Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Guest Author: Kristan Higgins

Hey everyone. The super talented, super sweet, and sometimes wacky, Kristan Higgins is joining us in the convertible today. I had the pleasure of reading and blurbing Kristan's first HQN, Fools Rush In. What a treat! It was also a treat visiting with Kristan when our shared agent hosted a dinner in SF this past July. So please give Kristan a warm, Top Down welcome, okay? I'm sure you're gonna love her and her books.

Hello! I am so pleased and proud to hang out with the convertible-lovin’ ladies from Riding with the Top Down! I’ve always loved the name of this website…the first car I drove was my father’s red Triumph convertible, a little two-seater with a faulty exhaust system, a wooden dashboard and an 8-track tape deck (the height of cool, I assure you). That Triumph might not have started all the time, had a tendency to cough out clouds of black smoke and veer off the road if you weren’t pulling on the steering wheel with all your might…but as an accessory, she was superb!

So thanks for having me! I have to tell you, I absolutely love being a romance writer. It’s much, much better than my old jobs, which all involved getting out of my pajamas, showering and brushing my teeth. Not any more! Now I get to be that odd woman who works in a little room in the basement, talks to the dog and forgets to brush her hair. It’s a dream come true!

Another great thing…my job requires me to fall in love over and over without breaking any marriage vows. I get to play with my imaginary friends every day, and these imaginary friends tend to look like Jude Law and Daniel Craig and the like. So when my husband comes in and says, “Honey, why are you staring at that picture of Clive Owen again?” I get to say, “Sweetie, please. I’m working here.”

As a romantic comedy writer, I find myself thinking not just about handsome men, but about humiliation. I got a lovely letter the other day from someone who said, “What I like best about your writing is that you describe things we’ve all done but would never actually admit.” (I’m not quite sure what that says about me, but it felt true.) I think a lot of humor does spring from embarrassing or awkward moments…all my favorite TV shows and movies seem to center on this belief, too — The Office, The New Adventures of the Old Christine, Death at a Funeral.

So when I start writing a new book, I usually start with a question — “What have I done that I probably shouldn’t admit to?” and then I proceed to write a hundred thousand words on that subject. Not the best way to keep things confidential, but hey. It’s a living

In my first book, Fools Rush In, the experience was stalking. Not the scary, bunny-on-the-stove stalking…the more benign type. The type where you wait in the parking lot until he drives in and then leap out of your car in an incredible show of coincidence. “Oh, hey, how are you? What are you doing here? You come here every day at 10:37? I had no idea!” (You’ve all done this, too, right? It’s not just me, is it?)

My second book, Catch of the Day, captures the cringing embarrassment of having a public crush on someone completely inappropriate — Maggie meets the perfect man, she thinks, only to find out that he’s a Catholic priest. I can’t tell you the number of e-mails I’ve received from women who’ve had crushes on their own version of Father What-A-Waste. In fact, I’m giving a talk at a Catholic church this week, since the Ladies Guild was so tickled with that idea.

Too Good To Be True (out in February), is about a woman who invents a boyfriend when her ex-fiancĂ© starts dating her sister. Again…we’ve all made up a boyfriend, yes? Not just me? (Er…Note to the guy who sat next to me on the plane ride to San Francisco all those years ago — I was not actually engaged to a cellist in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. Sorry. I’m just not a Dungeons & Dragons type girl.)

So how about you folks? Anyone pull any stunts while in the

throes of romantic misery? Fall for someone off-limits? Go full throttle in order to attract the attention of someone who wasn’t noticing you? I’ll pick a name from those of you who respond and send you an autographed copy of Just One of the Guys as a reward for your confession.

Thanks, folks! Looking forward to hearing your stories!

All the best,



Cindy Gerard said...

