In Which a Librarian asks a Talented Author a Small Number of Questions:
These days escapism is big and one of the best authors to help you escape is New York Times bestselling author, Kristan Higgins. Her books will take you away through laughter and love and leave you wanting more. From her Blue Heron Series to stand alone novels, you will think, “Where has she been all my life?” My favorite is the Blue Heron series and I recommend listening to the audiobook — the narrator Amy Rubinate is fantastic and has the perfect comedic voice. You will laugh, you will cry and you will feel good at the end of each novel.
Kristan Higgins has sold 4.5 million books worldwide and is published in more than two dozen languages around the world. Her two most recent novels were each selected as People magazine’s “Pick of the Week.” Kristan is also a cohost of the Crappy Friends podcast, which discusses the often complex dynamics of female friendships, with her friend and fellow writer, Joss Dey. Higgins lives in Connecticut with her family. Find her online at kristanhiggins.com, facebook.com/
KristanHigginsBooks, and twitter.com/kristan_higgins.
What do you have on your bedside table right now, or wherever you stash your “to read” pile of books?
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff; Moms Don’t Have Time To by Zibby Owens (on order at the library); and Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (comes out in July).
If you were a dewey number, what would you be and why?
007. I think my answer speaks for itself.
Your books are so hilarious, little instances throughout that make me laugh out loud. Is it harder to write the funny stuff or the serious?
Great question! It’s actually harder to write the funny stuff. Comedic writing takes very precise timing in order for it to flow in the reader’s mind. Those obviously funny scenes I write take 2-4 passes, because I have to work on the physicality, the emotions driving that physicality, how the setting and people play into the comedic event, and what’s being said. But as I write, my brain is saying, “This is gonna be great. Keep going. Fix it later.” In PACK UP THE MOON, one of the funniest scenes is Josh’s “application” to karate school, which is a very funny scene both because of Josh’s hesitation to obey the teacher, and his internal dialogue about what he’s doing, as well as the onlookers and their reactions. So at first, the writing approach is almost scientific…If Josh is here, and Sarah is there, and the Sensei is here…that kind of thing.
But I think I write funny scenes because the reader understands how the character got into this situation…the personality elements, the goal, why that goal is important, what he or she is bringing to the scene. If you don’t understand that, a scene can fall flat, which is why I work so hard to make everything just right.
You usually have animals, mainly dogs in your books, if you were to come back to life as a dog, which breed would you want to be and why?
This is an unfair question, Betsy! Okay, I’ve covered Luther’s ears, because he is a mutt. Obviously, the answer is Golden Retriever, because they’re just so happy and gorgeous and, in some cases, brilliant. So I’d like to be a happy, gorgeous, brilliant Goldie with a goofy name. Dandelion or something whimsical like that. But I’d also like to be a rescue dog, because they’re the most devoted, I think.
The Blue Heron series is my favorite (so far) of your books, what type of research did you do for the parts about the winery? Did you visit many?
I research all my books by visiting the setting, talking to people who have the jobs my characters have, etc. For the Blue Heron series, I certainly did visit the Finger Lakes wine region! I contacted the tourist bureau up there, gave my credentials and got hooked up with a few wineries. The one that most matched what I had in mind was Fulkerson Winery in Dundee, NY. Five generations, and Sayre Fulkerson being so much like John Holland, the patriarch. He spent half a day with me, driving me around in his filthy red truck, bouncing over the fields, visiting the gorges and woods on the winery, showing me the family cemetery. I owe the Fulkersons a great debt of gratitude, and I’m always so tickled when a reader says, “We went to Fulkersons and told them it was because of your books!” And the family is quite amused. But the town of Dundee wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so my husband and I just drove aimlessly around until we came to Hammondsport. It was as if the town in my mind had magically come to life right in front of me.
Thank you so much, Kristan for answering our questions! Kristan Higgins’ newest book, Pack up the Moon, will be out in June. Keep checking our website at tadl.org to place a copy on hold and for many more of her titles. We also carry most, if not all in Overdrive/Libby and Hoopla in ebook and downloadable audio formats for patrons who live in our taxing district (Grand Traverse County, Inland, Almira and Elmwood Townships). Check her out, literally! You won’t be sorry.