Monday, 14 November 2011

Interview with Kristan Higgins + Giveaway

Today I am very happy to welcome back to Ex Libris, wonderful author Kristan Higgins who is here today to celebrate the release of her latest novel: Until There Was You! You know how much I love Kristan's emotional and incredibly funny stories, so please read on to discover more about the characters and behind the scenes of Until There Was You and you could also win a copy of the book ;-) (You can read my review here.)


Stella: Hi Kristan, welcome back to Ex Libris! :-) So happy to have you over to celebrate the release of your latest novel Until There Was You! Could you please tell readers a bit about the story, what should they expect from Until There Was You?

Kristan: A very unconventional, tomboy heroine; a smokin’ hot, leather-jacket-wearing hottie hero; very funny family; gorgeous, gigantic doggy; lots of laughs, a few tears. This book also has something I’ve never done before: the hero’s point of view! It’s about family, being accepted, understanding the past, fitting in, unrequited love, unexpected revelations…all that good stuff!

Stella: Why did Henry name Cordelia Posey when she was a child? (I was a bit confused with her nickname, because Posey is the most natural and shy, blending in the background kind of character in the whole novel and I would have imagined rather Gretchen called Posey as in always striking a pose, a poser.)

Kristan: Who knows why boys do anything? The name Cordelia is significant in the story for a few reasons. But maybe little Henry, in a rare fit of sentimentality, declared his little sister pretty as a posey. As for Gretchen’s name, I wanted her to have a very strong, German name, not something cute and lovable.

Stella: This is your first novel when the narrative is shared between the hero and the heroine. Why did you decide to give us a glimpse of your hero's thoughts now?

Kristan: Well, Liam had a lot going on: he’s a widower, he’s raising a teenage daughter, he’s dealing with facing up to the past. It just seemed right for this book. I loved the contrast between Posey’s memories and impressions of Liam vs. his own feelings toward the old days and the present. That’s the beauty of two points of view (which is not to say I’ll never write first person again).

Stella: Was it difficult to channel a hero's POV? (In my opinion you did it wonderfully! Stayed true to how a man would think, I really liked reading Liam's thoughts!)

Kristan: Thank you! It took a little practice, writing from a guy’s point of view, sure. Every time I found myself having Liam describe the beauty of a sunset or upholstery, though, I’d just glance at my sainted husband and delete that passage. Does McIrish notice the fabric or even color of my dress? No. Does he notice if it’s low cut? Yep. Once I got into the groove, it was wicked fun.

Stella: Liam is a still hurting widower, I would imagine finding the balance between having a man who still loves his deceased wife and a man ready to become the romantic hero of a new love story must have been quite challenging. How did you manage? Did you have any difficulties in not making him lean too much in either direction?

Kristan: It was definitely an aspect I thought about a lot. One of the things I wanted to do with this book was examine that romance classic—Bad Boy Meets Polly Purebred, and They Live Happily Ever After. We all love a bad boy, and the idea of marrying your high school sweetheart is very romantic. But Liam and Emma, the Polly Purebred character, don’t have it too easy, and I think that was a very realistic element of the story. Even before Emma dies, Liam is struggling to keep their marriage on track. But yes, he loves her to the end. Almost three years have passed since her death, he’s had some time to grieve.

Stella: To you what is the personality trait that makes Liam endearing/irresistible? (aside his gorgeous looks of course)
Kristan: His devotion to Nicole, his daughter. Is there anything more appealing that a man who loves his children? I don’t think so. He’s so tolerant of Nicole’s moods, so determined to keep her from boys who remind him of himself. And Liam, despite being God’s gift to women, is a bit insecure, so there’s that very poignant aspect of his appeal to the opposite sex…he’s not sure what he has to offer other than a handsome mug and a delicious physique.

Stella: You get the best covers! They are beautiful, elegant yet playful and have a freshness to them, you are truly blessed by the Cover Gods! Did you/do you have any contribution to them? In your newsletter you shared a photo of the cover shoot. Were you there? How does a cover shoot go? Did you get to vote on the different proposals for the cover photo?