Well gee. Me? try to grab someone's attention? Um ... let me think. Only ALWAYS, especially when I was in high school. Once I finagled my way onto a snow skiing date with a guy I really wanted to impress. Only one little problem - I'd never skied before. (Iowa, you know.) So he played white knight and got behind me on the tow rope as I bobbled my way up the bunny hill. Problem was, it was a warm winter day. the rope was wet, my gloves were wet and, well, I couldn't keep a grip on the rope. So there we were, him tucked in behind me like a tick, trying like heck to not only hold his grip so HE could get up the hill but so that he could push ME up the hill too. Oh, and did I mention there were about 50 bazillion other skiers behind us? It finally got to be too much for him. Think dominoes. Once I started sliding backwards, the whole line was lost and we all slid backwards, standing, sitting, falling, fighting, down the hill. MY fault.
Guess I impressed him!!

Anonymous said...

The most I've ever done was when I was in middle school, I kept putting notes into the girl I liked locker, with hints of who it was. She thought it was a different boy--that she liked alot. So on Valentine's Day, I find out their now an item, and there I was with a dozen roses, at age 14. So I just gave them to a random girl.

Tame, I know. But well, I'm a tame kind of guy.

JoAnna said...

The most I have done is made up a boyfriend when this guy asked me out. I didnt want to be all harsh and mean and tell him I REALLY didnt want to date him so I told him I was in a relationship with someone.
Well, I worked in the same area (but not the same place) as this guy so he would ask me every once and awhile what I was doing on the weekend and I would tell him and I would have to add this made up boyfriend to the plans just to keep up appereances:( I will never do that again! It is way easier to tell the truth!

Anonymous said...

What have I done that I probably shouldn't admit to? I went to a nude beach. And I loved it! No wet, clammy spandex bathing suit. And believe it or not, nobody cared that I'm 30 pounds heavier than when I got married. I saw few perfect bodies on the beach, but I saw lots of happy, relaxed folks enjoying the sun and surf.

Helen Brenna said...

Hey, Kristan! Welcome to the vert today!

I was always too shy to stick myself out there like that. These days, though, if I wasn't married, I imagine I'd be pulling very similar stunts as all your heroines!

BTW, I had a HUGE crush on a Catholic priest while I was very little. I even invited him to my bday party when I was 5 and he CAME! So did my swimming instructor. What a couple of cuties.

kristan higgins said...

Cindy, LOL! I too had to be rescued from the tow rope, which in retrospect was much better than falling out of the chair lift, which I also managed...Lou, you sound like a sweetheart! What a poignang story. I bet the girl who got those flowers never forgot you. Young love...bleccch! Joanna...we're soul sisters apparently. That lying thing is tricky, isn't it? As for the nude Haven't tried that yet. Can't imagine that I, a staunch Connecticut Yankee, ever will, but you never know. And Helen...what a cute kid you must've been asking grownups to your party!

Betina Krahn said...

Kristan, so glad to have you with us in the convertible! I absolutely ADORE your covers and I love it that you begin your books from the premise of something you've done that was nutzoid.

Me? I've led a perfectly snoozable life. Except for the time in high school where I was running to catch a city bus and slipped on an icy patch and fell face down and was so humiliated that I just lay there for. . . what seemed like hours. And who comes to see if I'm all right? The high school quarterback/golden boy that I adored from afar. Jerry Hill. I was so embarrassed that I pretended I was comatose for a minute, hoping he'd just go away. Eventually I had to get up and pick up my books and things. I had to pretend I was fine and that nothing "untoward" had happened. He was very nice. . . but ever after got this you-strange-girl-you look whenever we passed in the halls.

Not one of my finer moments. I'd like to think I'd have a much snappier and more adorable response if it happened to me these days.

Delilah Marvelle said...

I don't think there's a girl in this world that doesn't pull a stunt or two. I've pulled more than my share. From sending myself flowers from an imaginary man to make my boyfriend who wouldn't give me the time of day jealous (when I should have been dumping his you know what...) to hanging out with the sister of a guy I wanted to date (she was actually very wonderful and I ended up keeping her and dumping the idea of him). They all seem like amazing ideas at the time and looking back I can only cringe. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to pull those sort of antics with my husband. I think I would have been exhausted, LOL. Great post, Kristan!

kristan higgins said...

Ah, Betina, the old "I'm in a coma, be with you in a sec" trick! I'm wheezing with sorry for you in that moment!

