Kristan was kind enough to answer a few questions and send along a copy of her book for one of our lucky readers, and since she may be the only writer in history to call my hometown ‘charming’, I’m tossing in a few local favorites to make up a gift pack: huckleberry scone mix and huckleberry chocolates!
Be sure to leave a comment and I’ll put your name in the hat! I’ll be drawing for a winner at the end of the weekend so enter before noon MDT on Sunday.
Somebody to Love
After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon’s Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father’s wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she’s not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.
Having to fend for herself for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist’s assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn’t the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn’t the only thing that needs a little TLC…
KHiggins: Thank you! I love writing from the guy’s point of view—so different from ours, isn’t it? I decide on a book-by-book basis. I’d thought about doing it before now, but I wasn’t quite sure it fit until Liam (the hero of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU), who cried out for his own point of view. As for my beloved James (James, I still love you!), I couldn’t write a story in which the hero and heroine were stuck together in a little bitty house without hearing from him. And I loved his story and voice! He’s so funny and dedicated and tormented and in love, all in one tangled-up bundle.
For my next book, which is scheduled to come out in February 2013, I do have the hero’s perspective again. As for the future, we’ll see! I do think I’ll write a first-person book again, because I love so many of the qualities that style brings to the story.
KDell: Parker is very much not the typical spoiled rich girl who is completely helpless and undone when she hits the financial skids. Was it your intention to turn that particular cliché on its head, or did she just evolve that way?
KHiggins: I do like to take a classic idea and put a spin on it, yes. Personally, I think it would’ve been hard to relate to Parker if she’d been spoiled and entitled and helpless, especially in this day and age. So I made Parker well aware of all she’d been given in life; when she loses it, she has no doubt she’ll end up okay, though life will look a lot different. Self pity is just not in Parker, and her priorities are very clear. I think she’s definitely one of my stronger heroines to date, because she has to handle a lot. She hardly ever loses it…except in the mouse scene. She does lose it when the mouse, um, visits.
KDell: I love the tongue in cheek ideas Parker comes up with for a new book series. Have you considered writing other genres, and if you were to switch, what do you think you’d do next?
KHiggins: Thank you! Those horrible book ideas were so much fun! I have to credit my sister-in-law, who originally thought of the Holy Rollers, then stepped up again with the Ark Angels. But the little snippets of stories Parker attempts…those are mine, all mine!
Clearly, I’d be kicked out of the children’s literature circles, so I wouldn’t write in that genre, though I’ve told my own children stories for many years, and some of them are pretty good (or so they tell me. They could be lying). I’d love to write a really dark, snarky story about a murder of a celebrity in a small Connecticut town. That’d be a blast. I just need to invent more time, and then I’ll get on that.
KDell: I have to harken back to My One and Only for a moment because it’s not often I’m reading a novel and my home town appears on the pages. Yes, I am from Cut Bank, Montana, home of the humongous penguin. I’ve hiked the same trail your characters were riding when they encountered the bear. And to make it even more bizarre, I lived in Aberdeen, South Dakota for eight years, met and married my husband and still own a house there. Did you get to visit Glacier National Park and northern Montana for research?
KHiggins: Get outta here! How lucky you are, to see the world’s largest penguin statue every day! How is he? Still good? I visited him on Google…beautiful part of the state!
I’ve only been to the part of Montana that’s home to Yellowstone, but this summer, my family and I are going to Glacier, and I can’t wait. It’s a bucket-list kind of vacation, so we’re all excited. We plan to go on a horseback ride. Hopefully, we’ll avoid grizzlies.
The research I did for Glacier was quite extensive. This was the first time I’d written about a place I hadn’t visited, and I wanted to do it justice. I asked friends who’d visited to share their impressions and photos with me (one friend gave me a DVD with about a thousand pictures on it, and I looked at them all. More than once!). I also made good use of the National Parks Service website, read books, the whole deal. It was one of the nicer things I’ve researched, ever. Except for the pastry chef research. That was even better.
Thank you so much for having me today!
A big thanks to Kristan for stopping by, and to all of you for chiming in!