I was thrilled when I received today’s guest’s latest book from Jennifer and Jihan from The Hachette Book Group, especially since I had reviewed her previous book, The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship. And even more exciting, she is stopping by to visit today. Welcome Lisa Verge Higgins!!!!!
LISA VERGE HIGGINS
Lisa Verge Higgins is a RITA-nominated author of fourteen novels that have been published worldwide and translated into fifteen languages – twelve of which were penned while studying for her PhD in chemistry. Lisa made her first foray into mainstream women’s fiction with The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship (2011). The novel went on to win the 2011 Golden Leaf Award for Best Single Title. It was also selected as the first Best Read of 2011 by Barnes & Noble’s General Fiction Book Club and landed on their Top 20 list. Lisa Verge Higgins currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and three daughters.
Connect with Lisa at:
Q&A with Lisa Verge Higgins
Welcome to CMash Reads
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
What a great question! I draw a lot of inspiration from personal experiences. For example, I once took a three-and-a-half-month backpacking trip through Europe, from Scotland to Rome. In my latest book, FRIENDSHIP MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER, the three characters—Monique, Becky and Judy—decide to put their lives (and troubles) aside to take a trip to Europe together. Travel can be a wonderfully transformative experience and I knew that’s what my girls needed to do, in order to deal with the difficult issues in their lives. One of the lessons I learned during my travels actually forms the theme of the book: Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find what you’re looking for.
[To peruse Monique, Becky & Judy’s snapshots, visit me at pinterest at http://pinterest.com/lisavergehiggin/friendship-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder)
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
As a former science geek (I used to be a chemist) I guess I can’t help but be methodical about the creative process. What starts out as just a spark of an idea—a theme, perhaps, or a character who has grabbed hold of me—grows as I start to do research. Eventually I write character charts and then a scene-by-scene plot outline. It’s only when I start writing the first draft that I cut myself loose and see where the story takes me, which is often far off the original mark. That’s okay—that’s the magic!
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
In the research-and-plotting-stage I’m a completely normal individual. During the first-draft process, however, I’m an absentminded mess! I’ll put a cup of hot coffee in the cabinet and stick the peanut butter in the refrigerator. I have to put an alarm on my phone so I don’t forget to pick up the kids from school.
What I’ve started to do after my workday is to play word games like Boggle or do a crossword puzzle to try to shake myself out of the “zone” in order to have a conscious conversation with my husband and kids. Fortunately, they’re used to it!
-Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I am a full-time writer but like so many others, I’m also a full-time mother. On my Facebook page, my most popular posts start “Under the Category of ‘Life With Two Teenage Daughters and One of Marriageable Age.’” It used to be “Life With Three Teenage Daughters,” but my oldest is now of legal drinking age so she insisted I come up with a new title. Since I get some of my funniest posts from their antics, I figured I should oblige. 😉 Those kids and my deadlines keep my life wonderfully full.
I invite you all to join me at www.facebook.com/lisavergehiggins
-Who are some of your favorite authors?
So many books, so little time! In terms of women’s fiction, I’m a huge fan of Kristin Hannah, Kristin Higgins, Jodi Picoult, Luanne Rice, Nancy Thayer and Emily Giffin. But I also read across a lot of genres. I love Stefanie Pintoff’s turn-of-the-twentieth-century mystery series set in New York. I spent last summer working through George R. R. Martin’s EPIC series, Game of Thrones. I’m also a fan of big juicy historical novels, like Michelle Moran’s MADAME TUSSAUD.
-What are you reading now?
I’m reading Emily Giffin’s HEART OF THE MATTER and loving it!
-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Right now I’m working on RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS which will come out in April 2014. It’s a road-trip book, a combination of the movies “Thelma & Louise” and “Pay it Forward.” It’s about a woman, Jenna Elliot, who offers a friend a random act of kindness. That act later returns to her in ways that she never could have expected.
I encourage your readers to sign up for Book Alerts! to receive an email when it comes out: http://www.lisavergehiggins.com/
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Judy would definitely be Diane Lane—in fact, that’s who I posted as her doppelganger on my pinterest page. She’s strong and comfortable in her own skin. Monique would be Halle Berry, hands down (heck, if I got to pick….) Becky is a little harder to cast. I guess she’d be a younger, more vulnerable Cameron Diaz.
-Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
I read all day, for pleasure and for work, so when I’m kicking back it’s often to watch TV or a movie.
If I’m in a restaurant, I’ll order anything that has goat cheese. At home . . . sausage and peppers over pasta. Colorful, healthy, filling . . . my favorite comfort food.
Lately? Frangelico on the rocks. Heck, I’m under deadline! 😉
ABOUT THE BOOK
What is the appropriate amount of time to grieve the loss of a spouse? Four years, two weeks, and three days after losing her husband to cancer, Monique Franke-Reed isn’t ready to let go. She still speaks to him when things get rough; summoning him in the bedroom they once shared, awaiting that familiar whisper.
In the days before his passing, Lenny created a bucket list of things they should do once he recovers – which includes rappelling down an alpine ledge, visiting the catacombs of Paris, and taking in the magnificence of The Last Supper – but, sadly, he loses his battle. An ever-reluctant Monique can’t bring herself to keep her promise because completing the list means that she is ready to move on; however, she contemplates the list with a new perspective when she notices changes in her best friends.
Judy – once a backpacking free spirit – is coping with the onset of empty nest syndrome as the last of her five children heads off to college. Meanwhile, Becky continues to laugh it off whenever she trips over smooth surfaces or bumps into people clearly within view. However, she is dealt a shocking blow when she seeks out an explanation for her diminishing night vision and learns that, over time, she will lose her sight.
Realizing that Becky is slipping into a world filled with anxiety, Monique sees the bucket list as the perfect opportunity to whisk her friends away for a European adventure and allow Becky to take in the sights for the first and last time. Together, the threesome embark upon a transformative journey that offers each woman new insight to help cope with the fears and loss they are facing.
THANKS TO JIHAN AT GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING,
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