Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Kristan Higgins Interview - Pack Up the Moon


Photo Credit:  Declan Keenan

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 19 novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal , People and Booklist. Her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year. Kristan is also a cohost of the Crappy Friends podcast, which discusses the often complex dynamics of female friendships, with her friend and fellow writer, Joss Dey.

The proud descendant of a butcher and a laundress, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband. They own several badly behaved pets and are often visited by their entertaining and long-lashed children.

        
  


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
It’s how we connect, isn’t it? How we make friends, fall in love, tell family history, keep memories alive. I don’t think there’s anything that’s more human than storytelling.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a note from a reader who said that she’d had a series of losses during the pandemic, and my books saved her life. She said she meant that literally. As a writer, you tell the best story you can, but you never know what the effect your book will have on someone. I’ve been where she was, and books walked with me through those dark, sad times.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
On the surface, my current work-in-progress is about two sisters, never terribly close, who both live in their hometown on Cape Cod. Lillie, the younger sister, finds out the night before her son graduates high school, that her husband is planning to divorce her, and has in fact fallen in love with someone much younger. She goes a bit crazy once her son leaves for college and she finds herself completely alone for the first time. Her sister Hannah is a successful wedding planner, but planning other people’s big day has made her cynical…all that money and me-focus. It’s also a story about about the different kinds of motherhood we experience, as children and parents, and sometimes with people who are not biologically connected to us.

Can you tell us when you started PACK UP THE MOON, how that came about?
I was taking a walk on the beach a couple of winters ago, and it was bitter cold. My doggy and I were the only ones there, and I was just about frozen to death. Then I saw this guy in the distance, just staring at the ocean, not seeming affected by the wind and cold. I thought, “He looks like the loneliest guy in the world,” and just like that, I wanted to write his story. About a month later, I read a blog written by a young woman who had a terminal disease, and she was so positive and realistic and funny…so I put those two together. It’s a tragic, funny, heartbreaking love story with a happy ending, and I think it will stay with readers for a long, long time.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
That while we think some things are impossible to bear, they’re usually not. Loss can crush us, but we get better at carrying it. Stronger, braver, almost burnished by grief into something new. We’re not defined by our circumstances—we often become our best selves because of them. This is a book about marriage, about the immortality of love, about navigating the greatest heartbreak and learning to carry that loss with grace and strength.

What part of Joshua and Lauren did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved their opposites-attract relationship. Lauren is bubbly and outgoing; Josh is a loner, blunt to the point of being insulting at times, bad at reading social cues and making friends. She knows her death is going to be utterly devastating for him, so she writes him these letters, prodding him to get out into the world and connect with other people. Those letters and his reactions were wicked fun to write.

TEN FAVORITE GUY CHARACTERS FROM YOUR BOOKS, INCLUDING RANDOM FACTS ABOUT THEM.
  • Joshua, PACK UP THE MOON: super-genius on the spectrum son of a single mom
  • Leo, IF YOU ONLY KNEW: Juilliard graduate, concert pianist turned piano teacher
  • Jonathan, ON SECOND THOUGHT: Based on Mr. Darcy.
  • Malone, CATCH OF THE DAY: Owns a lobster boat named The Ugly Anne, which is the name of the lobster boat my dad took me out on when I was seven.
  • Callahan O’Shea: Best name of any of my heroes.
  • James Cahill, SOMEBODY TO LOVE: favorite phrase: “Always lovely to see you, Parker.”
  • Rafe, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: Chef in NYC
  • Miller, LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES: Wife died in childbirth.
  • Connor, ANYTHING FOR YOU: Has a twin sister.
  • Levi, THE BEST MAN: Raising younger sister
Greatest thing you learned in school?
I really could have skipped algebra.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ooh, great question! I think Genevieve from Life and Other Inconveniences would’ve gotten along just great with Lauren.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
I had a horse named Jenny, and there was one afternoon when I was riding her bareback around our yard. She was in one of her more relaxed moods, so I lay back on her and just looked at the clear blue sky. A hawk was circling way up there, and I thought to myself, “Remember this moment. It’s one of the best moments of your life.” And it was, and I did.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
See a baby being born. It really makes you believe in God.

Best date you've ever had?
My first anniversary leaps to mind. My husband sent me flowers at work, and we had dinner at a tiny Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. He hadn’t been able to afford an engagement ring, and he surprised me with an antique anniversary band of amethysts and rose gold. On our way home that night, we got a Christmas tree and brought it home on the subway and decorated it with our cat, Joe.

What was the first job you had?
Babysitter, age 11. Those were the days, huh?

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Motherhood, without a doubt. I’m a far better, kinder, smarter person because of my kids. They’ve taught me so much, and I’ve never wanted to let them down.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Last night with my husband, as I fake-auditioned to be the host of This Old House for my husband. “And this is called…a hammer? Tell me more, Tom Silva!”

First Heartbreak?
When our dog Ginger died at the hands of a crappy vet. I was five.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
When I was in the hospital before having my son. I was really, really sick with a rare condition, and all I wanted was for him to be okay (and not die and leave both kids orphaned). He’s 22 now and just graduated from college with a double major.

Every month, a letter. That's what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she's dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.

Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they're wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren's disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future--a future without the only woman he's ever loved. He's so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It's a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed...from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn't Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren's most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn't follow a straight line.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life's greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.

You can purchase Pack Up the Moon at the following Retailers:
        

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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9 comments:

  1. "How far away from your birthplace do you live now?" Relatively far, but not incredibly far!

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  2. I live in the same city where I was born.

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  3. It's about a 9 hour drive from my birthplace.

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  4. About a 3 hour drive, but I have only recently come back into the area.

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  5. I was born in South San Francisco. That is about 450 miles from where I am currently living in SoCal.

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  6. I was born in Atlantic, IA. I now live in Marana, AZ., ( about 1450 miles.)

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  7. I was born in Houston , Tx and have been a resident of Tampa Bay, Fl for over 44 years!

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