Kristan Higgins is New York Times bestselling author of 18 (and counting) witty, heartfelt romance novels. Her latest book, Now That You Mention It, is a “funny, emotionally charged must-read novel about the complications of life, love and family”, where a young medical specialist opts for a fresh start at home after an accident leaves her questioning her career and romantic choices. Kristan talked with PageHabit about the process of writing Now That You Mention It and why Stephen King owes her a dinner. Enjoy!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I like to say I’m an ordinary person with an extraordinary job. Mom of two nearly grown children, wife of a firefighter, dog lover… I got into writing because I loved reading. I always told myself stories or wrote extra chapters of books I didn’t want to end, but I only started writing in my thirties. I wondered if I could write a book that would sell (and therefore not have to go back to bartending), and I wanted to write a story about a regular person, like myself, who had a big, funny love story. That was sixteen years ago, and so far, so good!
How long did it take to finish your book? How has it changed since you first began writing it?
NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT took about seven months to write. My books take between six and nine, so this one was fairly quick. It started with a line I heard on a podcast—a couple broke up but shared custody of their dog…a week with him, a week with her. It’s funny what little things trigger an entire novel. I wouldn’t say that this is a book about joint canine custody, but it’s a part of the story. Whatever gets the engines revving, you know? It changed as I wrote it because the character of Nora and her history with her family was pretty unclear in the beginning. This is the first time I’ve written a story where there’s an actual estrangement in a family, and I loved the mystery of that estrangement…how it happened, when, why, what Nora knew and didn’t know. Wicked fun to write.
Do you have any specific or strange writing rituals that get you into a groove?
I like to have a song that puts me in the mood of the story, and I play it at very low volume on repeat. Sometimes, I listen to a book’s song more than a thousand times by the end.
Which three books would you bring with you to a deserted island?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee; PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen; UNDERTOW by Joss Dey. I have eclectic tastes, what can I say?
In your opinion, has there ever been a movie adaption better than the original book?
Yes! Definitely! Jaws the movie is better than the book for sure. The Da Vinci Code, too, minus Tom Hanks’s hair in that movie. What were they thinking?
Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Jane Austen, because her dialogue is so wonderful and memorable; Stephen King—I’d make him pay for dinner, since he’s cost me so many nights of sleep, and also so we could talk about baseball; Xio Axelrod, because she’s so fast and funny.
Do you have any advice for young writers?
As a matter of fact, I do! Read the authors you love the most and study the reasons their books resonate with you. Don’t let anyone discourage you. All the best authors in the world have one thing in common: they were once unpublished. Strive to be better. Take good care of yourselves. (How’s that?)
What is your favorite thing that you have received in the mail?
Fran’s Salted Milk Chocolate caramels. Proof that God loves us.
What five books do you recommend for fans of Now That You Mention It?
- Sonali Dev, CHANGE OF HEART.
- Elinor Lipman, 10 TURPENTINE LANE
- Jonathan Tropper, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
- Marian Keyes, ANYONE OUT THERE?
- Phyllis Bourne, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HOT MESS
Miss out on the December PageHabit Romance box featuring Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure you receive it along with your January box, while supplies last.
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