Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Please welcome the Amazing, Kristin Higgins!!!

Hello, everyone! It’s so nice to be back here, and thanks to Cindy for having me. I first met Cindy because we have the same fabulous agent, and from the very first moment, she has just been the nicest and greatest friend a new writer — or any writer — could have. (That will be $20, Cindy.)

I was out for a run when I came up with the idea for The Next Best Thing…well, more of a stagger, since I’m about the least athletic person on earth. Anyway, I was staggering along, thinking about what to write next. How about a widow? I thought. A widowed heroine is a classic theme in romance…second chance at love and all that. But what if she didn’t really want to fall in love this time? What if she was looking for Mr. Not-That-Bad? And the hero…who would be the worst choice for a young widow still aching over her first love? How about…hmmm…how about her dead husband’s brother? Here I shuffled to a stop, gasping like a tuna pulled from the ocean. That’s good, Higgins, I thought. Write that down when you get home.

Thus was born The Next Best Thing, which just hit the shelves last month. Lucy Lang is most definitely not looking for love. Nah. She’d rather have a guy with low cholesterol and a Volvo than someone who makes her heart beat faster. First order of business…end things with Jimmy’s all-too-lovable brother, Ethan. And by things, of course I mean…well, you know. Nooky. It’s their little secret, this friends with benefits arrangement. And because Ethan is way too loveable, and because she’s already married and buried one Mirabelli boy, Lucy figures she should look elsewhere.

One of the things I really love to do in my books is to write about family, especially the loving, nosy, opinionated type that I myself come from. I think that families add so much to a book — who else can torment you with such accuracy, after all? And so we have the Black Widows, Lucy’s mother and two aunts, widows all. They’re not quite sure that Lucy should be looking for a husband when none of them felt that particular need. We also have the Mirabellis, Lucy’s in-laws, who have a shrine to their dead son in the kitchen of the restaurant they own. Jimmy was perfect in their eyes…Ethan’s another story. We have Corinne, Lucy’s younger sister, who’s obsessed with her own husband’s health and is basically worrying him into a premature grave.

The Next Best Thing contains a first for me — a cat! Please bear with me while I say something to Cinnamon, my own feline: You got your way. There’s a cat on the cover. Will you please stop bringing me mice with their heads chewed off? (Thanks, I’m done now). I’ve already had letters from people saying, “I wasn’t sure it was really your book, since there was no dog!”

So yes, a cat. Now, for the record, yes, I am a dog person, but I also love cats. Some cats. The kind who don’t ask to be let in and out fourteen times an hour. The kind who don’t start yowling at 4:09 every morning. The kind who never scratch the children, the furniture or me. In other words, fictional cats. Lucy’s cat is named Fat Mikey…and I love Fat Mikey. He has the soul of a Mafia don…and really, what cat worth his salt doesn’t?

So what do you think? Cats or dogs? Give me something specific…“My dog doesn’t laugh at me when I pull on Spanx” would be a good one. Or, “My cat shredded that ugly sweater my mother-in-law gave me, saving me from ever having to wear it.” I’ll give away a signed copy of The Next Best Thing to a commenter.

Can’t wait to hear your stories!



Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula R said...

Hey Kristan, it is great to see you riding in the convertible today. I couldn't remember the date, so I am glad I stumbled in early this morning. Don't enter me in the drawing okay because I already have this wonderful book. BTW, even if someone couldn't tell it is your book based on the cute cat on the cover, your voice is all over it. I love Lucy (eheheheheh!!!) and her struggle to find the kind of man that won't succumb to the "curse." There are definitely some interesting candidates that come along. I am really enjoying the book too, and Fat Mikey is a cute character. He knows just what to do for Luce when she needs it most. Great job, yet again. If this was my first exposure to you as an author, I would totally be glomming you and searching for your backlist. Have a blast in riding with us today. I will check back in later.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

kristan higgins said...

Hi, Kirsten! Your cat is better than my dog, who totally ratted me out to the cute UPS man (Hi, Kevin!).

And good morning, Paula! Hope you're not too slammed with snow...and thanks for the high praise on The Next Best Thing. I did love writing Fat Mikey!

