Kristan Higgins will celebrate the publication of her new novel, If You Only Knew, at R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison next Tuesday evening, August 25th, at 7:00 p.m. She will be joined by author Nan Rossiter (Nantucket). This event is free and open to the public; registration is preferred and can be completed online or by calling the store at 203-245-3959. Location: 768 Boston Post Rd.
Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Kristan Higgins.
Ms. Higgins is the author of the forthcoming novel, If You Only Knew (Harlequin, $14.95). A New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling scribe of more than a dozen novels, she is also a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been published in more than twenty languages and received numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and Romantic Times. She is a four-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction. Ms. Higgins makes her home in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
Praise for If You Only Knew:
“Higgins … is the queen of the summertime read with a little something more. Her witty characters who find, and sometimes lose, love will keep readers glued to her books for hours. This one is no exception.”—Library Journal, starred review
“Romance star Higgins shifts smoothly and poignantly into women’s fiction with this emotionally compelling story, and she brings her ability to create affecting heroines to this new genre. With a secondary cast of characters who buoy an already perceptive study of love, marriage, sisterhood, and loyalty, Higgins delivers. A powerful, emotionally textured winner.”—Kirkus Reviews
From the publisher:
The drama, hilarity and tears of sisterhood are at the heart of the thoroughly captivating new novel by New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins—a funny, frank and bittersweet look at marriage, forgiveness and moving on
Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this isn’t exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who’s utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.
Rachel’s idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she’d walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship—and reveal a family secret she’s been keeping since childhood.
Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.
Now, Kristan Higgins reveals a few pages from the book of her life …
Hartford Books Examiner: As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
Kristan Higgins: Oh, loud and proud, baby! Honestly, my entire childhood could be summed up with one word: Reader. I was always hunched over a book; in fact, I was the only kid in the world who got paler in the summer, because I’d sneak down into our cool, dank cellar and sit alone with a book for hours. No pesky recess to have to endure, no irritating math classes…just me and my books, and the occasional bowl of ice cream.
HBE: What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
KH: Before adolescence, it was fantasy or animal-based stories: Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, the Mother West Wind stories by Thornton W. Burgess, The Wind in the Willows, The Hobbit. After about the age of 13, I was a romance addict. Still am, though I read just about every other genre as well. The only thing I really shy away from is political thrillers.
HBE: What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
KH: I’m reading I Can’t Complain: A Collection of (All Too) Personal Essays by Elinor Lipman. Like everything she writes, it’s imbued with wry wisdom, and I love it. I adore her.
HBE: What one book do you always recommend when asked?
KH: It depends on who’s asking! If a kid asks me, I recommend The Hobbit. For teenagers, The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick, because it’s a tremendously powerful, joyful, heartbreaking book, and no one gets cancer or commits suicide. For adults, it depends on their taste. I really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret and The Girl on the Train, but I also recommend anything by Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, Robyn Carr and Virginia Kantra for romance lovers. But the book that I think every human alive should read is To Kill a Mockingbird, because it’s perfect. (And no, I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman. I’m a coward and want to keep Atticus safe in my mind forevermore.)
HBE: Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
KH: Well…I love them all, of course. I guess I’d have to say the latest—If You Only Knew—because it’s a blend of women’s fiction and romance, but it’s also about families and secrets and loyalty.
HBE: Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
KH: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. That man has ruined more nights of sleep for me than a colicky set of triplets. But I love being scared, and no one does it like the Master.
HBE: Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?
KH: I’ve already met him! And I made a complete fool of myself. It was Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, and it was at BookExpo America. He was signing the first few chapters of Nightwoods, and I was practically hyperventilating. I just held up my name badge for him to see, because I was struck dumb with the wonder of it all, and I kept thinking, Say something, Higgins! Say something! It’s Charles Freakin’ Frazier! So I finally managed to say in this breathy, ridiculous voice (tinted with a slight Southern accent, for some bizarre reason), “I think you’re America’s greatest living author, and it’s such an honor to meet you.” He patted my hand and said something gracious, but I was too busy trying not to pass out to remember it clearly. His publicist then guided me away before I could lunge across the counter and kiss him. But it was still a really great moment!
HBE: Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
KH: There’ve been quite a few big moments in my career—I went on a European book tour last fall; I gave the keynote speech at Romance Writers of America national convention in front of 2500 people; this past spring, my publisher bought a huge banner to hang at the Javits Center at BookExpo, right next to a banner for Stacy Schiff’s The Witches. All those moments have been thrilling and surreal and incredibly humbling. But I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought I’ve made it. I think self-doubt, as grim as it can be, makes me a better writer. Stasis and hubris would probably be the death knell for my career.
HBE: What is your greatest literary ambition?
KH: My only ambition is (and has always been) to write the best book I can. Getting on the lists or being featured in a literary column is great, don’t get me wrong. But that’s all beyond my control. All I can control is the book I’m writing now. So I guess my ambition is simply to keep doing what I’m doing for as long as I can.
HBE: Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner _____.
… is a fantastic place for readers!
Thank you so much for having me, John! It’s a real honor.
With thanks to Kristan Higgins for her generosity of time and thought.
Don’t forget: The author (and Nan Rossiter) will appear at R.J. Julia Booksellers on Tuesday, August 25th, at 7:00 p.m.