Being in high school is like a scary roller coaster ride...lots of emotional
twists and turns on a path that feels like it’s heading to nowhere. From
unrequited love to relationships that last forever, it’s the perfect time to
test the waters before taking the leap into the pond of life. If only we knew
back then what we know now. We wouldn’t have wasted so many hours worrying over
nonsense that truly didn’t matter in the long run.
This month’s Jen’s Jewels
touches upon this very topic in her hilarious new release UNTIL THERE WAS YOU. It’s
the story of Posey, a woman willing to take a leap of faith in order to believe
that dreams really do come true. Set in Bellsford, New Hampshire with an
unforgettable cast of characters, it’s a heartfelt story perfect for this time
As part of this interview,
Kristan has generously donated five copies for you, my favorite readers, to
try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end. And as
always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your
Jen: A New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author, your
latest release UNTIL THERE
WAS YOU is sure to find itself on the top of the bestsellers lists as well.
So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the
words, please share with us your educational and professional background.
Kristan: Pretty ordinary K-8, where I battled difficult hair and very
thick glasses; Catholic girls school for high school (it was such a relief to be
away from those pesky boys!); Jesuit college (it was so nice to be back with
those pesky boys!). I was an English major, of course. It was like being paid to
read. I loved it! Mind you, I’d read romance novels as a reward for getting
through some of the great works. Have you ever had to read Moby Dick in
three days’ time? Brutal.
Jen: Please describe for us your "Aha!" moment when you decided to take
the plunge and pursue a career as a novelist.
Kristan: Well, I’d been writing professionally since I graduated...PR and
research and advertising. Then I had my babies and just loved staying home with
them, but I wanted to do something else, too, you know? I loved romance novels,
figured I was a disciplined writer, so I gave it a shot. That being said, I’d
been telling myself stories every since Scarlett didn’t get back together with
Rhett. I’d just never put one down on paper before. Or on computer, as the case
Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for
you to complete a novel? Do you outline first? Or, do you simply allow the novel
to take on a life of its own?
Kristan: I do outline, and yes, the book takes on a life of its own. So
it’s both. I think the outline gives me the freedom to actually be more
creative, since I’m not sweating over what comes next. I always compare it to
driving across country; I like a map, but I also like to swerve off the highway
and see what’s there, too.
It takes me about 8 months to turn in a novel, from seedling idea to polished
Jen: UNTIL THERE WAS
YOU is a funny, light-hearted novel about a quirky woman, Posey Osterhagen,
who is trying to overcome her past. How did you arrive at the premise?
Kristan: I wanted to do a really unconventional heroine, and Posey is
just that. She’s a tough little tomboy, has body image issues that relate to not
gaining weight, and works in an unusual field. As far as Liam’s angle, I was
watching Friday Night Lights one night, and, being female, found myself
fascinated with the character of Tim Riggins, the show’s good-hearted but
wrong-headed bad boy. I wondered what it would be like to be that guy 15 years
from now...all those women in the rear view mirror, all that reputation still
floating around. So I kind of ran with that angle, too, and it was a lot of fun
to write from his perspective.
Jen: Two questions I just have to ask...why did you choose to write about
a German family, and are you a fan of The Food Network?
Kristan: Zicke zocke, zicke zocke, hoi hoi hoi! German restaurants = fun,
if not always a gourmet experience, you know what I mean? But there seems to be
a devotion and a warm, boisterous welcome at a German restaurant that’s unique
to dining. As for the Food Network, no, I don’t watch it! Those shows make me
Jen: Posey’s profession as the owner of an architectural salvaging
business is quite unusual. How does her need to connect with the past directly
correlate to her being adopted?
Kristan: I’m so glad you asked that! I think this was an element that
evolved as I wrote the book, but it really worked for Posey’s character. Posey
is all about second chances in every aspect of every relationship she has in the
book. She views architectural salvage as the chance to give an object a new life
and purpose, as she herself was given when her birth mother put her up for
adoption. Her work, each job she does, is very personal to her, and the care she
takes in doing it work echoes the way she herself was cared for and loved by the
Jen: The rogue in the story is Posey’s high school heartthrob Liam Declan
Murphy. When he returns to Bellsford, how does his mere presence spark Posey’s
desire to take a step towards finding her true self?
Kristan: You know how it is when a high school reunion rolls around. All
of a sudden, everyone’s sprucing up, trying to lose ten pounds and get a new
haircut, and when the big day comes, they’re describing their jobs and kids in
the most glowing terms! But more than just hoping to put the best shine on
herself as possible, Posey views Liam as the one guy who really did some damage
to her heart and her self-esteem, and she knows instinctively he still has the
power to do it. And, like a lot of men, Liam is completely oblivious to all
this, which just makes him more dangerous.
Jen: Posey’s cousin Gretchen is quite the handful. Why does Posey allow
herself to play second fiddle to her in terms of her place in the family?