Maureen said...

We adopted two kittens a year and a half ago and it is amazing to me how much trouble the two of them get into. I thought they would be easier than a dog. The difference with cats is that they don't feel guilty about anything they do.

Karen said...

Cats. Though I love our dog too. But then I like anything cute and fuzzy. My cat doesn't yowl. He warms my feet from 10pm until 5am when he slips from the bedroom not to return until 6:28 (2 min before the alarm) whereupon he waits patiently on a nearby rug until we stagger out of bed. Even when his food dish is empty, all we get are sad stares and extra winding around the ankles... OTOH, my childhood cat spent nights in the cellar because she would try to sleep on my mother's face....

Laurie said...

I'm 100% a dog person. Cats are too independent! My neighbor has 4 that come and go. They scratch up her arms and legs but still come home to her most nights. They do keep her company. This X-mas one got into her X-mas tree and knocked the whole thing over. I was raised with a dog. My best friend from 2nd grade to college. I still miss him! Sandy was very loyal, a good listener and a wonderful playmate!

I'd love to read your story about a widow and her brother-in-law.

Ellory said...

I LOVE your books - make laugh, make cry and a great happy ever after at the end. :)

I happen to love both. We got a Siamese cat after my dad fell in love with our friends' cat. We even drove all the way up to Maine from Massachusetts to get a kitten from the litter. Mother was Samantha so the baby had to be named Tabitha.

I think we traumatized poor Tabitha by taking her away from her mommy too soon. She never was much of a people person.

Her favorite sleeping spot at night was as my head warmer and our dog curled up around my legs. My mom said I gave the animals more of my bed than I had. Too bad there are no pictures.

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Kristan and welcome! This sounds like the setup for another great book, so I'm sure it'll fly off the shelves.

I love dogs and cats have both and honestly couldn't choose one over the other. But I do love the dogs in your books. Cried like a baby when you know what happens in Catch of the Day. Malone. What a great hero.

Do you have a favorite amongst your heroes?

Helen Brenna said...

BTW, you won your RITA the same year as I won mine. LOVED your speech. She had the whole audience roaring with laughter, folks!

Donna said...

Well, I'm going to say they both win over parakeets!! Our daughter recently moved out and "left" her noisy, messy parakeet she just HAD to have a few years ago!! Our dog will jump up and chase anything alive(squirrels, deer, our cat!)out of our yard whenever we pull down our driveway! My husband will look at me and say "Do you think it's safe to get out of the car?" lol

kristan higgins said...

Maureen, I feel your pain on the naughty kitten thing. Cinnamon used to shinny up a doorframe and wait for me to come into the room. Then he'd jump on my head, claws extended. This is while I was pregnant with my son, mind you.

Karen, you have the perfect cat. Show-off.

Laurie, I'm with you. Dogs drool and rule!

Ellory, you did a good thing, even if your cat was notoriously ungrateful, as most cats are.

Hi, Helen! That Rita night was wicked fun, wasn't it? My husband wasn't there...but he was quite pleased when he saw the video of my speech. Note to others: Always plan what you're going to say, or you'll end up with a reputation. I don't really have a favorite hero...I love them all, but I admit that Ethan is special. Sigh! It's so nice to have a job that requires you to fall in love!

Donna, your dog sounds like my mom's: squirrels, coyotes, birds, leaves, grass...they call get the same amount of ferocity from dopey Derry!

Virginia C said...

Hi, Kristan! Happy Valentine's Day! "The Next Best Thing" sounds like the next great thing I could read for a sweet romance fix! I am a dog person owned by cats. I have seven abuse/rescue cats who have been with me for quite some time. They are not aloof or indifferent. They are very loving and caring owners of their human pet : ) I lost my job the first week of November 2009, and since then, the cats and I have been quietly and peacefully tucked into our humble home. I live in the beautiful mountains of central Southwestern VA, and we have gotten quite a bit of snow. Having the cats for entertainment and companionship has been a lifesaver. The "King" of my household is a gorgeous black cat with electric green eyes. His name is "Elvis", and he rules! I lived my whole childhood and the first four decades of my life as a dog person. Then the cats came. I'm glad they're here!