Delilah, as for sending flowers to yourself...hey! I put that in Too Good To Be True! A time-honored tradition, tragically.

Playground Monitor said...

I love your way of coming up with a story premise. Sadly, I've pretty much lead that same snoozable life as Betina. I did fall off a tow rope and off a T-bar and nearly took out a whole group getting off a chair lift. But I was married and the DH just shook his head and helped me back up. Riding lifts was always the hardest part of skiing for me. Go figure.


Keri Ford said...

I had a snoozer of a life too. I didn't date many of the boys (they were after that one thing that I wasn't ready to give up--something they all knew, so my fridays weren't very exciting). I met the hubby while in high school and we knew we'd get married shortly thereafter. OH! What about a girl doing the crazy TO US?

When I first started dating my hubby, his next door neighbor had a crush on him. She left him a note once on his truck when he went in wal-mart.

robynl said...

1) new to city; get asked out by neighbour guy who supposedly is separated from wife
2) get to like him
3) phone him at wife's place when he's visiting kids to let him know when I'm home from work
4) he turns on me eventually and acts all innocent and he or she phones the phone company saying I am making harrassing calls (and that they are together again) and without letting me know
5) I dump him fast; first, he lied; second, he was like a chamellion and did what suited him at the time.

PJ said...

Hi Kristan! I adore your books! Can't wait for TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

I was pretty snoozable too. I did the drive-by thing when I was in high school and I've faked relationships to help turn down dates without hurting the guy's feelings but that's about it. When I was dating my late dh his ex and wanna-be girlfriends were very, very creative. I was in awe!
Okay, I was ticked off too but, really, in awe. lol

Angie Alexander said...

I had a great dad who used to send me flowers and cards for important holidays since all of my other sisters were older and had someone and I didn't get married until I was 31. So, anyway, I used to do the whole pretend thing especially at work or college when the flowers would come (from my dad of course) but no one else needed to know that I would always pretend they were from some gorgeous man. Oh, those were the days.

I have so many goof ball things I have done I don't even know where to start.

When I was in high school in the early 80's. It was actually the Summer before my senior year. They were doing some work on the school which was right across the street from where we lived. There was this GOD working on the landscaping team. He had to be in his early 20's and it was really hot that summer so he worked most of the time outside with his shirt off. (oops sorry, having a moment!) Anyway, I became very popular because all of the girls from my school would always want to be at my house and we always had to be outside even though when he wasn't outside we were running into the air conditioning. We would also make sure we went to the pool when someone would see him. It was a small town and those days the pool was full with high school girls. He favored leopard print brief swimming trunks. Oh be still my teenage heart. Well, one day it was just my mom and me at home and we were doing housework. When all of the sudden she said oh those poor men look so hot out there. So, with me in my best outfit and makeup (which my mother looked funny at me, but luckily didn't comment--after all she had 7 daughters) we went out with a jug of water and lemonade for refreshments for the thirsty landscaping team. I actually got to speak with HIM. It was the best Summer of my life and like I said I became very popular which never hurt in high school.

I will always remember HIM even though I will never remember his name. I never saw him again after that Summer, but who cares.

I have so many more stories--too many to put down. Kristan, it is so great to come here today and be a part of this. I have just finished reading all of three of the books that you have out now, which is good because I couldn't put them down and I need to get caught up on my sleep before Too Good To Be True comes out. I sent you an e-mail a while ago on your site. Thanks for getting back to me on that.

Angie Alexander

Anonymous said...

Kristan knows me well, so she's expecting this.

The hero of my last book is a pro football player, namely a defensive end. (The only people who will care about that are people who actually watch football.) I love football, but I did a lot of research in the interest of accuracy -- yeah, right -- and I did most of it on someone currently playing in the NFL. Yup. My super-secret crush -- well, secret to him at least! I won't divulge his name, but he's known around our house as "Patrick the Magnificent". If this wasn't enough, I actually wrote him a fan letter.

He hasn't written me back. As Kristan says, he's watering my letter with his tears. The only woman he'll ever love, and I'm MARRIED to someone else? Oh, the humanity!