Kristan: You know, I don’t think she does. She lets Gretchen preen and
bask in the glow of the family, but Posey’s actually very secure on this front.
Not once in the book does she question her parents’ love for her. I think she
puts up with Gretchen because she senses the holes in her cousin’s life, even
though Gret is vain, entitled and condescending (and therefore a total blast to
write!). It’s almost like Posey’s letting Gretchen be a diva, because
she—Posey—doesn’t have to be. She already has more going for her than Gretchen
ever will. And Gretchen has a very tragic past! Both her parents died before she
turned eighteen, while Posey lives in the unwavering embrace of her parents and
brother. To take Gretchen down a few points would be unkind, and Posey’s just
too dang nice. But she’s not a doormat, either. She’ll rear up and give as good
as she gets.
Jen: How does Liam’s relationship with his daughter Nicole affect the way
Posey views his ability to change?
Kristan: Is that a trick question? :-) I think what Posey sees is not
that Liam has changed; it’s that he hasn’t. Once upon a time, she thought he had
a lot of hidden depth and goodness...seeing him with Nicole shows her the truth
of that. She has to juggle her two images of Liam: the guy who took whatever was
offered, who broke her heart for no good reason, and the loving, devoted,
neurotic father of a teenage girl. When she sees him trying so hard to protect
his child from boys who remind him too much of himself...it gets her right in
the heart, and that’s the last place she wants him. It’s the dichotomy of his
character that keeps her off-balance; he’s not just the bad boy from the old
days, and he’s not just a tender-hearted dad, either.
Jen: In what way does Posey’s relationship with Vivian Appleton best
exemplify her metamorphosis into a stronger, more confident woman?
Kristan: Ooh, another great question! Well, again, Posey is the epitome
of second chances. For years, she’s been hoping to get the salvage rights to
Vivian’s place, but she’s not a mercenary, either. Without giving away too much,
I’d say her relationship with Vivian becomes pure—she loves that old harridan,
and in the end, she takes control of their relationship and makes it much more
heartfelt than it was. Posey has a gift for seeing what other people miss, and
what Vivian has missed all along is the knowledge of her own self worth.
Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Please
take us on a tour of your website highlighting points of interest.
Kristan: Well, let’s see. We have the bookshelf, which has reviews,
trailers and excerpts of all my books; the obligatory "About Kristan" section (I
have no secrets; it’s all there, including bios on the important dogs in my
life, my not-so-secret talents and my nickname). Then there’s the calendar,
which announces my appearances (or you can just catch me doing the grocery
shopping or picking up the mail); my blog, which I think readers will really
enjoy (I love writing it); and the Fun Stuff section, which is pretty
whimsical...pictures of readers, their dogs, random questions, trivia about each
book, and recipes. I love to bake, and I often post a recipe up there. Tried and
true stuff, people! I also do giveaways quite frequently, so if you’re on my
mailing list (which you get to through the website), you’re registered to win a
giftie from time to time.
Jen: Do you participate in Author Phone Chats? And if so, how would my
readers go about scheduling one?
Kristan: I’ve done a few chats here and there. Sure, I’d love to talk to
readers! Email me! I also love answering fan letters, too, and even the
Jen: Do you participate in Social Media?
Kristan: Just Facebook, the website and email.
You can find me at Facebook. I’m very active there.
Jen: Are you currently at work on your next novel? If so, what may you
share with us?
Kristan: I sure am! I’m working on SOMEBODY TO LOVE, which is due
out in May and features some familiar faces—Parker Welles from THE NEXT BEST THING finds
out her father has lost her trust fund (whoops), and all she has left is a house
in Gideon’s Cove, Maine. And Gideon’s Cove was the setting for CATCH OF THE DAY, which
means readers will see Maggie and Malone again. So if you belong to the Cult of
Maloner the Loner, rest easy. It’s coming. But I loved Parker and of all my
secondary characters, I thought she absolutely deserved her own love story,
which I thought she totally deserved. And I love, love, love the hero! After
that, I’m starting a series set in the Finger Lakes region of New York State,
which will be set around a family-run vineyard. I can’t wait to dig in on that one!
Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. I
absolutely loved the characters in UNTIL THERE WAS YOU! Bravo!
I was so sorry to see it end. I wish you all the best with your future projects.
Kristan: Thank you, Jen! I’m utterly thrilled you liked it. And thank you
so much for having me here today! It was a blast.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Kristan. Please stop by your favorite
bookstore or local library branch and pick up a copy today. Better yet, how
would you like to win one instead? Okay, be one of five readers to answer the
following trivia question correctly and you could win. Good luck!
is the name of Posey’s love interest in UNTIL THERE WAS YOU?
Next month, I will be bringing to you my interview with New York Time
bestselling author Cecelia
Ahern. You won’t want to miss it.
Until next time...
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