Everyone, I am SO thrilled to have the one and only Kristan Higgins here on StephTheBookworm today. She is a ginormously popular and hugely successful New York Times bestselling author and I am delighted that she is gracing us with her presence here today! She writes fantastic, realistic romance novels AND loves dogs? Consider her my new best friend!
Without further ado, please welcome Kristan! I was able to ask her some questions that I was very curious about. You may also want to check out her latest novel, WAITING ON YOU, which has already hit some bestseller lists.
So you’re a huge dog lover like myself which means I pretty much love you already. Can you tell me what role(s) dogs have played in your own life, and how you develop dogs as characters?
Dogs have always been the best of my friends. They’re happiness on four legs, you know? Always overjoyed to see you, always ready for some attention and snuggling. They give us a purpose and an outlet and a sympathetic ear (unlike my cat, who often feigns deafness when I try to unburden myself).
Because I’m a lifelong dog owner (and dog person, the kind who is more often than not covered in dog drool and hair), I can’t imagine my characters not having a dog in their lives, whether it’s their own pup or a dog they’re about to fall for. I generally ask myself what kind of dog this particular character would go for, and what that dog represents to him or her. It’s funny how the critters take on their own personalities… Rufus, who’s this gigantic Irish wolfhound, is also bit cowardly; Spike, a Yorkie, is completely fierce. Their personalities unfold as I write the first draft.
When my first book came out, I pretended it wasn’t. It was utterly terrifying, in fact. Anyone who wanted to could read my book, and I had no control over what they would think! And you know what? It still feels the same way. I want so much for readers to love what I’ve done, to love the characters and story, and it’s really, really hard to just send that poor innocent book out there into the world and hope people like it. That being said, Waiting On You is my 12th book, so if nothing else, I guess I at least know what to expect, terror-wise.
What do you think it is about romance that makes it such a popular and beloved genre?
A romance novel is a story we all know. It captures the most universal and human experience there is—being loved, being with someone, taking care of someone and being taken care of. Whether we’ve lived it or not, whether or not we got the happy ending we were hoping for, we all understand exactly what those characters want. And if the author has done her job, we’re pulling for them the whole way.
I saw on your website that you and your husband had a bit of a whirlwind romance. I had one of those myself with my husband! What do you think is so magical about these kinds of “fast forward” type romances? People doubted us a lot at first, but I think we have proven them all wrong. Do you have a favorite romance novel with a similar, fast moving romance you can recommend?
Steph, I think my mom is still reserving judgment on McIrish and me, and this after 22 years and a couple kids. : ) The thrill of the “we just knew” romance is the risk, isn’t it? The hope that what we hope and sense about the other person will turn out to be true, and that fresh, excited feeling of finding out (if you’re right. If you’re wrong, it’s pretty horrible, I’d guess). My favorite romance where the protagonists know instantly is Huntley Fitzpatrick’s MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Such a beautifully written, compelling story!
What is the first reaction you usually get when you tell people that you’re a romance author? Do you think the reality of being an author is the same as what people perceive it to be?
I’m happy to say that they’re usually utterly delighted. “Really? Get out of here! How cool is that?” The biggest misperception is that writing romance is easy because we know how the book will end. In a way, it’s harder for that exact reason…we have to give these two people enough reasons to butt heads once in a while, but we have to give them a compelling reason to keep trying, too.
Thanks so much for having me today, Steph!
Thank YOU, Kristan!