I'm sure I'll look back on this someday and laugh.

kristan said...

Strat, how pathetic! Poor you-know-who...can't marry his stalker because she's already married!

Angie...did you really say "leopard print briefs"? Ahem! Is it warm in here...?

Love the story of the not-quite-divorced guy and his angry wife, Robyn. Yoi, as my ancestors say.

As for PJ, Keri and Marilyn...snoozable lives are often the happiest, don't you think?

Debra Dixon said...

Kristan-- Welcome to Top Down!

Since I've been married since before dirt was invented and to the man I started dating when I was 16...I'm going to have to go in the snoozer category.

I have, however, embarrassed myself in many other arenas. Our blog "Boobs On Parade" that was posted just after San Francisco would be a good example. (g)

lois greiman said...

Welcome Kristan. Your books truly sound wonderful. Thanks for riding with us.

Dating seems like a distant dream/nightmare. But yeah, I did my share of drive-by staring. Always was too cheap to send flowers to myself. Great idea though.

Nancy said...

I was always prone to crushes on the wrong man… Until I met my husband. But the time that sticks out in my mind was my sophomore year in high school when I was infatuated with this tall, blond junior who was on the football team. It was right before homecoming, and I was determined he would be my date. His second period class was across the hall from mine. So I arranged for a mutual friend to introduce us despite vicious rumors that Football Head already had a girlfriend. I’d never seen him with anyone so I was undeterred, and sure we were meant to be.

When the big moment of the introduction arrived, this boy from my class had the nerve to come up and interrupt. “Nancy, can I talk to you? I need to ask you something important.” I was indignant. Go away!! Can’t you see I’m busy making Football Boy fall in love with me?? I didn’t really say that, but I thought it. I said something not quite so mean like, “Sure just a minute.” I stood there desperately trying to make conversation with Football Head until he finally said, “I’m going to class now. I think he wants to ask you to homecoming.” I wanted to grab onto Football Head and plead, “No!! I want to go with you. Ask me now before it’s too late.” Of course, I didn’t say it, thank God. But I did say something lame like, "I don't want to go with him. I'm hoping someone else will ask me." Can you get anymore pathetic than that?? I think he said something like, “Oh well,” and walked away.

The other boy did, indeed, ask me to the dance a few minutes later (bless his heart), and I had the audacity to put him off, just sure that Football Head would come rushing back in the nick of time, begging me to go with him. Ha. He never did.

I ended up saying yes to the sweet boy who’d patiently waited for my answer. But I shouldn’t have agreed to go with him because he deserved someone who wanted to be his date. I was still hung up on Football Head, who ended up taking his girlfriend (a cute little blond cheerleader who was on the home coming court – how was I so blinded by my crush that I missed that one??) to dinner at the same restaurant where my date took me. Unfortunately, that set the tone for the whole evening.

Anonymous said...

Kristan, I prefer to believe that he is pining away for me. After all, he must know that I am the only woman for him.

Yeah, that's it.

Angie Alexander said...

Yes, I did say "leopard print brief swimwear". Oh, you have got to love the early 80's. But it was a bit scandalous in a small town. I loved that!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a virgin blogger. Not so sure I've done any man stalking...but I sure am infatuated with Kristan's books! When will February be here?

As I have "turned the corner" and am now married and middle aged, your blog sent me down another track. What advice should I give my daughters on their romantic journeys? Do these antics work? Or simply amuse the middle aged soul? Right now, I am wishing I did have a few tales to tell. Sadly, there is nothing. I will have to live vicariously.

Can't wait for February!

kristan said...

Well, Anonymous, things usually work out well for my heroines, despite their antics. As for my own experience...tell your daughters to do the opposite. We'll talk.

Hi, Nancy! That poor, brave boy who interrupted the football star to ask you out. Such are the moments our books are made of! And again...revenge through the written word always works well. Football Head, watch out! If Nancy doesn't use you, I will!

Michele Hauf said...