Kristan: It’s true, I AM blessed by the cover gods, also known as the Harlequin Art Department (I recently sent them some truffles as thanks and a bribe to keep up the amazing work). I wasn’t at this photo shoot (it’s a good thing, because I think I would’ve been rendered stupid by the guy they chose to portray Liam…oh, mommy, he’s beautiful!). But I do get input on the concept…I send Harlequin some info on what the characters look like, what kind of doggy will be featured, some key visual elements in the book (like the field on the cover of Until There Was You or the lighthouse on the cover of the newly reissued Fools Rush In). They send me a concept, I give them some comments or just squeal in delight, and then they go from there, arranging the shoot, picking the models, etc.

Stella: Did you have a favourite secondary character you loved writing and having on the scene?

Kristan: I loved Jon, Posey’s best pal and brother-in-law, who, oddly enough, is based on my sister-in-law. Like Jon, Jackie, my brother’s wife, is unfailingly funny, nice, talented and beautiful. I often thank my brother for marrying her, because she’s my best friend! I also loved writing Brianna, because she’s so mouthy and confident and loyal. I love teenagers in general, but especially the ones who don’t embrace the hair-tossing, texting clichés.

Stella: You always include some secondary characters who have some less than ordinary (to put it mildly) jobs. How did you get the idea of making Henry such an amputation-fan surgeon?

Kristan: Not sure if I should admit this, but I have a morbid fascination with traumatic amputations. Shark Week and I are best friends! I wanted Henry to be socially inept as a fun contrast to his spouse, and most orthopods I’ve met would rather be cutting bones with their sharp tools than talking to humans (except you, Dr. Larson! You’re so nice!). I also wanted Henry to have a job that his parents would go crazy over—our son, the orthopedic surgeon! —vs. Posey’s somewhat unusual, hard-to-describe occupation in architectural salvage.

Stella: Did any real place inspire the Guten Tag?

Kristan: Guten Tag is a slightly run-down version of a wonderful restaurant here in Connecticut called East Side. We’ve been there a few times, and we always have so much fun. They’re so welcoming and happy there, and they make sure you have a wonderful time. That was a definite inspiration for Guten Tag.

Stella: Do you like German food? What is your favourite German dish? Or do you prefer some other cuisine? (Italian perhaps? we'll keep it a secret and not tell Stacia *wink*)

Kristan: Um…sure! Who doesn’t? Er…no, not really. I love some German food—potato pancakes and strudel and basically any German dessert.

Stella: If Until There Was You was made into a movie, which actors could you picture as Liam? (and any of the other characters?)

... only as a brunette
Kristan: Eesh, that’s always a tough question. I usually start out picturing the hero as an actor or celebrity of some kind, just to get a feel for my hero’s look. But by the end of the book, the hero has become himself, know what I mean? So I guess if Jake Gyllenhaal and Dylan McDermott had a 36-year-old son, he would be Liam.

For Posey, I’m not sure either…maybe Carey Mulligan? She’s awfully cute in an unconventional way, and also quite tiny, from the look of it.

Stella: Can you tell us about your future plans? What can we expect next from you? And more importantly: when! :-) lol

Kristan: Sure! My next book is called SOMEBODY TO LOVE and features some familiar faces. Parker Welles, the best friend from THE NEXT BEST THING, gets her love story! This is a book I love for many reasons, not the least of which is because she has to flip a house in Gideon’s Cove, Maine…setting of CATCH OF THE DAY. So in answer to all those emails asking when readers could see Maggie and Malone again, the answer is May 2012.

After that, I’ll be working on a series set in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. Wine country, mountains, lakes, beautiful little towns…can’t wait!

Stella: Thank you once again Kristan for stopping by and answering my questions, I loved Liam and Posey can’t wait to hear more about your next book! :-)

Kristan: It was absolutely my pleasure! Thank you for having me!

Kristan's latest novel Until There Was You was released on 25 October 2011, you can read my review here.

Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….

You can buy Until There Was You at Amazon or the Kindle Store.

To learn more about Kristan and her novels, please visit her official website at http://kristanhiggins.com/

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Thanks to the generosity of Little Bird Publicity one lucky commentator living in the US will win a paperback copy of Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins!

To be entered all you have to do is

1) leave a question/comment for Kristan
2) leave a way for me to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open to residents of the US and ends on 23 November 2011.

Good luck!


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