Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Until There Was You {Book review} and amazing Q&A with Kristan Higgins

I might be one of those women who only read what others consider thought provoking.  I might have been one of the snobs in the library or bookstore quietly judging your book with a high heel on the cover.  I might have been one of those chicks that dubbed everything with a romance title "chick lit".  Then, I started discovering amazing authors like, Elin Hilderbrand and Jodi Picoult and realized that not every plot has to be so intense to be a great read.  I loved the female characters that were written and how they were so easy to relate to and actually fun to read about.  So, after getting my feet wet, I moved on to Emily Giffin.....and loved every book.  Then, on my Nook, Kristan Higgins was recommended as an author I may enjoy.  So, I tried out one of her books and feel completely in love with her writing style. 
Kristan Higgins writes female leads that are in depth and flawed and also hilarious and quirky.  She has male leads that make you truly want to get into her head and see who she had in mind while writing them.  The family bonds and intricate details of the towns she moves to for each book are just huge bonuses in a wonderful piece of fiction.  Her sense of humor is impeccable and truly makes me laugh out loud while reading in a room by myself...which is an accomplishment because you know we all like an audience when we laugh.  She is one of about 4 authors that I wait for each new book to come out and snatch it up as soon as I can. 

Her newest book, Until There Was You, will evoke in most of us the awkward teenager we were.  Posey, a pixie of a woman, has an endless stream of family and friends to keep you interested and tagging along to see what might just happen next.  In my mind, she seemed very Lucille Ball, always on her toes but teetering just the same.  Whether she is gabbing with her flamboyant and gorgeous brother in law or working at her architectural salvage yard...she is busy.  Staying busy comes in handy when someone moves back to town. 
Liam, Posey's high school crush, comes strolling back into town, complete with his black leather jacket.  This time, he has a teenage daughter in tow and a reason to stay. 

Liam will make you swoon and growl at the same time....and not in the good way.  In one minute you love him to pieces....single dad of teen daughter (bless his heart)....but the next minute you want to thump him on the head for not noticing Posey for the amazing woman she is.  Liam seems to think of Posey as an annoying piece of the town's history but when he does ask her wonder if she should go with her racing heart or stick to her guns. Does Liam really feel for Posey or just need a distraction during this transition time in his life?

Reading Until There Was You, the reader will fall in love with each character in their own way.  From the big, lunk of a Great Dane to even the German restaurant Posey's family owns.  Even in your despise of some characters, like all great books, you will find some positive traits to bounce back on.  Kristan Higgins really knows how to grab your attention and make her characters so believable and so charming that you want to read each of her books and then pass them on to friends. 

I was lucky enough to be have a little Q&A with Mrs. Higgins and can't wait to share it with you!

1. Which characters from your novels so far, do you find yourself relating to the most and why?

It’s funny…I relate to them all on some level. There’s always a certain theme to a character, though I might not know it at the time: Posey from UNTIL THERE WAS YOU wants to feel chosen; in TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, Grace wants to make everyone happy. Harper from MY ONE AND ONLY wants to feel safe. I could go on, I guess, with why I relate to every one of them. But when my husband read ALL I EVER WANTED, he said he liked that book was his favorite, because Callie reminded him of me (he’s a prince, that guy!). Callie feels responsible for the happiness of everyone around her, and I guess I do, too. Doesn’t every mother?

2. What are your must-haves for a successful writing experience? Perfect place? Absolute quiet? Craziness of your house? Family far, far away?

I like to have my dog with me (my colleague, I call her); I like to have quiet; I like to have some Hershey Nuggets close by . To paraphrase Stephen King, the only must-have feature is a door that closes. I do have an office now that’s just down the street from my house. It’s a tiny attic apartment with lots of light, a microscopic kitchen and no Wi-Fi. Heaven, in other words!

3. Where do you get your inspiration for the settings of your books? Which is your favorite setting so far? As a Southern girl, I wouldn't mind seeing more settings in the South....what do you think?

All my books are set in places I’d like to live. I grew up in a small town, and I love their intimacy and familiarity (and nosiness!). It’s so comforting to picture those snug little towns, the café where the counter people know how you take your cuppa joe, the guy at the post office who flirts with you every time you come in. I think CATCH OF THE DAY and THE NEXT BEST THING had the settings that I loved the most…places that I could picture so clearly I felt like I was living there. (Just so you know, next spring you’ll see both those places again…!).

As for setting a book in the South or the West, you never know. My sister lived in Georgia for a while, and man, there were some gorgeous towns down there! A few years ago, my family and I drove across country, and I fell in love with a number of places…Kansas, Montana, Oregon…But I think I’d have to spend some time there first, getting a feel for the culture and rhythms of speech, stuff like that. I always want my books to feel authentic, and that’s definitely true for the setting aspect.

4. I love the humor and wit in your characters, especially the female leads, I find I relate to the sense of humor. Do you think of yourself as a funny person or does that come out more in your writing?

Thank you so much! I’d say I’m fairly funny live and in person, but writing is a gift, in that we get that extra time to think up the great comeback or snappy answer.

5. The flaws in your characters are always evident but lovable. My favorite character so far has been Grace, who doesn't love a history buff teacher that just happens to be a Civil War reenactor?! Do you have a favorite character so far or do you find they are all too much a part of you to pick?

I think I love my heroes to an unhealthy degree. It’s a good thingsecure man and B) those guys are imaginary. I loved Grace too, especially when she’s pretending to die on a Confederate battlefield. Malone from CATCH OF THE DAY remains a special favorite (I think he has a cult following), and Nick from MY ONE AND ONLY. But wait till you meet Liam and Posey. Those two are special, I think. I hope readers will feel the same way!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to do the Q&A!

It was absolutely my pleasure! Thank you!

See?  I told you she was great. Is there a bad thing about a new book coming out from a fave author?  Yes, a long wait until the next great book. 

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