Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins


Jaunty Post

rwaSo there’s this huge conference next week, gang: Romance Writers of America National Conference in Atlanta. I think there will be about 2000 people there, most of them writers. Lots of industry pros, too—agents and publishers and booksellers and librarians. There will be dozens and dozens of workshops. Signings, meetings, parties…and speeches. I’m giving one. The Awards Luncheon Speech. I’m terrified.

Oh, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, it’s a HUGE honor, being asked to speak in front of your peers. The thing is, I’m really not that experienced. I haven’t been at this business for terribly long. I think I’m pretty well liked in the community (I certainly try to be nice!), and I gave a couple of funny acceptance speeches in the past few years, so I think that’s why I was asked.

sylviaWhen Sylvia Day, the president of RWA, called to ask me to speak, I did try to talk her out of it. “Shouldn’t you be giving the speech, Sylvia?” (She had just hit #1 on the New York Times list). “Don’t you have someone more experienced you could ask?” I gave her some names.

She laughed. “We all want you, Kristan,” she said kindly. “It was unanimous.”

“Okay, then. Sure! I’d love to!”

And I will love to. I mean, I love the idea. And I’ll love it when it’s over. But I’ll be shaking like a leaf the whole time. I briefly considered asking my doctor for some calming medication, but heck. Time to put on the big-girl panties and all that.

shoes1My first concern: what to wear. Obviously, it has to be killer, right? And the shoes…eesh. Clearly, not one pair of those jammed into my closet would do (the ugly face of addiction). Spanx, of course. Sigh.

At my first conference six years ago, I was horribly underdressed. Jeans and stuff. I had no clue, no published author friends. I remember the authors who were nice to me, a brand-spanking newbie. Sandra Hill and Rita Herron sat on either side of me at the big signing and heartily recommended my books to their many fans (I had one person come up on purpose…and I was glad for her, let me tell you!).

eloisaAt breakfast, because I knew no one, I plunked my plate down next to someone and asked if I could sit there. Turned out she was Kim Castillo and ran Author’s Best Friend; she was the PR assistant to Eloisa James, and Eloisa had just recommended my book to her. I nearly passed out with the thrill. Eventually, I hired Kim, and we still call each other “breakfast buddy.” She’ll be sitting at my table when I give my speech. I love her dearly.

I saw Susan Elizabeth Phillips and could barely look her in the eye. I wanted to say what a fan I was, but I didn’t want to bug her. Now, SEP and I are sort of pals. We had dinner with two other authors last year, and she’s lovely and normal and funny. Mostly, we talked about our kids.

This career of mine…it’s surreal. When I started writing, all I wanted was to write a book that people would love. That’s still all I want. Giving speeches and stuff…it’s such a thrill. Such an honor! But in the end, despite the fun of shoes and writer friends and publisher parties, it’s always about writing a book for you, dear readers. You are always in my thoughts.



25 thoughts on “Going Public

  1. I can’t wait to hear your speech, Kristan. I’m sure it’s going to be fab. And I really love those shoes. 🙂

  2. Tara Stearns says:

    I so wish I could be there to hear your speech. Good luck! Though I know you’re going to kill it and be awesome.

  3. Karen says:

    You had everyone’s complete attention at ARRC earlier this year Kristan…you are a very engaging speaker and I am certain you are going to nail your speech this time too! I do hope that I get to hear you speak some time again in the future.

    Have a great time!

  4. The shoes are key, Kathy! Thanks, Tara & Karen! : )

    1. You haven’t mentioned what size shoe you wear…not that I’m planning to mug you for your shoes but just in case something like that should happen. 😆

  5. You’ll be amazing (especially if you thank McIrish so … vividly again)! And just ignore the heckler in the back corner … :mrgreen: Can’t wait!

  6. Gail Chianese says:

    Heckler in the back corner? Oh no, Jess, we’re going to be in the front row, keeping her on her toes. Only fair. 😉

    You’ll do great. Everyone will love you. And yeah, bringing up McIrish never hurts. 🙂

  7. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Your speech is one of the things I’m looking forward too most, Kristan. So I shall endure the rubber chicken and hard rolls just for you. 😉

  8. Shana Shana says:

    The JQs will be there, cheering you on!

  9. I fully expect heckling from the JQs and my fellow CTRWA members! I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. And if I’m barefoot, we’ll have Kathy to blame.

  10. Can’t wait to hear you, Kristan! You always make me smile. And, for an introvert like me, a smile at conference time is a rare and beautiful thing! 😉

  11. Jeannie Moon says:

    Kristan, You have nothing to worry about. Your grace, charm and good humor will shine through. I truly mean that. Throw it together with some references to Tom Hardy and the hot UPS man you’re terrifying, and you’ll be golden.

    Seriously, anyone I’ve talked to is excited to hear your speech. You have a room full of fans and that includes all the icons, but more than that, because of who you are and how you treat people, you’re really in a room full of friends. It’s going to be great. xoxo

  12. No heckling from the JQs! Well, maybe Jaunty will want to throw out a few pert remarks but we’ll keep him under control. I work with Kim C, too – she’s the best! Looking forward to hearing your speech, and I bet your shoes will be killer!

  13. eap says:

    ai read One of the Guys this week-end. I really enjoyed it–especially Buttercup running down the street!!

  14. Kim Castillo says:

    You’re going to be awesome! Don’t worry, I’ll slip some rum into your tea at lunch to help you relax 😉 Love you babe!

    1. Kim always knows EXACTLY what to do!

  15. Joanie says:

    You’ll do fine Kristan! I’ll be cheering for you (I can hold up cue cards if you need it 😀 You sure handled it like a pro when a whacky lady from Kentucky recognized you in SF “YOU’RE Kristan Higgins!” You handled it with grace and didn’t try to deny it 😆

  16. I have no doubt you will be great. A couple of years ago at RWA in Orlando, I had a bit of a nervous fan-girl moment where I told one of my favorite authors she was like meeting Bono to me. Well, you were kind and gracious and didn’t even laugh in my face (I still appreciate it). Can’t wait to hear you speak. 😉

    1. You can compare me to Bono any day!

  17. Totally feeling the love, gang! Thank you so much! xox

  18. Mina Lee says:

    love you Kristan! My MIL and I laugh and cry at your books… Good luck on your speech!
    And keep the books coming! I checked Amazon and it said that your next book was coming in Oct – I want more, faster, please! 🙂

  19. You are going to be fabulous, my dear! All you have to do is stand up there and be yourself. Can’t wait to see you!

  20. Kathleen OD says:

    You will do fantastic.. Just don’t look at Jill or she will give you one of her “Lucy” moments… 😉

  21. Terri Brisbin says:

    Kristan —

    I am sooo looking forward to hearing your speech next week! I so enjoyed the one you gave at New Hampshire a couple of years back so I know you will be fabulous!

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