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Kristin - waving madly!!!
I was always a dog person until 4 years ago when our house was invaded by 2 cats. Now, truly, it's a toss up. I adore both but where once it was always all about dogs now I can't imagine life without our cats.
Can't wait to read the book!!!

KylieBrant said...

Welcome, Kristan! The book sounds great...even with a cat in it, LOL!

april said...

That's hilarious because the reason I bought the book was the kitty cat. I didn't read the blurb, knew nothing about the book, and I put it in my shopping cart. I bought it with a preorder so I haven't received it yet, but it's coming. I'm totally a cat person, but I really only like the cats who like me (versus the evil ones). :)

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Kristan! The book sounds like a fun read. And it's not often cats get cover time, so go, Fat Mikey! (I'm typing this while I try to see through the large black cat body positioned directly in front of the computer screen; yeah, he rules the house.)

Paula R said...

Hey Kristan, the snow just started about 20 minutes ago. It is supposed to fall until around midnight. Now, we need to figure out what to do with the 100+ boarding students today. I gotta go to brunch now, but I will check in again later.

You are very welcome, btw.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Silvia said...

I’ll have to go with Cats. My Cat considers herself queen of the house. Always wrapping me around her little paw and making me love that about her. She even got my hubby to get up early in the morning and feed her. Since he’s awake anyway he’ll make the coffee, Thank so much dear! (and you too my love).

Thea said...

Kristan, I loved "The Next Best Thing" - it's such a big story, packs an emotional wallop while making me laugh. Okay, that just doesn't happen to often.
I, too, am a dog person. I probably would have a cat except all my men are allergic (I'm talking instant swollen faces, like those squishy ones carved out of dried apples then wrapped in nylon stockings, created I'm sure only to scare little children). My dad once told me that, if you're really lucky, you get one good dog, the one you'll never forget. For him it was a dog named Blackie. It was his dog until he got 'invited' to serve his country in WWII. He was gone for five years. He told me this because I too had been blessed with that one great dog, Beauregard, as well. He was as brilliant as he was handsome. When he was at the ripe age of 13, Beau had a stroke. We woke up one morning to find him unable to stand without running in circles. I sat holding him for hours, crying so hard, begging God to just give me one more day - no, I was greedy - I wanted one more year. After several visits to the vet and shots, for which Beau didn't even flinch, he improved. He lost his peripheral vision and didn't hear as well, but he improved significantly. I didn't get one more year, though. I got three. And during those three years, he never left my side. Every morning he still got up, got in the car and we took the boy to school. he barked at everyone who even appeared to be approaching our car. All the kids at school knew who Beau was and thought he was the coolest. One day, I was driving up Prospect Hill to visit my girlfriend. When I pulled into her drive, a little black and white puppy ran up to me. To put it kindly, he wasn't close to cute. Unless you think Pepe le Peau is cute. He was black with a white stripe down his nose, gawky legs too long for his body. He was a puppy but had lost the puppy cute factor. My girlfriend told me not to be friendly since she wanted him to go away, but I was amazed at how good he was. I was sure someone had lost him and must be in great distress. He'd found a spot under her flower box and wouldn't budge. Eventually we realized he wasn't going away so I called Frank at the Animal Control dept. He said the pup was not in his landed jurisdiction and we'd have to bring him to a kill facility. And worse, that Prospect Hill was a major dumping ground for unwanted puppies. I'm embarassed to admit this but I thought he was too ugly to get adopted. Well, some of my best decisions are the ones where I don't have time to debate or worry (I'm a Libra) so I scooped him up. The pup was deathly afraid of getting into the car (he was also deathly afraid of basements and NEVER went into mine, ever, so who knows what happened to him afore me) but I got him in and he sat in my lap quivering the whole ride home. WHen I arrived, I honked and my son and husband and Beau came out. Sonny was thrilled, of course. My hub had a fit. But Baby was ours now. And Beau welcomed the little tyke into his kingdom like an old wizard would a new apprentice. But within a month Beau wasn't able to walk so good and stopped eating. Sometimes when the alpha weakens the other dogs go dominant. But not Baby. He'd lick Beau's face and lay next to him. Well, you can imagine the rest of this tear jerking part, but years later, I did talk to my dad again about how serendipitous it was that Baby came into my life, just when I was losing Beau. And he said, "Every once in awhile, if you're lucky, you get one great dog you never forget." And then he looked at me with those twinkly blue eyes of his. "And sometimes, you get two."

