The very long, very hot summer I lived in Arizona, I interned for a women’s website. Every morning as part of the internship, I scrolled through news for the day, reading articles and seeing how things were done. One day I came across an article about a romance writer named Kristan Higgins.
Here, I found it for you.
Look at me, providing props and links and things!
The article discussed Kristan’s latest book and how she loves to write “strong female characters.” Remember when that was a catchphrase? Before we all moved on to just saying “human beings?” I don’t know if we’re there yet, but I hope we are. I think we’re getting there.
Well, actually 2016…
NO, JILL. FOCUS.
I was intrigued enough by the article that I checked out the book. I swallowed it whole and then made it a mission to read every single Kristan Higgins book available in the city of Tempe. At the time, she had published about a dozen romance novels, all with very similar themes. The lead was “strong” and had her career and life together–except for her love life! She lived in a tiny New England town (often her hometown). She loved animals, particularly dogs. Lots of local flavor and charm. Humor! Awkwardness! Love! Always love, with a handsome, flawed, wonderful, wonderful man.
I was hooked.
Kristan’s first-ever book was set in the town on Cape Cod where Rob’s family has a home. I found out that Kristan’s family also has a home there.
It was a sign!
Kristan’s favorite book of all time is Gone with the Wind. In fact, that’s a whole plot for one of her characters, this love of romance and Scarlett O’Hara.
I gobbled Kristan’s books up and then started reading her back blogs. That’s when you know it’s serious, when I’m 2009 deep reading about her firefighter husband. For of course Kristan married a firefighter (McIrish) and lives in her Connecticut hometown, a town with a great ice cream stand.
For of course.
Eventually I got through everything Kristan had offered the world and put her next book on preorder. I then decided I should email her.
I had never done something like this, reach out to an author I love. Write a goopy fan letter telling them they had changed my world and oh hi, you can write back but only if you want giggle giggle. But this was big. Kristan had brought some air conditioning into a very oppressively overheated time in my life and I wanted to truly thank her.
And so I wrote a goopy fan letter.
Within a week!
She responded within a week and said, “So great to hear from another woman ruined by Rhett Butler!”
I knew then what I had always known. Kristan was a soul mate, one of the true good people on this oppressively overheated earth. She and I, if only we lived in the same town, would be best friends. We’d shop for shoes and talk writing and in some other universe she was living a version of my life.
The version of my life had I been born in Connecticut. Had I married that firefighter (I never met.)
I still pre-order Kristan’s books every six months. She produces two a year like clockwork and when they show up in my Amazon Prime box I smile a bit and clear the night.
Kristan is Arizona’s air conditioned gift to me.
I’ll take her.