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Q&A with Author Kristan Higgins

Q&A with Author Kristan Higgins

June 14, 2023

Enjoy a sneak peek of the upcoming Speaker Series program with Kristan Higgins on June 20!

On Tuesday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m., in the Woodneath Library Center auditorium, New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins will have a discussion about her latest novel, A Little Ray of Sunshine, which takes a genuine look at family, lost and found. To give you a quick sneak peek of the program, Liz Rudell, Customer Service Associate II at MCPL’s Withers Branch recently sat down to chat with Higgins.

Q: One of the main themes of your newest book, A Little Ray of Sunshine, is this idea of what being a parent really means. What does this look like for you and your family?

Higgins: I’m in the very enviable position of having raised both my kids to adulthood and am proudly watching them live their lives as fully launched adults. They’re kind, responsible, and happy. Can I just say how incredibly RELIEVED I am about that? We all do our best at being a parent (one hopes, anyway). But life is bumpy and full of swerves, and parenting is incredibly difficult even under the best circumstances! It’s a balancing act of letting your kids explore, find their own interests, develop a unique personality, learn in the ways that work best for them, become independent thinkers and find something they love—all while keeping them safe and without hovering or enabling or ignoring or micromanaging. It’s as easy as rocket science.

When you think about all that you’ll have to do for your kids, it’s terrifying. It should be! Children are a lifelong commitment, and they’ll always be your personal terrorist, able to explode your life at any given moment. That saying that a parent can only be as happy as their least-happy child…so true! On the flip side, the purest joy in my life has come from my children, and in the smallest ways—Play-Doh and coloring, forts and snow days, bedtime stories and snuggles, the Sunday phone call from my son, the invitation to dinner from my daughter. Best thing I ever did, and ever will do, is being their mother.

Q: I have it on good authority that you’re somewhat of a mixologist. Do you have a go-to easy summer cocktail recipe that you’d be willing to share?

Higgins: Sure! Let’s call this one “View from the Deck,” because my husband and I like to make each other a cocktail and sit out on ours and feel very sophisticated and mature:

  • 3 parts vodka
  • 3 parts freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 part elderflower liqueur
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Toss those in a shaker with ice; then pour into a glass. Add a teeny tiny drizzle of grenadine juice for a cheery and lovely effect.

Q: Family members often fall into different “roles” within their family, which can become long-term patterns. Why did you want to explore what happens when roles can or must change?

Higgins: My sister and I have often talked about family roles…you were the sulky one, or the good one, or the quiet one, or the troublemaker. It’s amazing how tightly these roles can bind us within the family. In Little Ray, I wanted to explore Harlow’s need to get away from that role. She goes to college so far away in order to be something other than the oldest Smith kid, and redefines herself. But after a crisis a few years later, she also finds how comforting that role can be. She knows how to be that person from her childhood, after all.

I think every person comes to a crossroads at least once, that moment when they have to say, “I can stick to what I know, or I can forge into this uncharted territory.” Only you will know what the right choice is, and only you will be able to come to peace with whichever one you run with.

Join Kristan Higgins and Liz Rudell for more fantastic conversation on Tuesday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Woodneath Library Center. The event is offered in partnership with Rainy Day Books and will be followed by a book sale and signing. Register for the program.

Shannon T.
The Story Center

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