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, Kristan!
What a great title. And I'm with you on the family theme. It's been a mainstay for me. I particularly like the not-so-traditional bunch.

We adopted a mostly Lab last summer, and she's the World's Best Dog. She sees to it that I sweep the floors a lot--says she'd do it herself if only she had a way to hold dustpan and broom at the same time--so she repays me by keeping the granddaughters company in the bathroom. They don't like to be in there alone, so now instead of "Nana" it's "Beauty, come with me."

lois greiman said...

Hey Kristan, thanks for joining us in the convert.

I'm actually a horse person. I love then because they don't grow up and move away like certain people do.

MsHellion said...

I don't have either, but if I had my preference, it'd be a cat. (Though I'm with Lois, nothing tops a horse, but they're slightly harder to cuddle with in bed while watching Cougar Town.)

My friend Holly has like a billion cats--in which I mean, she has 12--and they each have a very distinct personality; and most I really like and one I just can't stand. (He's very rude.) My favorite is Sloan, a gray green-eyed cat with the sexy throated purr of Alan Rickman. He loves to curl up on chest and just purr at you--and I find that sort of attention from a male to be very flattering.

They enjoy a good sleep and they don't romp around like dogs, sticking theirs noses into everything and then looking oddly hurt when you don't find this behavior acceptable. Dogs are unruly and male; cats are generally more well-behaved, less clingy, and less annoying to me.

If I'm going to deal with an unruly male, I'd rather deal with a hot 2-legged one with lots of stamina.

kristan higgins said...

Virginia, I'm glad to hear Elvis is among us again! Your cats sound like great company.

Hi, Cindy dear! I love seeing the pictures of your cats in various drawers and odd spaces! Thanks again for having me today!

Kylie, thank for forgiving the cat, so generous of you! April, can't wait to hear what you think! Go, Fat Mikey!

Michelle, my cat used to lie on the keyboard, too. Something about black cats and their need to dominate the world.

Sylvia, sounds like your husband and cat are well trained!

Hi, Thea! So nice to see your name! What a great story...those dogs are lucky!

Kathleen, love your books! We have a mostly lab, too. I'm trying to teach him to wash his noseprints off the french doors that overlook our valley, but he keeps forgetting...

And hi, Lois! Looking forward to the Hot Mess (in my TBR pile at the mo'). I had a horse growing up...Jenny. Just thinking about her makes me want another one!

Jennifer Brady said...

I loved my dog because she (an 80 pound lab) would channel her inner contortionist and squeeze through the cat flap we put in the door to the basement. All that effort to eat the poo from the cat litter box. She, although she adored the kitty "leftovers", lived in terror of that 8 pound feline and would freeze when the kitty walked into the room and not move until it left.

Our cat also would somehow open the door under the bathroom sink, drag out a tampon, carry it in her mouth like a cigar, then procede to bat it around in front of our dinner guests.

I also don't need to be entered in the drawing. I adore all your books.

kristan higgins said...

Oh, and hi, Ms. Hellion! You're right, dogs are so dog will never get up from a tummy rub; he'd lie there till he starved to death if we let him..."Just keep petting me! Please! More!" So I hear you on that. Then again, my cat hasn't cuddled with me in years. But he does love my kids, so...

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Kristan! I was surprised to see a cat on the cover too. Love the storyline and can't wait to read it.

I have both a cat and a dog at the moment. We're dog people. The cat showed up, decided to stay, and now she rules us all. It's amazing what she can communicate with just a look...helpful for a writer!

The dog is great when I want to procrastinate and take petting breaks.

Thanks for joining us here today!

Virginia said...

I don't have either but I would have to say a cat. Cat's are cleaner and they love to set in your lap and be petted. You don't have to worry about taking them for a walk because they will use a litter box.

cheryl c said...

I am not really a cat person. Cats are cold and aloof, and well, they make me sneeze!