Hee.. Lou's story about the 'wrong' guy ending up with the girl reminded me once of when I was out with a girlfriend at a bar. I pointed out this cute guy to her across the room. She's like "I know him!" So I nudged her to go talk to him about me. I think I went out to the dance floor to act nonchalant while she did so.
Well, it worked.
sort of.
The guy showed up on the dance floor, but he was the wrong one. The one sitting NEXT to the guy I had my eye on.
We ended up dating a while. Then he actually turned into stalker guy and followed me from my home town to the Twin Cities when I moved here.

I still have moments of wonder about the other guy. What if...?

cindyw said...

When my husband and I were first dating, his ex-girlfriend used to call. A lot. Once when I was hanging out at his house, I "accidentally" overheard his conversation with his ex. And I overheard him saying something about, "sure call me tomorrow morning." So I "surprised" him in the morning with a very friendly visit. You know, ensuring that he'd be too busy to talk to her.

We've been married for 15 years now. I never told him that story.

Maureen said...

I was too timid to do any crazy things when I was younger but I did have a friend who would go check on her boyfriend and I would have to go along so it didn't seem like he was being spyed on.

flchen1 said...

Kristan, thanks for the fabulous post today! I'm sure I've done more than my share of foolishness in the name of young love ;p Lots of pathetic stalking in the shadows... I even went so far as to drop off a birthday card for one of the objects of my unrequited affection. Alas, these feelings remained unreturned... thankfully that was eons ago, and I don't plan on filling the kids in on these episodes ;) I'm sure they'll have their own fun someday!

PJ said...

The football player jogged my memory. I guess I haven't been totally snoozable after all.

My sophomore year of college I was in charge of arranging a series of guest speakers at my dorm. At the time I had a mad crush on a very sexy guy who played free safety for a NFL football team. What a perfect opportunity to meet my secret crush! I wrote the team, they agreed to send him (woo hoo!) and, of course, I appointed myself to be his personal escort while he was in town. He arrived, I shook his hand, grinned and immediately lost the ability to form a single coherent thought. In fact, I'm not sure I spoke a complete sentence the entire evening. Yeah, it was pretty pitiful. lol

kristan said...

Michele, how creepy! Yick!

It's funny how we'll tag along on missions of romantic peril, isn't it? The first time I saw the man my sister ended up marrying, it was through a pair of binoculars. (He may be afraid to leave my sister...who knows?)

And those cringe-worthy moments of doing something totally dorky (they made up most of my high school and college years, those moments) never seem to fade.

I remember pretending to fall asleep when a guy I didn't particularly like kissed me. I couldn't figure out a way to just come out and say, "Sorry, you're not my type," so I took the coward's way out. I probably shouldn't have admitted that. Maybe there's another book in there somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Kristan! :) I love your books--they're so warm and funny. :)

It's a tough call which bumbling moment to choose. Should it be the cute brown-eyed lab partner who, when I demured to let him balance the equation, sneered, "you do it, it's not rocket science." Ouch. Gee, I'd never have guessed, lol. Or the faculty party where I end up sitting at a table with my crush-object's best friends--and the entire time they talk about him and how perfect his fiancee is-- the fiancee I didn't know he had until that excruciating purgatory of an evening (I think I set a record for gnoshing potentially dangerous pasta sauce-- there might have been a few meatballs flying as I high-tailed it out of there)! Sadly, that wasn't the end of the humiliation and wallflower behavior. Happily, as Kristan states, there's some hope to recycle these mortifications into excellent fiction. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. ;-)

catslady said...

No I guess I was boring lol. The new kid (air force brat who traveled the world) asked me (who never had gone anywhere) out when I was 16 and he was 18 and I married him at 18 and it's been almost 40 years lol. Love your covers!

flip said...

My life is full of humiliating incidents. First of all, I can't hide my feelings. I had this huge crush in high school. One day, I was wearing a new outfit and feeling pretty hot in my midriff shirt, bell bottoms and platforms. Self consciously I was going down the steps behind him. I slipped fell all the way down to the landing. My crush stood there and said, "Phyllis, are you falling for me?"

Estella said...

I cannot remember ever doing anything like that.

Anonymous said...

