Yes I do! I have hundreds, probably thousands. The misuse of the word “would” is one. If I would’ve known Scar was single, I would’ve given him my number. Makes me cringe. Also, when people use “I” instead of “me.” And “whom” instead of “who.” Also…oh, wait a sec, I’m being told that’s enough. Sorry. My mother’s an editor. I have issues.
What is your junk food of choice?
Anything bright orange—Twinkies, Cheetos, Cheezits, those strange little cornucopia things you could put on your fingers…
What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?
Said ‘yes’ to my boyfriend of six weeks. Worked out okay, though…we’ve been married for 20 years now.
What is your guilty pleasure? Remember: this is a ‘G’ rated blog!
America’s Next Top Model. That show is like crystal meth for me. So stupid. So shallow. Miss J? What the heck, right? And how could anyone use the word ‘smeyes’ and still have a job? But I love it. Heaven help me, I love it.
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA© award, Kristan Higgins has been called “a rising superstar in contemporary romance” by USA TODAY; “one of the most creative and honest voices in contemporary romance” by Romance Junkies and “the easiest of all my three kids to raise” by her mother. My One and Only received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews named All I Ever Wanted as one of the best romances of 2010. Her latest book, Until There Was You, was released on October 25, 2011.
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