I love dogs, though, because they are so happy to see you and they love you unconditionally. One time I did a crazy thing and dyed my hair blonde. When I first got home, my dog growled at me. As soon as she realized it was me, she dropped her head and tail and looked so guilty. She really felt bad for growling at me.

I really enjoy your books, Kristan. All of them are on my keeper shelf because they are comfort reads for me. Congrats on the new release!

donnas said...

I love dogs and cats. But I am definitely more of a cat person. Although I have 2 very large cats that are smallish dog size. Cats are independent but can also be so sweet. Mine just want to curl up on my lap and purr while I am at the computer. They just want to be close. I joke sometimes that in the whole apartment we all live in the same 4 sq ft. They greet me at the door when I get home and dont bark loudly when someone makes a noise upstairs.

I also dont have to worry about taking them outside or going for a walk when its freezing. I would like to have a dog someday but not while living in an apartment, I dont want a dog until I have a yard they can play in.

Jennifer said...


I don't have a cat or a dog, but I do have fish :-). I would have to say cat, since my aunt had a black cat that I loved when I was a little kid. When I would go for a visit, she would let me feed, Eeepers Peepers, his tender vittles and play with him for hours. In my opinion, black cats are the coolest cats!

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Kristen-- Glad you're hangin' with us today.

I have to say I like cats because they don't follow me to the bathroom and stare at me while...well, you know. Sweetie, my 68 lb Akita/German Shepherd believes she must herd me to the bathroom and then guard against marauders.

I like dogs because they aren't stealth ninji who leap onto your shoulders when you pass their vicinity. Not because they love you but because you are simply a means to getting atop a door so they can lord it over you and require you get the step stool to get them down.

I guess I hate dogs and cats equally. Just depends on which 5 minutes of the day. (g)

Cindy Gerard said...

Deb - just have to post. at our house it's the CATS who insist on accompanying me to the bathroom. it's so weird. Doesn't matter where they are when I 'go' they know and they run to the bathroom door just before I can get it closed in front of them.
Like i said. weird.

LSUReader said...

My dog is a sweetheart...a 16-year-old black mixed breed who politely knocks at the door when she wants to come in, makes meaningful eye contact when she needs to go out, barks only twice a week (mornings when the garbage is collected) and cheerfully puts up with our over-active, touchy-feely grandchildren. She is an important piece of our family puzzle.

kristan higgins said...

Jennifer B, oh, my Lord! Blick! Bad kitty! Bad! Glad you liked the book, though!

Thanks, Christie! I always love popping into this blog!

Virginia, you have a point about the cuddling. It's harder when your Lab wants to sit on your lap...

Cindy, my cat comes into the SHOWER with me some days...I don't get it.

And LSU reader: You're speaking my language. Sounds like you have a real peach.

Hi, Debra! I wasn't going to admit that my dog follows me into the bathroom, but since you did, I will too! Yep. Good to have protection, I guess...

Jennifer, black cats are indeed the coolest, you need only ask one.

chey said...

I'm looking forward to reading The Next Best Thing.
I remember my dog teasing me when I was a kid. She barked at the door to come in, and as soon as I opened it she'd run around the corner of the house..

Pamela Keener said...

I am owned by 2 dogs and one cat. I was always a dog person until this kitty tapped me on the shoulder while I was visiting the humane society. I guess you could say he had me at hello. I was so blown away that he reached through the crate to touch me when I wasn't looking that I could not leave without the bugger.
Love & Hugs,

Danielle said...

I love both cats and dogs! But if I had to choose, I'd say I'm a cat person, for sure.

I've had lots of them in my lifetime, but got my first cat on my own last April. I adopted a 2-year-old orange and gray tortie and she's the most beautiful girl in the world. I named her Cupcake. And then 5 days later, she had a vicious attack of diabetes, was in the hospital for 5 nights, and I had to give insulin shots twice a day and check her blood glucose multiple times each week! But I kept her, despite everyone telling me to return her to the shelter, because I just love that sweet little girl, even if she is still pretty skittish. She does, however, purr so loudly I can hear her from across my apartment, and she often flops down on her side near my pillow, looks at me with pleading eyes, and meows until I come over and spoon with her! LOL

And she hasn't needed insulin in almost 9 months :)

Danielle, Reading Between the Lines

Anonymous said...

