Romance novelist Kristan Higgins decided years ago that she wanted to write about intimate relationships for her readers. On Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore, Higgins shared her latest work concerning the relationship between two sisters, titled “If You Only Knew.”
During an hour of readings and engagement with the audience, Higgins said that she has recently shifted away from the genre of romance novels to the more expansive area of women’s fiction, and her readers love the change.
Higgins told the audience of 19 non-Fairfield students that there was always a heavy presence of women’s fiction and women’s experiences in her books.
Higgins wants more readers to enjoy her books and hopes that this change in her writing widens her audience.
Wrapping up her 21-day long book tour, Higgins concluded her journey at Fairfield.
The Durham, Connecticut native writes in her office every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and pens two books a year. Higgins first started out in advertising and wrote commercials and ads. However, after she and her husband started a family, her kids came first.
As Higgins stayed home with her children, she began to write after realizing the need to contribute to the family income.
“I wanted to write a book I could sell, not for myself,” she said.
Since then, Higgins has been writing romance novels for “normal people,” as she says. Her books are aimed for everyday people dealing with everyday problems.
Twice she has taken home the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Contemporary Single Title for “Catch of the Day” in 2008, and “Too Good To Be True” in 2010.
Her most recent novel, “If You Only Knew,” follows two sisters who struggle with their idea of what it means to have a perfect life.
When their husbands test the boundaries of their relationships, the women have to explore other options and ways of living.
As Higgins spoke about her book, the audience was captivated, including two sisters in their late 40s who traveled on the ferry from Long Island just to see Higgins.
“We have read all of them. We love that she writes about real people. I also can’t help but laugh,” said Christine Moore, one of the two sisters.
Higgins admits authors get the same question all of the time — people want to know where their ideas come from.
Higgins confessed that in the beginning of her career, she had plenty of her own ideas. However, they were slowly used up.
The author now sparks her creative juices from real-life situations.
Instead of burying her head in her smartphone, she talks to people. When she gets on a train, she strikes up a conversation with the person sitting next to her. “iPhones keep usisolated. They take away from things,” she said.
Higgins has progressively learned details of people’s adoptions, pregnancies, hysterectomies and even affairs by simply talking to people around her and listening to their stories.
When she has a good idea or knows she has heard something special, she gets what her family calls her “magic face.” She may not know where it will fit, but that great detail she just learned about the human condition will have a spot somewhere in the next novel.
The mother of two, wife and author continues to write and couldn’t be more content with her current situation. Higgins hopes to always be mindful of what she has and what is to come. Her goal is to continue to write about characters that surprise her readers and herself.
“Writing a book is like reading a map. We look at it and then never follow the original path,” she concluded. books