Kristan Higgins – Until There Was You

Until There Was You

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.

Kristan and Scar

About Kristan:

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.

Find Kristan here:

Say “hi” to Kristan and feel free to leave a comment.

28 thoughts on “Kristan Higgins – Until There Was You”

  1. Yo Baby,

    Does Scar need to worry that Liam is going to replace him? Would a small bribe (say like Bugles or Cheetos) put Scar back on the top of the list? I know you have a lot of New England references in your writing but how about just a little love for the Red Sox (even though they just gave you a lifetime’s worth of material to use).

  2. Thanks for being our guest today, Kristan. I was wondering, whose idea it was for you to switch from using first person POV to third in this book? And how did you find the experience? Will you be using third person in your next book?

    For anyone who hasn’t read UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, pick up a copy today! You won’t be disappointed. Kristan – nice job on another fabulous story!

  3. Kristan: I’ve always loved your great combination of irreverent humor and romance. It keeps us reading. Congratulations on making the “Lists.”

    Tell us a little about how you balance it all. You’ve got kids, a great husband, a dog, a mother who lives next door, and and and. But, you’ve always kept to very tight deadlines. Girl, you are amazing. The tricks?? We need to know.

  4. Scar, yes. Bring me some Bugles, and you’re back on, er, top. As for the Sox, I do love them (though not as much now that they shafted Terry Francona). Will I ever embrace them as my team? No. My DNA wears pinstripes, baby!

    Casey, the third person choice was mine. I’d been flirting with it for a while, but Liam was the first hero who really demanded a POV. Since he was a father, and because his past was so important to how he acted today, I really wanted to get into his head. It was wicked fun to write a guy, and I give credit to Virginia Kantra’s class on deep POV. She gave an example along the lines of this: Would a guy think, “Her lush figure beckoned him like a moth to a light” or would he think “Great rack!” That memory kept me on track.

    Cassy…my secret is the 16 hour work day. 😉 Actually, I think the secret is that my office has no WiFi. When I’m there, I’m there to write. I get more prolific as I write more; I stop when the kids are home and do the Mommy thing….I think actually that everyone faces these challenges, whether they’re a nurse or a line worker or a writer. Balance is that elusive, delicate flower in our lives.

  5. Hey Kristan, so glad you could be here. I loved what you said about the doubt monster. Embracing him when necessary and kicking him to the curb when he’s getting in the way of that creative first draft. That sounds like good advice.

    I’ m half way through UNTIL THERE WAS YOUPP, (I’m savoring every sweet, funny, heart touching moment)

    How hard was it to go from writing in first person POV to third for this book? You do a fantastic job of staying in deep POV. I’m about to tackle that nemesis as I head into revisions for SAVAGE CINDERELLA.

    1. Thanks, PJ! I’ll be honest…third person took a little adjustment. Harder to write her POV than his, since his was completely new, whereas the heroine’s POV had been entrenched in first person for 7 books. But once I kicked into gear, it went smoothly. Good luck!

  6. I think the Po-Fam romance should be a trilogy to really do it justice. Can you add in some leprechauns and give it a paranormal angle so it becomes a Para-Po-Fam romance? I’ll send Cheetos.

  7. I love this interview 🙂 After reading this, I have to pick up Until There Was You! I’m so excited you’re showing Liam’s POV.

    Avery & Katy: Just wait until Para-Po-Fam-Rom is the next trend. Everyone heard it here first.

    Thank you for sharing, Kristan!

  8. Lovely interview. The Potato Famine had me laughing since I grew potatoes for the first time this year and found them to be so productive I realized why the Irish relied upon them! I’d read that po-mance!
    In my other life, I’ve been a pastry chef – you have to get up very early and work far into the night and you almost get sick of chocolate. Notice I said ‘almost’.
    And no, you are not old!

  9. Hi Kristan,
    I just bought Until There was You … and I’m getting ready to start reading it. Since you showed us the picture of the hunk who posed for your cover guy … it gives me a mental picture for Liam. Yummy eye candy (thank you). Fun article. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Am I nuts for being intrigued by a Po-Fam book? I don’t think it’s that crazy. Maybe crazy for a rom-com, but not for an epic, especially if the period holds emotional significance for you.

    A lot of us are here because of the Po-Fam, but we know little about it. Lord knows that period hasn’t been Done To Death. (Too bad you can’t see my straight face.) Some Hibernian society should fork over the dough so you can go to Ireland for research.

    Anyway, great “man goggles” for writing from Liam’s POV. And I’m glad to hear that the Doubt Monster is here to help, not hinder.

    1. Thanks, Rhonda! You’re right…my father’s people came over during the Famine. I don’t mean to make light of that terrible time. It’s just that as a romance setting…you know. Not really what readers are looking for, I suspect.

  11. We’ve featured the Amish Vampire Romance, and now we’re in on the ground floor of Para-Po-Fam-Rom. You heard it at the Scribes first, folks!

  12. Wonderful interview, Kristan. Your Doubt Monster comments were encouraging and you definitely have a schtick – one we love.

    I’ve already read Until There Was You and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Liam. It made me laugh and remember my husband’s reaction to our daughter when she started dating. Just wait till it’s McIrish’s turn.

    I’m telling everyone here, if you haven’t bought it, you NEED to run out and get it NOW. Go, what are you waiting for? Seriously, your books just keep getting better and better. Thanks for the hours of entertainment you bring to us! And come on a Po-Fam-Rom, you know we would all fall for the Irish hero.

    1. Thanks, Gail! So glad you liked the book! And yes, poor McIrish when Angel Baby starts dating. He’s already asked her to wait until he’s dead.

      As for Irish heroes, yep. I guess I have a type!

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