I am a dog person even though my Jack Russell terrier is a pest. I have learned the hard way to NOT lay down my paperback book where he can reach it. He takes it outside and proeeds to tear it to shreds. And then stands there with a smirk on his face. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to a bookstore to get another copy or read the last chapter.

alba said...

I love both Cat's & Dog's Dh & I have been considering getting a dog & yes it will be a rescue that we get.
We had 2 cat's about 5 years ago mother & daughter. On our days off we like to sleep late well they did not like waiting for breakfast the mother would sit on the dresser tap the metal blinds till we either threw the pillow ( missing her) to make her stop or get up & feed her .
Now the Daughter liked to sleep on my DH chest until the alarm went off then she would use his chest as traction as she flew off the bed...
Many time I would hear high pitched screams in the wee hours of the morning LOL....
Love the excerpt sound like a story I would enjoy.
Have a good one.

Nicole A said...

A cat, how interesting! I've loved the dogs in your other books, well..I've loved your other books in general. This new story sounds like it'll be another great read, I enjoy the drama of a secret/slightly taboo relationship (like Millie and Sam in Fools Rush In). Looking forward to read about this Mafia Don cat : )

Anonymous said...

Chey, your pup sounds so cute!

Pamela...they have your number. I envision a conference between all the cats that day. "Okay, here she comes. Fluffy, go for it. She's all yours."

Danielle, there's something about a loud purr, isn't there? So adorable!

Ann, I think rescued dogs remember your kindness for the rest of their lives. Certainly, my Digger is incredibly devoted, even by Lab standards.

Nicole, hope you like the new book! Fat Mikey is a noble beast, rest assured.

Joye, finally! A fellow dog person! Okay, not so good about destroying books, but heck, maybe it's good for the economy...

kristan higgins said...

Oops! Guess my last comment got cut off...Ann, I think rescued dogs always remember that you chose them. My little Digger is incredibly devoted, even by Black Lab standards.

And Nicole, I hope you'll like Fat Mikey! He's a noble beast, rest assured.

Paula R said...

Hi Kristan, I see you had lots of company in the convertible today. Love the nod to Poe in the book btw. I used to teach that story to my kids when I taught irony. I am almost done with TNBT. I am trying to drag it out as long as possible.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

kristan higgins said...

My English major past had to have some place, Paula! Hope you had a nice day with the kids and the snow!

Marcie said...

PeeWee liked ice cream as much as I did.
And there was Duke - when I was eating a Starburst came over to sniff near my face. So I burped Duke licked the air! I think it was an orange starburst now that I think about it.

Paula R said...

Kristan, the day with the kids was fun. I let them go outside and have a snowball fight with another tire them out so they could be tired by bed time. It definitely works for middle school kids too.

Have a great rest of the evening. Thank you Cindy for inviting Kristan to ride with us all today.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

kristan higgins said...

Oh, Marcie, how funny! And kind of weird, but funny.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by today! Pamela Keener, since you were a dog person who opened her heart to a kitty, guess what? You get a copy of THE NEXT BEST THING! Email me at and I'll pop it in the mail for you.

Thanks especially to the fabulous ladies of the convertible for having's a honor to ride along with you.


Anonymous said...

Even though I've never owned either, I prefer dogs. From what I hear, cats ignore their owners a lot, and I wouldn't like that. I guess that's why dogs are referred to as a man's/woman's best friend. They seem much more lovable.


Linda Henderson said...

First off, don't get me wrong, I really like dogs. Now after saying that, I think cats have much more attitude. You can really tell when a cat is ticked off at you. We used to have a cat that when he was mad at you he would relieve himself on your clothes. It sure cured my son in law of leaving his clothes on the floor. He was a really good mouser and usually when he caught one he would get it in his mouth then try and jump on your lap. You had to be pretty quick around him. He's been gone for a while and I still miss that cat.

mariska said...

i love cats ! well, i our last cat, was used to 'massage' me with her two hands. i just love when she did that :)