One of my most embarrassing moments was telling a guy I was crushing on in high school that I was crushing on him. Problem was, he didn't know who I was, and I'm pretty sure I freaked him out. Thinking back now, I'm not sure what I expected his response to be. Such a mortifying moment!


IlanaStephens said...

I had a high school boyfriend I dated for all of 3 months. I broke up with him because it got boring... Then he'd land in my kitchen and talk to my mother waiting for me to show up. I'd see him coming, grab a book and hide in my room. This lasted for nearly a year and a half!


Cindy Kirk said...

Before I started dating my husband, I had this huge crush on a guy that drove a silver blue Jag. I was driving down a main street in town and saw the car parked in a restaurant lot. No, I wasn't stalking him, it was just a wonderful stroke of luck. lol

I pulled into the lot and parked the car. When I walked up to the front door I saw him and his friend through the window. I was being very cool...until I PULLED on a door that said PUSH. The metal door jamb shuddered and it almost sounded like the door was going to fall in. Needless to say I got his attention. :)

kristan said...

All in the name of love, folks, all in the name of love!

It's been so nice cruisin' with the ladies! Thanks so much for having me!

All the best,


Toni Lea Andrews said...

In the late '70s and early '80s, I was a singer in a rock and roll band. Yep, back when 1)I still looked good in spandex and, therefore 2)drugs were free and 3)sex couldn't kill you.

I then moved 3000 miles and stayed away for over twenty years. At some point, I became (relatively) well behaved. But now I've returned to the scene of oh-so-many crimes. Very hazily remembered crimes (see earlier note on free drugs).

I keep running into men who seem to remember me, er, very fondly. And I have absolutely no friggin' idea who they are...

hilly66 said...

I was moving across the country! driving from CT to Washington State. On my way I stopped in Sioux City IA to visit my first love. Just a visit, since it had been 4 years since we saw each other. We had matured and moved on. But there was some rekindling and it was rather nice. Nevertheless, I continued on my great journey across this big old country.

Next, I visited my brother in New Mexico. As I was leaving Albuquerque's city limits my intention was to drive through Arizona next, I paused. There in the bright blue sky was a flock of hot air balloons! they were so beautiful and colorful and free. They were heading east. And so did I. I headed back to Sioux City, Iowa....I knew I probably shouldn't, as I only had a limited amount of money. I just wanted to be with him. I made up my mind that I was going to surprise him! Say something like, too much time has been wasted...let's be together...I'd work out something eloquent and unforgettable, I was certain. So I drove back the same way i had just come. 2 days, only to discover he was not at home. Ah yes, he was at a wedding on the East coast. not a problem, I knew where the spare key was. I would just go in and wait until his plane got in and then surprise him. Oh the joy and romance that would ensue...right? Well his plane did not get in that night. Hmm, I must have miscalculated. So I went to the tiny airport and checked incoming flights from NYC. Aha! possibly today! I decided to drive around the parking lot until I spotted his vehicle and hunker down until he came out. Luckily I had a good romance book to read while on my stake out. Then finally! there he was. I scrunched down, thinking, "you idiot! this was not a good idea. What if...." I refused to consider possible negative connotations that my rash, 1080 mile decision might have. He started up his truck and I tailed at a safe distance, not wanting to be seen. I think I gave him a whopping 7 minutes to get inside his place, maybe go to the loo, before I rang his doorbell. I think I said something like, "Hi! Surprise! I didn't go to Seattle." I am not sure exactly. He said, "Wow, what are you doing here?" Not exactly the moment I was envisioning for the last 3 days...He also said, "We should talk." That didn't sound too promising and I was starting to feel like a silly fool. But I also remembered that Superman said the same thing to Lois in the honeymoon hotel room at Niagara Falls...right after she told him she was in love with him. I that turned out okay, didn't it? To make a long story short, we moved to Seattle together a couple of months later. And today we are happily married 13 years with 2 beautiful daughters. So I say to you all, Go for it. Romance is beautiful. And as Janis Joplin once sang, Get It While You Can.

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, hilly66, that's some story!!

Here I was readying it, thinking you were crazy!! Amazing.