Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins


Jaunty Post

It is a truth universally acknowledged that writers cannot talk about their books until they’ve written up and memorized several sentences. In the raw, we sound like this:

Interviewer/ Kevin the UPS Man/my cousin: “Hey, Kristan! Working on anything new?”

KH: “Yes! Yes, I am. Very busy these days, very! Do you ever feel schizophrenic? Because, wow…anyway, what? Um, oh, yes a new book! I am, yes. It’s a book, of course, and there’s a hero in it, and he’s very very hot…I’m not sure what his name is, but we’re already in love. And the heroine? So funny. Oh, there’s this scene in my head? I’ve acted it out with my pillow several times, and the kissing is so hot, wow!  Do you who Tom Hardy is? I love that guy. What was the question again? What’s the book about? Um…I’m not sure.”

Since 2002, I’ve written thirteen books and one infamous 93-page outline. Eleven of those books have been or will soon be published. One might be published someday, and one will be burned with me upon my cremation.

I have still not managed to talk about any one of those coherently, at least not at first, not while the book was new. My editor is so patient with me. I can hear myself talking (and talking and talking), and I can imagine her smiling and nodding, waiting expectantly, her eyes kind as I go on (and on and on). “There’s this scene? In a restaurant, okay, and he comes in, her old fiancé, but she panics, right? Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you. I was thinking the hero could have this stepson. Well, not a stepson, maybe a cat. Or not a cat, but a cockatoo! Has anyone done a cockatoo lately?”

I try to stop. I don’t.  Inevitably, she says something terribly kind… “Well, we’ll be so excited to see how you pull that off! I have to go now. Yes. No. I’m hanging up. No, I mean it. Bye, Kristan.”

So I hang up, put away the Nutella, take a shower, as I am now drenched in sweat, and type of a few sentences. “Heroine has always wanted (fill in blank here). When (hilariously bad thing) happens, she tries (something). But that doesn’t work, so she tries (a different something, also funny). When she meets Hottie McHotness, she worries that he’ll realize she’s a twit. But he loves her instead, and they make beautiful babies. The end.”

This is generally what my synopsis looks like.

Like my books, I’m a work in progress.

Is there a subject you can’t discuss without becoming flustered?

10 thoughts on “Talking da Talk

  1. Well, I’m the same way when it comes to talking about a work-in-progress. My ideas always sound so dumb when I say them out loud. And I usually end up awkwardly laughing and saying something like it’ll be better on paper. Then I cross my fingers and hope! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your process, Kristan, you made me feel more normal!

  2. Connie Fischer says:

    Gosh, I’m not a writer but I think anytime you are “exposing” yourself to someone like that, you understandably get flustered. It’s like having to get naked and “let it all hang out” for people to look at and critique. Now, if I did that, a good thing would happen: they would faint! 😉

    To answer the question, I think I get flustered when I’ve had to discuss my bout with breast cancer with a doctor. It’s been 18 years but I never stop being scared of it. But phooey on downer stuff. Let’s get back to the the funny things in life.

    I LOVE to read your books and your posts on Facebook, Kristan. You and Jill Shalvis keep me rolling with laughter! Thank you both so much for the smiles you give me.

  3. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

    I always think it’s a little dangerous to share too much too soon when the WIP is still in the gelatinous stage. Otherwise, a terrific idea that just needs to mature a bit can get shot down. I have to walk around with the characters for a week or so before I know them well enough to tell their story.

    I love the way your charcters turn out, Kristan. Doesn’t matter if they have a rough entrance into the world. You always come up with people I’d like to know and a heroine whose life I’d like to try on for a while.

  4. Shana Shana says:

    I’m the same way with books. My agents have actually told me not to pitch anything because I do such a poor job of it. Usually after I’ve blogged about a book for a month or so, I can do a decent job of speaking about it off the cuff.

  5. Kathleen O says:

    I can’t say much would fluster me except when meeting a new guy and then my mouth takes on a mind of it’s own and the dumbest things would come out of it.. Much like heroines in a certain authors books I read..

  6. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Oh, I am the same way talking about my books. Even after they’re done. I’m just not so good at “selling” it in the verbal sense. But when it comes to the craft of writing, I can talk that all day long.

  7. I usually have to talk my story to a couple of friends before it makes enough sense to me to tell others…..LOL!

  8. Oh, I’m so glad to hear you have this problem, too, Kristan! On occasion, I’ve been known to plead with my editor, “I swear it’s a good idea. It just sounds really stupid when I talk about it.”

  9. Lily says:

    That’s pretty much how I sound all the time unfortunately. 😯 The neural connection between my brain and my mouth is clearly rigged with paperclips, old chewing gum and electrical tape that’s lost its stickiness. And since you mentioned it, it cannot be acknowledged enough that Tom Hardy and his lips are magnificent.

  10. Sharlene Wegner says:

    You are so funny! Your books are great, so whatever way it works, keep doing it!

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